Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage 'won't be going ahead for foreseeable future'

Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage won't be going ahead this year after all - nor for the foreseeable future.

By Duncan Atkins
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 5:38 pm

Festivals in the seaside village have been going on since the inaugural one in 2012 and grown in popularity as the years have progressed, attracting thousands of people.

Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers, the event has raised £17,546 in the eight years it has run - the last being in 2019, pre-pandemic - with the cash donated to local good causes.

But now the event as we know it has reached the end of the road - and it would need a "radical rethink" if it was to make a comeback.

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Driftwood artist Sarah Wilson at the Staithes Festival of Heritage and Arts. 194425k

A post on Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage's (SFAH) Facebook page said: "Thousands of visitors have thronged to the village to join residents in celebrating the unique culture, heritage and atmosphere of Staithes.

"Hundreds of artists have exhibited and sold work, scores of musicians have entertained us with a dazzling variety of music and song and many more speakers have given freely of their knowledge and time to widen our understanding of the natural, geographical, cultural, scientific, commercial and historical background of our magical village.

"When we postponed SFAH due the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 we genuinely believed we’d be able to bring it back in 2022 and make it our best festival yet.

"We opened artist registrations at the start of January and began to think enthusiastically about how we were going to make it happen.

Whitby sculptor Emma Stothard with one of her sculptures on Staithes seafront. 194425b

"Since then, sadly, we’ve become all too aware of a series of pressures and problems SFAH is facing now that we can’t overcome or ignore.

"These problems have regrettably led us to the conclusion that we won’t be able to continue to run the festival as we have in the past.

"As a committee, we have met and we are all agreed that too much has changed since 2012.

"Back then, we were able to put together a successful and well-run, but still largely amateur and makeshift event that dove-tailed perfectly into the village as it was.

"We feel that the model we based the SFAH on is no longer workable and that if the festival were to come back in any form it would need a radical re-think.

"We regret we must cancel SFAH 2022 and for the foreseeable future."

The festival is disbanding its Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

Any artists who have registered will be refunded their registration fee in full.

Remaining funds are likely to be given to other local good causes.