SO Festival presented to a European audience

East Lindsey’s ground-breaking SO Festival was presented to a prestigious European audience last month, when the festival team was invited to a major cultural conference in London.

Magna Vitae Director of Partnerships, James Brindle (left), with SO Festival artistic director Jens Frimann outside Flanders House, London.

Representatives from the cultural arm of the Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure & Culture were joined by their Danish colleagues from Helsingør Teater, who have a full role to play in the festival’s future, as they put Lincolnshire on the map at the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) event.

Held at Flanders House in the capital, the day-long conference brought together the very best European artistic talent to share experiences and discuss future collaborations with cultural representatives from across the continent. Despite Brexit, there is a strong cultural commitment to ensuring the UK remains part of EUNIC.

Magna Vitae Director of Partnerships, James Brindle, stood alongside Danish SO Festival artistic director Jens Frimann Hansen to tell the packed audience how, since it was established in 2009, SO Festival had ‘broken boundaries’ in its efforts to entertain thousands of people in Mablethorpe and Skegness with a blend of home grown and European art and culture.

With an estimated value to the economy of East Lindsey that runs into millions, James added how the festival, which now runs over three days in Mablethorpe and Skegness, had led to further links between artists on mainland Europe and the east coast of Lincolnshire.

James said: “The invitation to London was proof indeed of a growing recognition of SO as a Festival that is leading the way in forging great cultural links across the North Sea.

“What is even more gratifying for all the team is that we are achieving this in our coastal communities and being offered opportunities, such as the EUNIC event, to promote Mablethorpe and Skegness on an international stage.”

Meanwhile, plans are already progressing well for this year’s SO Festival. with Jens and his team travelling to East Lindsey from London for talks on the Festival, which will take place in Mablethorpe on August 21 and in Skegness on August 22 and 23.

The aim is to create a free arts and culture event, which will push boundaries, encourage community involvement and, above all, be entertaining and engaging for all. Arts Council England funding has once again been secured for the event, with support also coming from East Lindsey District Council.

There is also a move to ensure the ‘SO’ brand increases its sustainability and extends its reach all year round, with community events and partnerships to encourage culture and the arts.

Following a sell-out performance at Louth Riverhead Theatre, Nature Elly, the new puppetry masterpiece by Lincolnshire based Barmpot Theatre, is the first act to be confirmed for SO Festival 2020.

For all the latest announcements, interviews and behind the scenes news, go to www.sofestival.org