The Limitations on the pond

The Limitations on the pond

Sunningwell Festival

The Sunningwell Festival

The Sunningwell Festival started life as two ‘Proms On The Pond’ performances during a weekend in 2000, as a millenium celebration. We were asked to “think outside the box” and come up with something special, by the then Parish Council Clerk, Norman Baird.

Norman proceeded to help us organise a team of volunteers to run the events and also was able to attract funding and support from various organisations, including the Vale Of White Horse District Council. The opera company 'Opera Anywhere' was formed for this occasion and has developed into a fully professional touring opera company and is busier than ever, all thanks to this very first performance on the pond in Sunningwell!
We followed the 2000 festival with a 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2012, each festival getter bigger and bigger with a wider than ever range of live music, theatre and entertainment. The 2010 and 2012 festivals extended into 10 days, the management team included a good number of local residents and the volunteers managing and working on the festival became extensive. As our ambitions grew over the years, with a bigger and better line up, budgets grew from £6,000 for the first festival to close on £50,000 for the 2012. Sadly the 2012 festival was affected by extreme weather conditions with heavy rain and strong winds impacting on box office numbers on no less than 8 of the 10 festival days. Despite amazing financial support from several sponsors the festival made a significant loss and it was decided to take stock and review any plans for future performances, the main challenge was clearly trying to find ways of providing weather protection whilst performances would take place on the unique pond stage.
We've come to a decision to now consider moving any future festivals to possibly the Village Green, which during the last few years has undergone a major 'makeover', the space now could easily site a stage and there are excellent possibilities for positioning an audience under cover, should the weather prove challenging again.
Our first tasks now are to recruit a new management team to start planning, scoping and fund raising for a potential future festival, I would be delighted to have a chat with anyone interested in helping us get our next festival off the ground.

Do call or email me, Mike Woodward on 01865 735910 if you think you can help us in anyway..