Music festival axed for 2019 after losing key venue... but hope remains for future return

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 April 2019

Full Attack Band on stage at Backwell Festival.

Full Attack Band on stage at Backwell Festival.

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A popular village music festival pencilled in for this summer has been cancelled after losing its 'spiritual home'.

Full Attack Band on stage at Backwell Festival.Full Attack Band on stage at Backwell Festival.

The Backwell Festival has been cancelled this year after Backwell Junior School, which has hosted the event since its inception in 2008 has pulled out, leaving the community arts and music festival without a venue.

The annual event, in what would have been its 10th year, started off life as a Parent Teacher Association fundraising event for the school but quickly grew into a weekend of dance, music and entertainment.

The family-friendly festival has attracted big names over the years including Huey Morgan of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals.

Local acts including Moody Will and The Roll, Brockley Forest and Holly Henderson, have performed at the festival.

Backwell Festival.Backwell Festival.

The festival could not go ahead in 2017 as work by Bristol Water affected the venue, and organisers could not find an alternative site.

Festival director Jane Sabherwal said: “We are incredibly sad to have lost our spiritual home, and I know our festival friends, performers and contributors are disappointed there is no festival this year.

“Backwell Junior School obviously has its reasons not to host us now and we will attempt to find another venue for 2020.

“We have loved holding our fabulous art and culture festival in the beautiful grounds of the school and have always appreciated the support the school has given us over the years.”

Backwell Festival.Backwell Festival.

As well as providing entertainment, the festival also featured a political element, with 2018’s ocean-themed festival reducing the use of single use plastics including straws and bottles and featured a refill bar supplied by the events sponsor Bristol Water, which encouraged festival-goers to bring their own cups.

The weekend’s entertainment also included a play called LEGO Beach, which told the story of a seaside town, where millions of pieces of LEGO washed up.

Environmental group LitterARTI also ran workshops to teach children about plastic, and create sculptures with rubbish.

Over its history the festival has raised more than £25,000 for local charities and good causes.

The Times contacted the school for comment but had not heard back at time of going press.

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