CHAMPIONS of the arts have praised the wealth of spectacular cultural festivities arranged in Skegness to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay.
Key figures from Arts Council England felt the decision to coincide this year’s SO Festival with the Torch’s arrival helped secure its prime lunchtime stop-over and ensured the once in a lifetime event was all the more memorable.
London 2012 creative programmer at Arts Council England Paul Brookes said: “I think East Lindsey District Council has been truly inspirational and really grasped the opportunities provided by the Olympic Games.
“For the past few years the SO Festival has held close ties with the Games by celebrating the three-year countdown to the opening ceremony.
“And by rescheduling this year’s event to coincide with the Torch Relay clearly shows how the local authority views the Games as being so important for East Lindsey and its future in terms of regeneration and cultural development.
“The Torch Relay would not have been here today if it was not for East Lindsey District Council’s inspirational approach.”
Arts Council England has worked in partnership with the district council in arranging the nine-day programme of exciting cultural events, which make up this year’s SO Festival.
The spectacular Follow The Light Parade, which filled the streets of Skegness with vibrant colours, pounding drums and energetic carnival dancers before the Torch’s arrival was just one example of how the cultural links between the festival and Torch Relay helped enhance the event.
Dozens more visual art displays, costumed characters and theatrical performances occurred throughout the day to embellish the momentous occasion for all to enjoy.
East Midlands regional director at Arts Council England Peter Knott has also congratulated ELDC on its culturally embracing approach.
He said: “ELDC should be congratulated for the way it has got behind the SO Festival to bring culture and regeneration to the area, and in particular Skegness.
“The festival has become one of the most eagerly anticipated arts events in the country and if you had said that four or five years ago about Skegness, people may have given you a wry smile of disbelief.”