WARSASH FESTIVAL @stmarywarsash

This was not a Church Fete, although the Church did have a large stand there. It was organised by an organising committee as a community group on behalf of the whole Village. The Chairman was Matthew Chase. For any further information, please contact Anne Ford, by email.

We give below the press release that the Festival Committee made in June 2020.

“We think everyone would agree that the Warsash Festival has been a huge success and formed an integral part of the village calendar.
Originally starting off in the year 2000, as a Millennium Celebration, the Festival has been held biennially ever since and the 10 events have grown substantially over the past 20 years.

The Festival has been organised and run by a small committee of volunteers. In January of 2020 we held a meeting to review the event and it was agreed by our committee that the Festival had reached its optimum size with close to 7,000 people attending in 2019. It was also agreed that over the years we have been faithful to our original objective of ‘Bringing the Community Together’ and retaining a local feel to the Festival.

We firmly believe that the success of the event is largely due to our very effective, 10 member committee who have been together throughout the years and who all have specific roles; we trust each other to simply get on with our own duties and as a result things have pretty much run faultlessly. Our success has however, come at a price, with ever increasing demands on the organising committee, caused by the need to manage these increasing visitor numbers, health and safety, stewarding and site security to name but a few.

The Festival planning takes hundreds of hours of our time, over a 10-month period and as part of our review we realised that the work that went into planning and executing a 4-hour event was now totally disproportionate. Unfortunately, the time we have had before and after the event for set up and clearance is limited so to run for longer is not practical and would anyway involve more costs.

The personal and business commitments of a number of our committee members have changed over the years and collectively we feel unable to devote the time necessary to continue organising the event.

As a result, our committee made a unanimous decision that 2019 will have been the final Warsash Festival. We would just add that the COVID-19 pandemic has had absolutely no impact on our decision.

We’re sure this will come as a shock and many of you will feel sad to see the biennial event cease, however the Warsash Festival brand is strong, so we intend to secure it and the Festival resources that we have gathered over two decades. The Festival has always been a not-for-profit operation and any surplus funds after each event have been donated to charities. Since 2000 the Warsash Festival has made donations totalling over £12,000 to local causes. We do feel that there may be a place for more specific smaller scale events in our community and we hope there will be an opportunity to explore these in the future. Our committee members will be keen to lend their skills and experience to these.

It has been a privilege and pleasure for the Festival committee to have created and nurtured such a successful event held in a beautiful setting – The Strawberry Field, but as with many things in life, the world moves on and some things must come to an end. We would like to thank the stallholders, entertainers, caterers, event organisers, our team of volunteers and of course the public, for supporting the Festival over the last 20 years.

To keep you updated with further news, we will be maintaining our presence on Facebook and will have a website to launch in the near future but in the meantime, on behalf of all our Warsash Festival Committee we thank you all and wish you well. “