SO Festival set for 'spectacular' return to Skegness and Mablethorpe

It was rockin’ good fun when an Elvis impersonator entertained SO Festival crowds along the coast over the weekend.
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Joe Reeve and his tour manager Josephine Cunningham had promised to leave crowds in Mablethorpe and Skegness ‘all shook up” with their Elvis in Blue Hawaii act – and they didn’t disappoint.

The free international outdoor arts event began in Skegness Tower Gardens on Friday with a visit from Skegness Grammar School students, continuing at the venue on Saturday before moving to Mablethorpe's Sherwood Fields on Sunday.

Anyone who has visited the festival in the past will know to expect the unexpected – and this year was no different.

Mablethorpe Deputy Mayor Claire Arnold and family at the So Festival.Mablethorpe Deputy Mayor Claire Arnold and family at the So Festival.
Mablethorpe Deputy Mayor Claire Arnold and family at the So Festival.

Originating from humble beginnings in 2009, SO Festival has evolved into Lincolnshire's premier cultural celebration, captivating audiences, and fostering a spirit of artistic appreciation.

Alongside Elvis there was a Farm Yard Circus featuring acrobatics and juggling, but using items such as hay bales, wheelbarrows and a tractor tyre as props.

Out of the Deep Blue came a 13-foot tall Sea Giant Puppet and a contemporary dance inspired by the theme of the climate emergency.

There was even an invitation to Breathe Deeply and Take Ten on a love seat swing, while “reflecting on the here and now” – a nice touch in this fast-paced modern living.

Young members of the audience enjoyed playing the air guitar to accompany Elvis.Young members of the audience enjoyed playing the air guitar to accompany Elvis.
Young members of the audience enjoyed playing the air guitar to accompany Elvis.

The local community also played their part in the spotlight.

A community picnic took place on Friday while the first acts took to the stage, ending with kick-off party, and Mayor of Skegness Coun Pete Barry officially opened the Skegness event on Saturday morning,

The community stage, provided by event organisters Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure & Culture, also made a return with local acts including Lisa Jay The Lisa Jay Stage Institute and Top Limitz.

On Monday as the festival site in Mablethorpe was dismantled and packed away for another year, organisers reflected on the remarkable success and the profound impact it has had on both the local community and visitors from near and far.

Top Limitz Dance Academy from Skegness with the Mayor Coun Pete Barry and the Jolly Fisherman.Top Limitz Dance Academy from Skegness with the Mayor Coun Pete Barry and the Jolly Fisherman.
Top Limitz Dance Academy from Skegness with the Mayor Coun Pete Barry and the Jolly Fisherman.

Jens Frimann Hansen, Artistic Director of SO Festival, expressed his gratitude, saying: “Audience, Artists, Amazing Staff - these are the key ingredients that make SO Festival a truly remarkable event. It is the passion and dedication of all involved that brings this festival to life and creates an unforgettable experience for everyone.”

James Brindle, executive director of Magna Vitae, said: “The festival loves coming here and we are proud to bring some f the best European street threatre to the coast.

"Alongside the international programme we have a full day of local acts on our community stage.

"We are massively proud of our community and love to see what they do.

Elvis and the Skegness Carnival Queen Summer Willetts.Elvis and the Skegness Carnival Queen Summer Willetts.
Elvis and the Skegness Carnival Queen Summer Willetts.

“On the first day we also has hundreds of school children attend and what we want to achieve in the future is for more schools to attend and perform in the event.

"We want to show that it’s not only a fantastic thing to get involved and learn skills in creative industries but it is is also a career."

SO Festival’s organising team say they are already hard at work, planning an even more amazing event for next year