The St Ives September Festival started in a kitchen in Teetotal Street back in 1978. Since then it has grown into a multi-event fortnight of music, art, poetry, performance, food, comedy and anything else for that matter. Over the years an eclectic roster of legendary performers have graced the festival including Fairport Convention, space rockers Hawkwind, punk poet John Cooper Clarke, Billy Bragg, Donovan, caped ‘prog-rock’ crusader’ Rick Wakeman and American trash auteur, John Waters.
A seasonal highlight in the town’s calendar, this year the September Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary. More than 300 music and arts events will take place over 15 days and the Mayor, Councillor Suzanne Tanner, said: “The St Ives September Festival is a very important part of events in St Ives. It creates a buzz of who’s on and what’s to see and do. It’s very exciting to have so many talented guests from poetry to film to bands in so many venues in and around our town.”
The Festival opens on Saturday, 8th September at noon, with a full afternoon of street entertainment, featuring acclaimed St Ives youth theatre group Kidz R Us performing songs from their current show Sister Act, local shanty group Bamaluz Bootleggers, Phoenix Singers and Cornish folk dancers Tros an Treys in Fore Street, with the St Ives Concert Band playing on West Pier. Kicking things off at the Guildhall on the evening of the 8th, is internationally-renowned West Country folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Seth Lakeman.
On Friday 14th, frenetic vintage duo John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett play the St Ives Theatre. There is a strong folk music presence this year with performances from Sound of the Sirens, Rusty Shackle, The Young ‘Uns and one half of acoustic roots duo Show of Hands, Steve Knightley. Closing the festival will be Scottish folk band Breabach.
From Port Isaac, male sea shanty singing group Fishermen’s Friends will play the Guildhall on the 10th September for the first time in 4 year. “We’re delighted to be returning once more to the St Ives Festival to deliver a night of barn-storming shanties, songs of the sea and a smidge of nautical nonsense. What a great way to round off the summer,”.
The Hackney Colliery Band, who made a big impact at the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, are at the Guildhall on September 15th. If you want an education in salsa music, Cuban band Son Yambu will soothe your soul with their fusion of Spanish and African rhythms. They are also hosting a pre-show salsa workshop before their performance on the evening of the 9th September
The St Ives September Festival is about variety; St Ives artist and performance poet Bob Devereux will once again be hosting the outdoor poetry and song in Norway Square in all weathers. In the event of rain, Bob simply relocates to one of the many nearby galleries continue the entertainment. As well as the events in Norway Square, there will be 22 Open Gallery venues showcasing over 50 artists’ work.
On Porthmeor Beach, Mary Kaun English will once again dig a temporary kiln as she brings her pit-fired ceramic demonstration to the St Ives September Festival for the eighth successive year. Mary and fellow artist Martyn Perryman will prepare the pit, fire their work and explain their alternative method of firing ceramics on the beach opposite Tate St Ives from 3pm on Tuesday, September 18. While over at the St Ives Arts Club, there will be a series of film nights. This year’s theme is “Blast from the Past” and highlights include Sunset Boulevarde (1950), The Misfits (1961) and The Ladykillers (1955). With demand for tickets expected to be high, film buffs are advised to get in early.
Festival chairman Mary English said: “There is something for everyone. St Ives is a special place but what sets it apart is its unique historical and contemporary arts scene. The St Ives September Festival continues to grow and aims to encompass this link in its environment but the essence remains the same: to bring the local community and visitors together to celebrate and enjoy St Ives’ creativity.”
Come down and find something just for you.
To find out more and to book tickets visit the September Festival website