Arts week to go ahead after success of inaugural event in Penistone

Double act: Councillors Chrissie Yates and Dave Griffin are working to bring next year's Penistone Arts Week to the district.
Double act: Councillors Chrissie Yates and Dave Griffin are working to bring next year's Penistone Arts Week to the district.
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A successful community arts festival organised with council backing is to be repeated in Barnsley next Spring with the promise of a bigger event involving more people from the district.

Penistone Arts Week was launched in March and could have been derailed by the Beast from the East, which led to the cancellation of some initial events, but turned out to surpass the expectation of organisers.

They include Barnsley Councillor Dave Griffin and Silkstone Parish Councillor Chrissie Yates, who have confirmed a similar event will take place in March next year.

The inaugural event was run on a shoestring budget, though won funding from Penistone Ward Alliance, which has a budget of Barnsley Council cash and it is expected they will be approached again with a request to support the next event.

But one of the keys to its success last year was keeping costs to a minimum, even though many events, from more than 30 which took place, were free to attend.

For the next event it is expected parish churches in the district will ‘ring in’ the event simultaneously on the first day, an idea hatched from St Leonard’s Church in the village of Wortley opening up its bell tower and allowing visitors to try their hand at ringing.

Acoustic musician Steve Knightly, normally found as part of West Country duo Show of Hands, has been booked as a headliner for the event and it is hoped music could form an integral part of the next event, with talks ongoing which could see popular names from the district’s musical past back on stage together for the first time in decades.

Coun Griffin said the idea for churches ringing in the festival had come from St Leonard’s Church and four of five in the area had agreed to take part, with confirmation still awaited from the fifth.

The objective of the arts week is to involve surrounding villages and it is hoped the joint ringing enterprise will encourage that, as well as providing a distinctive audible start to proceedings.

Coun Griffin said: “It was the first event last year and I think it went exceptionally well.

“We were hit by the snow which caused some events to be cancelled. But by the end of the week more than 30 events had taken place, many of the free, and it finished with a wonderful evening with Willy Russell. It was fantastic.

“This year we have gone over everything that worked and everything that didn’t. We are hoping it will be bigger and more people in Penistone and the surrounding villages will be aware of the festival this time,” he said.

Penistone Arts Week has a Facebook page and developments will be publicised as they are confirmed, with a full programme of events expected to be announced in the Autumn.