Pilot arts and health festival coming to Felixstowe next month

Swimmers in the sea

The new Channel Festival will be taking place in Felixstowe next month. - Credit: Channel Festival

A pilot festival, including a series of arts and health events, is taking place in Felixstowe next month.

Channel Festival, developed by Pier Projects Arts Agency, builds on work that the agency already does at the resort with local people.

Events include talks, workshops, and exhibitions, all helping "celebrate Felixstowe’s coastal position and recent Blue Flag status, recall its history as a Victorian spa town and highlight its active sporting communities".

The theme for the festival between March 18-20 is 'open water', which organisers say was chosen as a nod to the town's sea swimming community.

Poster for the new Channel Festival

The poster for the festival. - Credit: Channel Festival

Events will be taking place across the town and beachfront, as well as online. The festival is being launched on March 15 with an online talk exploring the power of sea swimming on physical and mental health, led by author, academic and wellbeing practitioner, Dr Catherine Kelly. 

Curator Natalie Pace said: “The idea of a small-scale festival has been bubbling away for several years now.

"Against the backdrop of the pandemic - when we sought to connect with nature and were forced to physically disconnect from one another - the theme also asks timely questions about what ‘health’ means to us now.

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"We hope it will offer an antidote to the overwhelm of day-to-day life, a slow space to reconnect with the elements and consider the potential of the sea to make us feel human.

Although this is a pilot event, organisers are hoping that forming partnerships with local people and businesses could enable the festival to return in the future.

Ms Pace added: “This first edition offers a compact programme, intended to offer an introduction to some of its ideas and offer a platform for discussion and feedback about what the festival could be in the future.

"Small in scale but mighty in meaning, we hope people will help us shape Channel Festival into an inspiring, annual event that pulls people to the sea from near and far.”

More information and how to book for events at the festival can be found on the Channel Festival website.