The 20th Swindon Festival of Literature was well and truly launched today at The Old Reference Library, Swindon with masterful words, music and just a little mayhem.
The Swindon Festival of Literature was homegrown at Lower Shaw Farm in 1993 in collaboration with Book Auctioneer Dominic Winter and today remains a Swindon based enterprise with local designers, printers and organisers.
Festival guru Matt Holland looked back over a score of literature festivals with pride, affection and a rhyming couplet before embarking upon a Think Slam! challenge with Sara-Jane Arbury. Matt touted for support with the promise of complimentary tickets but Sara-Jane won by 253 points to 235 as she questioned the need to wear clothes and declared 'body freedom's no crime.'
Next came Linda Lee, choir mistress extraordinaire, founder of the Swindon Scratch Choir, and Lower Shaw Farm volunteer Kelly, who sang The Wandering Aengus by W.B. Yeats.
Rod Bluh, long serving Leader of Swindon Borough Council, bid farewell to the festival as official council representative, although he said following his resignation he might be able to attend more of the events. He spoke of the importance of art and culture in our society, especially in these cash strapped times and took the opportunity to congratulate the Swindon Heritage team, urging festival goers to support and subscribe to the magazine. Thank you Rod.
The Festival kicks off with the Dawn Chorus at 5.30 am on May 6 in Lawn Woods and concludes with the Festival Finale: Poems, Pints, and Music! at the Town Hall, Regents Circus on Saturday May 18 at 7.30 pm. Across 13 days you can listen to, among others, Clare Balding talking about her work, her life, and her book My Animals and Other Family, Stella Rimington on counter-espionage and all things secretive and come and enjoy a history lesson with the Swindon Heritage team - we promise it will be a blast.
The lavish programme, free of any spelling or grammatical errors, which apparently was why Will Self chose the Swindon Festival of Literature above all others, is now available at Swindon libraries. For more information telephone 01793 466454 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Book online for most events at swindontickets.co.uk.
Diaries to the ready - festival goers plan ahead.
Matt Holland launches the 20th Swindon Festival of Literature
Matt and Sara-Jane Arbury prepare for battle
Body freedom's no crime - says Sara-Jane
Linda and Kelly sing the beautiful Wandering Aengus
Rod Bluh says goodbye