Festival For All

Festival For All

by Ruth Lawrence

Now in its 17th year, the free Forest Row Festival promises to deliver thought provoking ideas, fabulous food and drink, talented musicians and original performance on and around the Foresters Green over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th September.

I recently met Matt Hatton, one of the Festival’s organisers, who outlined the eclectic nature of the entertainment, workshops and sustenance on offer for all ages. The festival kicks off with The Frow Show on Friday evening, a family comedy and variety show, which promises to be a fun filled introduction to the weekend. Saturday sees some hugely popular bands playing, and there will also be a show by talented street dancers. Following along on the musical theme there will be a Young Musicians Concert performance along with community art all day at the Baptist Church.

One of the most unusual events is named the Eye Contact Experiment explored by the Troubadours of Forest Row, inspired by the Liberators International, a global family of people ready to be part of the change we’d like to see in the world.’ It involves a very simple concept; holding sustained eye contact with another person, which can turn out to be an extremely liberating, if slightly unfamiliar, sensation. Complementing this is The Big Listen, the first event of its kind in the UK, which, if successful, will be a launch pad for a nationwide initiative. Basedon a model called the Listening Partnership, it invites people to listen without interruption or judgement to a stranger, who then reciprocates the invitation.

Throughout the weekend there will be workshops across a variety of disciplines including African drumming, yoga, kids football and craft. There will be a potters open studio hosted where you can try out your ceramic skills and if you decide you’d rather just relax with a beer, there will be a beer and cider festival which may be just what you’re looking for!

The festival market will have upcycled clothing, Chinese crafts, vintage accessories and contemporary jewellery and ceramics, while the food section of the festival offers an international selection to sample and enjoy. From a fish BBQ, Czech and Slovak food and Scandinavian street food to vegan treats, wood fired pizza, pies and paella, there will be something to tempt even the most jaded of palates.

Sunday has another great musical line up and if you fancy seeing some theatre there will be a performance of The Ugly Duckling in the morning. There will also be a magical puppet show of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. To find out about all the events that are lined up please visit the festival website.

The festival is also seeking volunteer stewards and organisers for the village cycle ride, so if you feel up to the challenge, send them a mail and get involved in this fantastic community event.


For further information and volunteering enquiries please contact enquiries@forestrowfestival.org.uk

Photos: Temblett-Wood Photography