Clevedon Literary Festival

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The idea for a festival of ‘More Than Words’ came about in mid-2019. Local cultural and arts groups were invited to a meeting that autumn and began planning a series of literary-related events to take place over a weekend the following summer. This would embrace all art forms – dance, poetry, music, literature and art. From the outset we wanted to be diverse, inclusive and welcoming to everyone who had something to offer and to be about so much more than authors promoting their latest books.

It was early 2020, with Arts Council funding in place, venues booked and a varied programme ready to go, when out of the blue…Covid shut us and the world down. A small team continued to work on and curated an online taster programme of what might have been. We regrouped in the summer and planning began in earnest, ready for a second lockdown or release from the pandemic which everyone hoped would be over by summer 2021.

We put together a programme, the Arts Council offered us a second grant, and we prepared for a masked and socially distanced open air event. With joy and relief, in June 2021 we finally presented a combination of what might have been the year before along with some new ideas!

The team then got together again in early autumn and started planning for 2022 – new team members had brought with them much needed expertise and ambition and we challenged ourselves to be better and bolder.

Our third event in June 2022 was supported by the Arts Council, local bookshops, and sponsored by local businesses. It shone out across the town – it was hard to miss us, with banners everywhere promoting what we were about. We had overwhelmingly positive feedback from over a third of our audience and this has encouraged us to be even bolder in planning our next event.

So now here we are, finding ways to work smarter not harder, making new friends, and seeking out new and exciting ways to engage and stimulate our local and not so local visitors.



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