Heavens opened but rain failed to dampen the spirits of families who turned out last night for the launch of the SO Festival – a six-day arts extravanza taking place across East Lindsey.
The stage was set up in the Market Place, from where Flame Oz taught children some circus skills, including juggling and hula hooping.
Huddled in red SO Festival ponchos, the audience also enjoyed a display by the Southpaw Dance Company, renowned for their unique fusion of breakdance, world-class Charleston and swinging big band music.
Katie-Louise Green, SO Festival co-ordinator for Magnae Vitae, was delighted people had gone along in spite of the weather.
She said: “Look at our crowd. I’m so pleased that we have so much community spirit and our audiences follow us and come out in spite of the weather.
“The children are getting involved in the circus workshops. Everyone is wearing their SO Festival ponchos.
“We couldn’t ask for more. We are sorted.”
It was also a special night for the volunteers supporting the event. Hannah Cuthbert, 17, of Horncastle has been an ambassador for the SO Festival for three years and was handing out SO Festival flags and programmes.
A student at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School and member of a local theatre group, she said: “I love it. It’s a way of getting among the community and getting people involved in arts and culture.”
The family-friendly free arts festival will take place across five locations through to Sunday, July 2, with supported events in Louth and Woodhall Spa
Last night’s launch followed the announcement Magna Vitae has secured another round of Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation funding, working jointly with East Lindsey District Council and other funding partners.
This will enable Magna Vitae to continue to provide access to cultural activities in areas of low cultural engagement across East Lindsey.
SO Festival, launched in 2009 and now into its 9th year, has brought high quality entertainment and shows to residents and visitors to East Lincolnshire.
Nicky Blanchard, who went along to the Spilsby event, said: “It’s great. There’s lots of interaction with the young ones.
“We’re hoping to get to Skegness to see the events on the beach.”
Antony Bates went along with his three children, Micheala, 7, Faith, 5, and Antony Jnr, 9. Micheala said: “I liked the hula hoops. It’s really fun.”
Tonight the SO Festival will be visiting Horncastle, then Alford tomorrow and Mablethorpe on Friday, before finishing in Skegness for a two-day spectacular on Saturday and Sunday.
Residents can see Flame Oz at:
Horncastle Market Place, June 28, 6pm
Alford Market Place, June 29, 6pm
Mablethorpe Jackson’s Car Park, June 30, 6pm
Entry and all events at SO Festival are FREE (except the Lincolnshire School Prom event held at Embassy Theatre).
For the full programme visit http://www.sofestival.org