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Get ready for the Southport Arts Festival!

Ten days of events for everyone!

Southport Arts Festival will take place at various venues in Southport town centre from August 16 to 25, 2014

Southport Arts Festival will be packed with everything one would expect from an established arts festival... and lots of things that you wouldn’t!

Visitors to the 10-day extravaganza can enjoy seeing hundreds of superb works of art, some of Britain’s top street artists at Sprayport, Southport Cartoon Festival, Southport Night Market, Ice Scream Sunday at Southport Pleasureland, live music, poetry, a World War One tribute act from Heartbeat start David Lonsdale, Punch & Judy shows, ceramic painting workshops, workshops for children and adults, children’s theatre, a vintage fair - and lots more besides.

It’s an astonishing line-up for a first event, which promises to bring Southport alive during the school summer holidays.

Extending right across the town centre and seafront the Festival will, the organisers hope, bring something for everyone.

Much of the first weekend’s focus will be on the town centre area around Chapel Street and Lord Street, in an event supported by the new Southport Business Improvement District.

The main shopping thoroughfare of Chapel Street will be hosting one of the Festival event stages and arts and craft stalls. There will be a mixture of music and performance including the Dave Denham Saxophone group and a real live Punch & Judy show with performers taking their performance through the crowd.

Chapel Street will link up with Lord Street via the Cambridge Arcade ArtWall where local and regional artists will be showcasing their work. This will bring you to the Town Hall Gardens where, on Saturday, people can enjoy the music and fun of the THG Tune In with bands and singers will entertain the passing crowds on Lord Street. And this is when people will get their first taste of one of the festival’s main events; Sprayport.

As street artists start to arrive in the town for the main event on Sunday some artists will be working on boards right in front of The Atkinson. The team from Art For Macmillan will also be there to host workshops and exhibit some of their work. The Atkinson itself will be the venue for Susan Hayward’s Vintage Fair featuring clothes, accessories and objet d’art.

On Saturday evening art-lovers can make their way up Nevill Street to the Ramada Plaza Hotel and the Waterfront Plaza where four exhibitions will be opening between 6pm and 9pm. The work on view is by Jessica Arrowsmith Stanley, Ryan Forshaw, John Zehentner and the Waterfront Arts Project artists with their exhibition, ‘Out of The Box’.

Jessica’s exhibition ‘Low Budget’ is a home-coming for this young Southport artist. After recently graduating in Fine Art in London, Jessica is holding a powerful and colourful art show in the Waterfront’s Unit 8 Gallery. ‘Out of the Box’ in the main Waterfront gallery is an extraordinary mix of works in different media exploring themes surrealism, quirkiness and the absurdities of human nature.

Also in the project’s small gallery there is the astounding digital work of Ryan Forshaw. The Ramada Hotel is the venue of the magical photorealistic paintings of John Zehentner, John will also be showing some of his music-inspired works too.

Wayfarers Arcade is another town centre venue that has offered space for artists. In there, people will find the moving and fascinating work of Joan Walmsley whose three dimensional ‘paintings’ explore the theme of the abducted young girls in Nigeria. The SCA ArtHouse on Eastbank is hosting the work of Leighton Charles whose contemporary paintings show the influence of the Old Masters.

Some of the Southport Arts Festival team with BID chairman Enda Rylands

Sunday in the Town Hall gardens will be the place to be for street art lovers as over 30 artists work their magic on large boarded canvasses in front of The Atkinson cultural centre. And it’s not just boards that are being the street art treatment. Sefton Council has donated one of its youth trailers to become a canvas for one of the country’s top street artists. The music for Sprayport will be provided by Musicology from the youth and community centre at Meols Cop.

There will be ongoing events throughout the festival including the work of festival poet-in-residence Eddie Bixter and the strangely titled ‘Jam For Lunch’ at the bandstand on Lord Street where would-be pop stars and performers get their chance to entertain shoppers and lunching office staff between 12pm and 2.30pm.

As can be seen there is so much going on during Southport’s very first Arts Festival including the very first night market. The second week line-up will include Southport Cartoon Festival, a World War One commemoration theatre performance starring actor David Lonsdale and ‘Ice Scream Sunday’... a stunning event at Pleasureland.