The Festival of Suffolk takes place in 2022 - this is what's planned so far
The Festival of Suffolk, which hopes to be the county's biggest ever community event and will mark the Queen's platinum jubilee, is starting to take shape, with more plans revealed.
The festival is Suffolk's contribution to the national celebrations, marking the Queen's 70-year reign, and looks set to involve communities across the county.
The festival will encompass a series of events - some completely new, others already established. There will be several 'headline events' over the course of 2022, including the Suffolk Show, the Let's Rock Festival at Trinity Park in September featuring 80s music legends, a special race day at Newmarket and a torch relay led by local heroes.
Other events include a youth and community games, the planting of a targeted 800,000 trees as part of the Queen's green canopy project, and a Festival of the Sea, business expo as well as many other events from May until September.
Chairman of the Festival of Suffolk, Mark Pendlington, said: “We’ve said to people, we know that in Suffolk there are over 500 events that happen on an annual basis, carnivals, all the food and drink festivals. We all know those events that are the tradition and backbone of Suffolk coming out and enjoying themselves and raising money for good causes. So we’re encouraging all the organisers of those events to adopt the festival theme to celebrate the jubilee.
“In turn, what the festival will do is shine a spotlight on those events, to boost footfall and help with fundraising, help communities come back together.
“It’s a celebration of Suffolk, all that’s best about Suffolk in the platinum jubilee year.”
Why a 'Festival of Suffolk'?
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The idea originally came from Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, the Queen's representative in the county.
Mr Pendlington added: "Centred around the Queen’s platinum jubilee, there are big national celebrations and events planned. Lady Euston asked me to think about how we could celebrate or mark that in Suffolk.
“It struck us both that Suffolk, like everywhere else, has been through a really tough time in the past two years with Covid and I know we’re not through it but I think there’s a general will and enthusiasm for people to come back together to recover, recharge and get communities and life back to normal.”
The festival organisers have also taken into account the hidden needs report to make sure that the events are for everyone and will help with "getting people inspired into great jobs and careers."
Mr Pendlington said: “The principle of the festival is it must be for everybody, that’s the key thing, wherever you live or work, whatever community you’re part of, whatever your interests are, we hope that when the people of Suffolk hear about the festival, they will feel inspired and want to be involved, they’ll be something in the festival that really enthuses them.”
What impact will the festival have?
Mr Pendlington said the impact of the festival will be seen by “bringing together all people and communities to celebrate and create a powerful legacy to increase the visibility of our county and improve local lives for many years to come.
“We’re hoping over three or four years to build a fund of up to £5 million and hoping that people and organisations as they recover, reset and recharge, can apply for that fund to boost their chances of improving life chances for people and places right across the county.”
The fund will provide grant funding to charities, community groups and social enterprises that share the festivals values and do work in core areas like the community, health and wellbeing, opportunity and education, enterprise, environment and culture and tourism.
Further details about the festival are expected in the new year, while you can find out more information by visiting the website.