Top Norfolk festival announces new artistic director

Stash Kirkbride will be the new artistic director of the Holt Festival. Picture: Rachel Wright

Stash Kirkbride will be the new artistic director of the Holt Festival. Picture: Rachel Wright - Credit: Archant

One of north Norfolk’s leading arts festivals has announced a new artistic director for its tenth anniversary.

Stash Kirkbride will take over from Charles Pugh who has been Holt Festival’s artistic director for the last three years.

Mr Kirkbride is well known throughout the region, having co-founded Norwich’s Hostry Festival and the Norfolk Arts Awards.

“I’ve admired Holt Festival since it began nine years ago, so when I was invited to program their celebration year I was instantly intrigued and interested,” he said.

“Programming a 10th year is the kind of creative challenge that appeals to me. I attended the 2017 festival and was given the warmest of welcomes by the festival team. I’d like to express my thanks to everyone in that remarkably efficient and professional team, from the trust and board members right through to the volunteers who make it all possible.

“After attending four or five events a day for just over a week I couldn’t wait to start programming the tenth anniversary year.”

Holt Festival has become a major tourist attraction that has seen performances from international musicians, poets, dancers, children’s entertainers, artists and comedians.

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It also gives visitors and residents the chance to see specially curated visual arts exhibitions featuring works by famous artists, many never previously seen in the county.

“It is obviously getting the mixture of programming right that matters, and I hope that when we announce the first highlights in February, and the full programme in April, that I will have managed to do just that,” Mr Kirkbride continued.

“It will be a mix of big international names and others from near and far that are new to Norfolk audiences but who could become future favourites, alongside the pick of Norfolk talent, many of whom are now making their names around the country and beyond.”

Adney Payne, chair of the festival board said: “It’s always hard to fill the space left by someone like Charles who had three very successful years here. We are delighted that Stash has been able to step in and fill that considerable gap.”

The 2018 Festival runs from 21-29 July. For more information visit the Holt Festival website.