Jenny Paddock has led Bewdley Festival as Festival Director for 15 of the 25 years, she sums up her thoughts below:
It started over 25 years ago with one inspired idea and now, 25 eventful years later, we are planning for our Silver Jubilee Festival.
I often wonder why I was asked to be Festival Director. My limited qualities included the ability to drink lots of wine without falling over; to be able to sell raffle tickets quite well and I owned and used a computer!
Fifteen years on and I can still claim to have the same qualities …
I didn’t know much about ‘the arts’ back then, but I was definitely a ‘live appearance’ junkie.
It didn’t matter how good – or bad – the performance was, I would sit or stand to listen to it. Be it drama, poetry or any type of music … if someone was prepared to perform I would listen and clap appreciatively!
The Festival has changed since I took the helm. I inherited the Festival just as it was beginning to become financially solvent and stable. The frenetic fund-raising undertaken annually to pay off the debts of the last festival before planning the next, became less of an issue.
Use of computers and emails back then was virtually non-existent … how things have changed! What would we do now without technology? I feel that in many ways we work more as a team now, as everyone can be more involved in the decision making. Views can be sought much more easily; images shared quickly … it is much better now, and needs to be as we strive every year to top the successes of the past festivals.
A major move forward was creating an office base for the Festival. In 2003 we opened our first office in Bewdley Institute. A year later we moved to Snuff Mill Warehouse where we have been very happy and it has become the real hub of the Festival.
We have been blessed with the support we get from Festival Society Members and our audiences as a whole. They more than repay all the hard work put in by the volunteers, who work year round to bring amazing acts to Bewdley every October. We must also thank our sponsors, advertisers and patrons, some of whom have supported us for years. We would simply not exist without them.
2012 is a special year – for the Festival and the country. We can promise to do our bit by bring an absolutely STUNNING Festival for you to enjoy in October.
I look forward to seeing you in October.