Hop on board for festival bonanza
Full steam ahead: The Spitfire train will bring people to Faversham's Hop Festival
LIVE music, lively street entertainment, stalls and a steam train will help Faversham celebrate its hop-picking history at the start of next month.
The Faversham Hop Festival, now 20 years old, attracts acts and visitors from around the world, who gather in the streets and pubs of the market town for two days of cultural entertainment and merriment.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Musical acts will perform for the anticipated 20,000 or more visitors on three outdoor stages, as well as in numerous pubs and venues throughout town.
Playing on the Spitfire Stage, among others, will be the Faversham Mission Brass Band, American folk clog dancers Tanglefoot, Kent folk band Selkie, Belgium acoustic folk and Celtic group Faran Flad, and various morris dancing sides.
The Preston Street Stage plays host to country, blues and Cajun band Redeye, Faversham rock band Elbert Felc and Green Diesel, also from Faversham, playing high energy folk, funk, jazz and rock 'n' roll.
On the Shepherd Neame-sponsored Brewery Stage will be Kent folk-rockers Hot Rats, funk rock band Jam Sandwich and Fat River Band, playing country and rock.
An opening ceremony will take place at 10.30am on the Saturday while, on the Sunday, a procession will begin at 11am and street entertainers will include stilt walkers and actors on wheels dressed as grannies.
Shepherd Neame's Spitfire steam train will travel from London Bridge Station to Faversham and then back via the Kent coast on Sunday, retracing the route hop-pickers once took.
It will also make a shorter trip between Faversham and Dover, and tours and tastings will be available at the brewery.
The festival's artistic director, Martin Young, recounted a tale of a visit to New Zealand, when he happened to mention he was from Faversham.
A woman told him she had once visited the small town on the other side of the world – to attend the Hop Festival.
Mr Young, who encouraged all pubs, businesses and residents to get involved, added: "It truly is a world-famous festival."
To find out more about The Faversham Hop Festival on Saturday and Sunday, September 4 and 5, go to www.thehopfestival.com or see one of the free leaflets that have been distributed throughout Faversham and in Shepherd Neame pubs.
For details about the Spitfire steam train and Shepherd Neame meals and tours call 01795 542285 or visit www.shepherdneame. co.uk.
Organisers are seeking sponsorship from local or national businesses or individuals to ensure there is a Faversham Hop Festival in 2011.
Next year, funding from Swale Council will be cut to £4,000 and, although other groups and organisations are likely to make donations, a total of about £40,000 is needed for the festival to take place.
Anyone who wishes to make a contribution to next year's festival, however big or small, can e-mail Martin Young on m-long@btconnect. com.
Visitors to this year's event are asked to make donations towards a 2011 festival in collection buckets around the town.
A spokesman for Swale Council confirmed it was giving £6,000 to the Hop Festival this year and £4,000 next year.
He said: "The council has limited funding to resource events, and therefore we need to prioritise this resource.
"This council has changed its approach to how it delivers and supports festivals and events, from a management approach to a commissioning approach.
"This allows the council to do this more effectively and ensure value for money for the council taxpayer.
"We believe that Swale will also have more opportunities for community arts groups to access the limited funding we have."