One of the most important indicators of a civilised society is the creation and appreciation of beauty expressed through the Arts. We are lucky in Ashbourne to live in a beautiful town – the buildings themselves, Georgian and Victorian, create a wonderful backdrop and the scores of Yards conceal views and glimpses. This is not only a great stage but also the inspiration for creativity. Ashbourne has been the birthplace of great artists over the years, been the subject for countless artists and the home of many crafts people and artists today – a key part of our economy and tourism.
We’re also blessed though with the Arts Festival – a focal point for the activity which is well attended and a moneyspinner for the town. The Ashbourne Telegraph reported that Ashbourne Streetfest, just one part of the festival, brings over £100,000 to the town according to research by Derby University. The figure highlights the unity that Ashbourne does really well – our major events are well supported not just by residents but also by businesses, the Town Council and the media. I love the Arts Festival concept – accessible and varied – from comedy nights to art exhibitions, from poetry readings to family events in the Park. Streetfest brings very high quality street entertainment onto the natural stage of Ashbourne town centre.
We also have art every day on the streets through the galleries and antique shops and again it is integrated by galleries inviting people off the street into their cafes (the award-winning Gallery cafe) and Antique dealers going onto the streets with the Antiques in the Street events. Again, the blend of traditional and contemporary reflects the emphasis on accessibility. The local galleries and shops also create an outlet for the scores of local crafts people – potters, painters, photographers, weavers… and the popup shop just before Christmas and during the Ashbourne Arts Festival emphasised this further.
We have drama with the excellent QEGS Performing Arts department producing shows and concerts to a very high standard and which are well attended. They also provide a feed of talented individuals to go on and do other things. There are a number of groups, duos, choirs, bands and orchestras which have benefitted from their work. There are also independent theatre groups such as the Outlaw Shakespeare Company who performed A Midsummer Nights Dream and Twelfth Night – not just in Ashbourne and surrounding villages but at the Stratford-upon-Avon fringe.
For music we enjoy Big Lix, The Rash, the Ashbourne Town Band, and numerous other groups at any one point in time as well as hosting concerts during the Festival and occasional concerts at the Green Man, the Empire Ballroom and QEGS.
We live in a beautiful town in a beautiful part of the world and I love the fact we appreciate it. To learn more about our very own artistic talent have a look at https://ashbournevoice.wordpress.com/arts-and-crafts-ashbourne/