for Festivals in all fields of arts and culture


recommends Norman Warwick

When my old home town of Rochdale in the UK was left a very generous bequest by a couple called Mr and Mrs Maskew, who had, a life time ago, met in Rochdale Central Library, and then always fondly thought of the library as a hugely important part of their lives,  their gift came with a caveat. The funding had to be spent wisely to create a love of reading and philosophy in the people, particularly the young people, of the Borough.

It was subsequently decided Library management and council members to firstly create a new ´philosophy corner stocked with new and classic titles, and then to run a series of annual four day Rochdale Literature And Ideas Festival.

I was privileged to be offered the opportunity of ´hosting the festivals´ in the first three years before I came to live here on Lanzarote. It was a wonderful that saw me and many others spending the weeks and months prioro to the event promoting the festival.

At the festival events I had a fantastic time meeting and interviewing guests like poet Ian Macmillan, tv and political personality Gyles Brandreth, Coronation Street stars Kevin Kennedy Kennedy and Jane Danson. .

Seeing huge crowds flock into Rochdale Town Centre from outside the area, and seeing how much pride the local people took in the Festival was wonderful, but to me the most positive aspect was to see the numbr of people who stepped forward with ideas for events, or to create a fringe effect around the Festival. There was Sunday morning speakeasy, there were poetry readings and there were book launches by local creative writing groups.

What might have been a festival held behind hallowed doors of the own´s new award winning Tardis like new central library at Number =one Riverside actually broke out into the community and were welcomed as bearers of good tidings about the town. That new library won many awards and was highly regarded by The Guardian (right)

Over here on Lanzarote, I now produce a daily blog called Sidetracks and Detours, and PASS IT ON a Sunday Supplement blog.

I also write a weekly column for Lanzarote Information and I am an occasional contributor to Lancelot (in English) magazine. Within all those writings being about arts and culture, with as much about Bob Dylan as about Dylan Thomas, we cover genres from classical music to ceramics, poetry to pottery, dance to drum, and from circus to crochet.

Rochdale Literature And Ideas Festival even conducted public debates on such weighty  philosophical matters such as why Batman never killed The Joker and why Video Killed The Radio star.

I¨m now informed that Festival Of Chichester was doing all that long before us and is continuing to do so still. It seems a new annual music event will join the already established ‘City Sounds’ of Chichester.

This exciting new music event has been designed to nurture new talent and support local businesses and was launched on Friday 31 March in Chichester city centre.

City Sounds has been created by local resident Chris Simmons, a professional musician for more than 20 evidenced by the poster (left) .

On the evening of the actual event people were able to follow a musical map of the city and soak up the original sounds of musicians at a variety of venues across the city centre from 5pm until 10pm.

Chichester District Council is the main event partner and is helping to part-fund the event through money received from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

“As an artist I’ve been very lucky to have shared a stage with artists such as Jackson Browne, Sir Tom Jones, Simply Red, James Bay, Paloma Faith and many others, as well as playing many major festivals across the globe,” explains Chris. “I am also very passionate about grassroots music and helping local culture grow.”

Chris was instrumental in turning Worthing’s St Paul’s Church into a flagship music venue, putting on its first run of concerts and encouraging acts such as Turin Brakes, Ocean Colour Scene and Chris Difford to play in the town for the very first time.

“I’m now a Chichester resident and I would love to try make a difference in enriching the live music scene in the city,” says Chris. “With City Sounds we want people to see and hear the wealth of talent in the city, and long term, we envisage this being an annual weekend event.

photo 4 city sounds “The programme of artists has been designed to appeal to a wide range of people and there will be something for everyone. The event will give local artists a much-needed place to shine as well as eventually providing a focal point for our artistic community.”

Laurence Foord, Divisional Manager for Communications, Licensing and Events at Chichester District Council says: “We are extremely excited about this new event, which has once again been organised in response to demand from the public for more varied events in the district.

“We want to help attract people to come into the city for the first time and bring people back who haven’t visited for a while. The event organisers will also be working to engage local businesses and highlighting areas or venues in the city. We hope that people will come along and support the area’s music artists and enjoy the magic of live music.”

Venues on the night will be:

The George and Dragon, North Street;

Trents, South Street;

The Escapist, Crane Street; and,

Little Monster, The Hornet.

For the full line-up of artists and bands performing and where, please visit the City Sounds website

So Chichester, Sidetracks And Detorus are told by our investigators, DCI Coward and Superintendent Shepherd who divide their time almost equally between living in that area and residing here, on Lanzarote, has many festivals going on throughout the year and around the area, all under the umbrella of The Chichester Festival.

Chichester reminds us there is a stage for every story, and that stage is provided each year by The Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT). People from all walks of life come together at CFT – on and off the stage. We aim to inspire and delight everyone we meet and creativity is at the heart of everything we do. It’s a space where experiences are created and shared, and where everyone can find their place.

CFT is on a mission to bring together people from all walks of life, providing a space where experiences are created and shared, and where everyone can find their place. Placing creativity at the heart of everything we do, put simply our aim is to inspire and delight everyone we meet.

In 1962 local optician Leslie Evershed-Martin founded Britain’s first modern thrust stage theatre, which was effectively ‘crowd-funded’ by local individuals and businesses. A story that has the makings of a great Netflix drama.

Since then, we’ve spent the last six decades making work that entertains, provokes thought and occasionally pushes boundaries. But always with the core belief that world-class theatre should be seen by the world.

Everyone involved with CFT is super passionate about their theatre, and maybe the buikding itself is  even more passionate about its people, because they’re the ones who make everything possible. I´m sure the theatre would sing their praises from the rooftops all day, if only it didn’t annoy the neighbours.

There is, though, mutual admiration and respect among the Trustees, Directors, Associates and Building and Site management and workers, the Developmen and Finance teams, tghose whoi do such great work at Learning, Education and Participation, know to all as LEAP. Thered are marketing, Communications and Digital Sales teams, too, as well as Theatre Management with its Production and technical staff.With stage deoor staff and ushers and volunteers that´s quite a workforce.

photo Chichester Festival Theatre creates inspiring experiences and exceptional stories that inspire, delight and bring people together – on and off the stage. We connect inventive artists with imaginative audiences. We bring theatre to schools and youth groups, to the West End and world stages, with the belief that theatre is for everyone.

Sitting at the heart of the cathedral city in West Sussex between the South Downs and the sea, the Festival Theatre’s bold thrust stage design makes it one of England’s most striking playhouses – perfect for epic drama and musicals. Our studio theatre, the Minerva, is particularly noted for premieres of new work alongside intimate revivals.

Countless productions which started life at Chichester have transferred to the West End or toured nationally and internationally over the past six decades, from musicals to significant new plays and classic revivals. Recent London transfers include Steven Moffat’s The Unfriend (currently playing at the Criterion Theatre); South PacificCaroline, Or Change (also on Broadway); Ian McKellen in King Lear (also broadcast to cinemas internationally by NT Live); and James Graham’s Quiz. Our co-production with the National Theatre of Alecky Blythe’s Our Generation is now available to stream on NT At Home; and Susan Stroman’s production of Crazy for You opens at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in June 2023.

Festival 2023 offers a fantastic range of plays and musicals, including world premieres and renowned plays never seen at Chichester before. There are three musicals – including the summer centrepiece, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s beloved The Sound of Music – and a company of exceptional actors.

To read more about what’s on, who we are and what we do, visit

You never know they might currently be hiring for your dream post as they  believe in the power of collaborative working and diverse perspectives to boost creativity. In fact, we all work in the same shared office space, which is wrapped around the Festival Theatre stage. So we’re always connected to the theatre and the work that drives us forward.

They even have a magic formula. The magic formula? We live by our values of being creatively ambitious, community driven, champions of inclusivity and sustainably minded. And it’s the recipe for our success; we turned 60 last year (but we’re told we don’t look a day over 30).

The Minerva Theatre, the home base, seats over 300 people and you can check out what´s on, not only during Festival times, but also throughout the rest of the year, at ther web site at

So, there are lots of theatrical e vents taking place in Chichester,thropughout the year but Festival time is always fun, even if extremely busy. But theatrical events are not the only productions to entice you. There is plkenty of music, too.

Chichester Jazz  Festival, for instance offers ful details of its events at

There you will find acts The Karen Sharp Quintet, and Art Theman and other names many readers might be familiar with from our Jazz In Reading jazz listings that published every Sunday in our weekly walkabout PASS IT ON Sunday Supplement blog.

The Festival of Chichester is a month-long celebration of the arts running from mid-June to mid-July each year in the historic city of Chichester.

For much of June and early July, the Festival of Chichester has once again brought nearly 100 events to the city, from classical concerts to theatre to a whole range of talks, poetry and guided walks.

This year’s festival events were impressive from the very start, kicking off with a remarkable electronic viola piece echoing Holst’s Planets played by the Bernardi Music Group on the very first night. Evenings with authors including Isabella Tree (at the library) and our Festival President, Kate Mosse (at the Novium), were both sell-outs.

Festival Of Chichester 2023 presented a truly exciting and varied line-up of over 90 events over 4 weeks, combining a brilliant programme of classical music with the best in jazz, blues, folk, rock, pop and world music. Add thrilling theatre, book events, talks and poetry, exhibitions, walks, tours, cinema, open days and galas and there really is something for everyone.

Grounded in the Chichester community, the festival aspires to the stars, when. Festival Of Chichester will be pleased to welcome both local and international performers of the highest calibre.

Amazingly dates for next year´s 2024 festival have just been already announced and Festival Of Chichester aspires to the stars, and will be will once again proudly present  both local and international performers of the highest calibre.

Meanwhile, there is, regularly, always high quality Jazz in the heart of Chichester, at Chichester Jazz Club Pallant Suite,  7 South Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1SY

The club continue its policy of presenting the widest range and highest quality of jazz that it can – a mixture of bands new to the club as well as ‘old favourites’ – in comfortable surroundings in the heart of the historic city of Chichester.

There is a licensed bar. Performances start at 7:45pm and doors open 6:45pm. The interval is usually around 8:45pm and the music ends soon after 10:15pm.

Members, guests and friends always welcome.

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