Sheffield is gearing up for its first ever street tree festival this weekend.
Writers, artists, tree experts and musicians will flock to Nether Edge on Saturday for the festival, which organisers have described as ‘a joyful and thought-provoking celebration of the city’s magnificent street trees.’
The day of celebration was inspired by a New Year’s Day tweet to @SaveDoreTrees from Peter Fiennes, author of Oak and Ash and Thorn, who suggested that Sheffielders fighting to save their trees from the chainsaw should celebrate their importance with a festival.
Margaret Peart, one of the festival organisers, said: ‘Anyone who’s been involved in the campaign to save Sheffield’s street trees over the past few years knows how hard it’s been and how the day-to-day stresses have had an effect on the physical and mental well-being of campaigners.
“In spite of this, some very positive things have emerged from it all: strong friendships; an outpouring of creativity, and the formation of active, highly committed networks of residents.
“The festival is an opportunity to celebrate all those positives and bring in people from outside the city who have followed the story and want to support the campaign.’
The festival will include discussions, book readings, craft workshops, poetry writing, yoga, and informative walks around the local area. Internationally renowned writer and Cambridge University fellow Robert Macfarlane will also unveil a brand-new poem at the day’s grand finale, at around 4pm, composed especially for Sheffield trees. Local musicians Sally Goldsmith and Val Regan have been setting the poem, Heartwood, to music, and it will be performed on Saturday by a community choir brought together especially for the festival.
Mr Macfarlane, who will also unveil two pieces of artwork at the festival, created to accompany the poem by the multi-award-winning illustrators Jackie Morris and Nick Hayes, said: “Heartwood is a spell-song, a charm against harm for all trees everywhere threatened with unjust felling.”
Visit sheffieldstreettreefestival.wordpress.com for full details of the festival, which will be held at The Merlin Theatre, on Meadow Bank Road.