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Brush up on the arts at the St Ives September Festival

The St Ives September Festival brings together art, music, film, drama, comedy, concerts & dance to create a well-rounded offering of cultural entertainment
What attracts names such as Barbara Dickson, Seth Lakeman and Elkie Brooks to St Ives? The answer is the St Ives September Festival which starts the second Saturday in the month and runs for 15 music and art-filled days. The main musical events and performances are held in the Guildhall, St Ives Theatre and at the Western Hotel although most pubs and bars join in by hosting many free events.

The birth of the St Ives September Festival

Started back in 1978, the idea of a September Arts Festival in was hatched in a kitchen on Teetotal Street. The ambitious idea took off and one of the first performers was a very young violist, , who has since wowed audiences all over the world. Today the festival continues to attract a loyal following from far and wide that look forward to a full schedule of music, literature and the arts each year.

The event organisers, a local committee of just 16 people, put on over 200 events. Where better to host an arts festival than in the Westcountry’s leading centre for the Arts, with the and many small galleries scattered around this delightful fishing town. Most art galleries and potteries have open studios during the September Festival but I always find plenty of places to browse whenever I visit this delightful artists’ haven.

Open studios and film nights are part of the St Ives September Festival

The Sloop Craft Market is home to many artists working in mixed media from ceramics to oil painting and sculptures. For textiles, pop into The House with a Garden Upstairs on Ayr Lane or see a variety of works by artists who showcase their work at Porthmeor Studios on Back Road West.

St Ives Arts Club plays an important part in the festival by showing a programme of films on a theme. The Art Club Members Exhibition at the Arts Club is also well worth browsing from 10am-4pm daily throughout the St Ives September Festival.

Music, comedy and more at the St Ives September Festival

Concerts provide excellent evening entertainment and cover all types of music for every taste. If comedy or theatre is more your idea of fun, then tickets will be on sale for a wide choice of top events to complement the free sessions which are open to all.

Last year, comedian, poet and singer Rob Barratt had the audience doubled up with his take on important topics such as second homes, distressed furniture and why he won’t be swimming with dolphins. You can checkout the 2014 programme of events on the official St Ives September Festival website and book your tickets for some top music and performance events, workshops, plays, films, stories and even guided walks are included if you want to escape the narrow streets which are transformed into a temporary stage for entertainers.

Pubs, halls and clubs put on musical shows and locally themed plays. For artists there are drop-in art classes led by professional artists where you can learn some new techniques in textiles or life drawing perhaps. Leach Pottery and the Hepworth Sculpture Gardens host art talks surrounded by inspirational material. Lunchtime Arts Talks also cover a series of topics about art and artists in St Ives.

Some of the UK’s leading musicians and singers find their way down to St Ives September Festival to provide an eclectic mix of high quality entertainment from The Dylan Project to Tyn Daga and Kernow King to Sally Barker.

Free musical events are hosted by the Queens Hotels and the Sheaf of Wheat during the festival so they are good places to head for in the evening for some great pub food or a drink as you enjoy the lively entertainment.

Will you be attending the St Ives September Festival this year? What makes it so special? We’d love you to offer your thoughts in our comments box below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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