Volunteers come forward to save Oakham Festival

Oakham Festival event at Oakham Castle. Photo: Karen Parsons
Oakham Festival event at Oakham Castle. Photo: Karen Parsons
Have your say

A summer festival looks set to be saved after volunteers came forward to host next year’s event.

Oakham Festival has been a highlight of Rutland’s social calendar for more than 30 years but it was cancelled this year when long-term organiser Joy Everitt decided it was time to step down from her position as chairman.

Mrs Everitt had co-ordinated the event since 2000 but felt it was the right time for someone else to take over the reins and bring new ideas to the role.

Following a plea for volunteers to take on the challenge next year, two new trustees have been found.

Anne Stringer, the director of Oakham-based dating agency RSVP, and her events planner Michelle Begy have come forward and are keen to recruit a team of helpers.

Michelle, an events planner, said: “It seemed such a shame that something which is so well-loved in Oakham was at risk of being lost if no one stepped up to the challenge of organising it.

“We are now in the process of a fact-finding mission. We are spending time speaking to people who have been involved with the festival over the years, people who would like to be involved with it in the future and anyone who wants to share their thoughts and ideas on what they would like to see at the festival.”

The festival regularly attracts thousands of visitors for its 10-day programme of events which covers art, music, drama and dance.

The highlight of last year’s event was a headline performance by indie band Toploader at Oakham Castle.

Many events continued to take place in the town during the last few weeks without the support of Oakham Festival, including Proms in The Park, Sunday concerts at the bandstand and theatre productions, but Anne and Michelle are keen to bring them back under the festival banner next year.

Michelle added: “We don’t want to make too many changes to next year’s festival. People will get what they have come to expect from previous years.”

Mrs Everitt is in the process of transferring all the paperwork to Anne and Michelle.

Once they officially become trustees of the festival they hope to recruit several more, who will be jointly responsible for the accounts, along with a few committee members and a group of more casual volunteers who are interested in helping out during the actual events.

Anyone interested in getting involved in Oakham Festival 2015 can contact Michelle on 07801 568732.