SUMMER IN WANTAGE MEANS FESTIVAL TIME

One of the things that makes a huge difference to Wantage town team's work is the strength of our local community. It's played a big part in transforming The Mix community space on Mill Street from a derelict empty unit to thriving hub (read our blog: It's all in the Mix), it's the reason why summer Saturdays in our market place are alive to the sound of local performers busking for charity in Wantage Presents…, and our community is at the heart of the organisation of and support for the major calendar of events the town hosts each year.

From the Charlton Spring Festival, through Ray's Carnival to the Wantage (not just) Betjeman Literary Festival and Dickensian Evening in December, it's a varied and vibrant programme and central to it is the five-week Wantage Summer Festival.

It's a now regular and popular fixture in the cultural calendar for Wantage, Grove and the surrounding villages, based around six themes: arts &crafts, local heritage &community, STEM, Green &Nature, Food and Sport. The aim is to raise awareness of the wealth of enthusiastic organisations, groups and individuals we have locally. It's a chance to celebrate local talent and gives a variety of opportunities for residents and visitors alike to enjoy a programme of events ranging from music and drama, to crafts, photography, historical talks, heritage walks and more. An important part of the ethos of the Festival is to showcase the area's less well-known, smaller specialist groups and individuals, and to hold workshops which give the opportunity to learn new skills, so it can be particularly useful for anyone who's just moved to the area.

The Festival fosters a sense of community, gives a sense of unity, pride and achievement. It provides opportunities to gain knowledge, learn new skills and to take part in activities that benefit social cohesion and raise awareness of the diverse groups and societies in the area. Our core values are: community, respect and inclusiveness.

It's estimated that around 5,000 to 7,000 people attend Wantage Summer Festival events each year. If you'd like to be part of it too: while the Festival is running during June and July, printed programmes are available from Vale & Downland Museum plus many local venues and businesses in Wantage and the surrounding area. There are also full details at www.wantagesummerfestival.com