A Story in Facts & Figures

In December I was at the ‘Evening of Poetry, Music and Wine’ arranged for the Festival Friends and Volunteers at the Burgage Hall. It was a great evening and I enjoyed catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and listening to a fine selection of Christmas poems with intervals of beautiful recorder music. I read my poem ‘The Stitching Forecast’ which was written to celebrate the work created by Rose Tinted Rags in Hereford – with apologies for it not actually being very seasonal! On my way home I picked up a number of leaflets including a colourful Infogram that was lovingly created to show the impact and reach of the Poetry Festival in 2018.

And here are some of those numbers…4,082 people attended paid events with 1,117 going to Performances and 1,090 at Poetry Readings. The Free Street Events had a total audience of 5,613 with 800 of those at the Walled Garden Family Day (though not all at the same time!). The contributions of volunteers to the Festival are impressive with interns, admin staff and drivers all helping out. Local people provided 179 nights of Accommodation and 240 hours of Hospitality. The Stewards gave 350 hours, and the Event Managers added 450, and so between them making sure that the events run smoothly and safely and that the Poets and other Performers are welcomed and introduced.

I’ve really enjoyed the Stewarding that I’ve done over the years for films and various Poetry events and I’ve been an Event Manager for the last two years and introduced some wonderful Poets and Musicians. These include Jacqueline Saphra performing with Benjamin Tassie, and Inua Ellams in conversation with Chris McCabe. This year it was Alexis Taylor and James Yorkston at Hellens Manor.

The Festival packs a lot into ten days but there is also the year round Schools Programme (with 2,045 participants), and 1,172 people taking part in the Community Programme. I’ve led sessions on both these programmes working with Early Years in 2014 and 2016, and a number of adult writing groups since 2016. This coming year I’m very happy to be helping create work for the Mappa Ledbury project working with Rose Tinted Rags, and also Hereford Community Farm with the talented artist Jeanette McCulloch.

For more information about the 2019 events go to www.poetry-festival.co.uk