Happing Festival in need of funding

A blues duo are set to headline this year's Happing Festival but organisers have revealed they are struggling with funding.

Acoustic blues masters Paul Jones and Dave Kelly are to headline this year's festival with an intimate gig St Mary's Church in Stalham High Street on Wednesday, June 29.

The headline gig will set the scene for an eclectic mix of events from June through to August across the Happing area – with Stalham, Walcott, Neatishead and Ludham amongst the participating villages.

But festival organiser Judi Daykin said they were having problems with funding and some aspects of the festival could be lost.

She said: 'In particular jeopardy at the moment are the young people's summer drama workshops. We have been helped in the past by various local charities, but this year have been turned down by Norfolk Community Foundation who have always been our main source of support in the past.'

The drama workshops have been running for a number of years and they offer a full week of games, fun and performance, for up to 25 young people ( aged nine to 16) each week.

But Ms Daykin said unless they can find a �1,500 subsidy very soon the weeks may be cancelled before the festival has even been launched.

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She said; 'I cannot possibly charge these rurally isolated young people or their families what it really costs to put on these weeks and have always used the NCF funds to subsidise the cost of attending significantly. Each place costs about �90 and we charge �35 or �25 for families on benefits or tax credits.'

Events which have been confirmed for the festival include The Academy of St Martin in the Fields who will be performing at St Catharine's Church, Ludham on Saturday, July 2, and folk singer and guitarist Bob Fox, who has released several award winning albums, who will be performing at the Lighthouse Inn, Walcott on Friday, August 5.

Internationally famous storyteller Hugh Lupton will deliver an enticing programme of folk tales, legends, music and songs from East Anglia at the New Victory Hall, Neatishead on Saturday, August 6.

The festival programme also includes a special screening of local films by the East Anglian Film Archive with a talk by their presenter Geoff Osborne, and a guided Father's Day walk along the River Ant.

Furthermore, art lovers will be able to view the creations of forty local artists at Stalham's Summer Art Exhibition throughout July and August.

Ms Daykin said: 'Once again the festival organisers have worked hard to put on a strong programme of events, despite reduced funding and difficult economic times, with the Happing Partnership remaining committed to providing accessible arts for everyone in the community.

'We hope people with embrace these artists and events with open arms and give them the support they need to make the festival a resounding success – and ensure it continues to stay on the calendar in years to come'.

Tickets for all events are available from The Happing Shop, 35a High Street, Stalham, 01692 580525 or on-line at www.happing.co.uk .

Anyone who can help with funding is also asked to contact the festival on the above numbers.

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