Blazing a trail for arts in Belper

Joint co-ordinators of the Belper Arts Festival Trail, Suzanne Parnell, left and Kelly Nixon.
Joint co-ordinators of the Belper Arts Festival Trail, Suzanne Parnell, left and Kelly Nixon.
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The Belper Arts Festival Trail is back for 2015 - and organisers say the event is set to be bigger and better than its maiden outing last year.

The event, which runs over this bank holiday weekend, will see more than 100 artists showcase their skills across a host of venues in and around Belper town centre.

Shoppers on King Street stop to take in the knitted art installations which adorn the trees lining the road.

Shoppers on King Street stop to take in the knitted art installations which adorn the trees lining the road.

Fresh from the success of last year’s inaugural event, organisers Suzanne Purnell and Kelly Nixon say that the trail now forms an integral part of the month-long Belper Arts Festival, which runs until May 30.

“We start planning the trail about six months in advance,” said Suzanne.

“So we gave artists who performed last year until October to get back to us regarding this year’s event.

“I’d say around two thirds of last year’s artists have come back.

“The rest are all new to the trail so I would like to think that means the word is spreading.”

Artists will be exhibiting, selling and doing workshops and demos at more than 40 different venues and Suzanne says the beauty of the event is that it caters for all the family.

“There’s something for all ages,” she added.

“There’s just a huge variety of events and artists.

“Last year we had more than 1,000 people attend on the Sunday alone which was excellent.

“Belper is notoriously quiet on a Sunday so for that amount of people to turn up was excellent.

“Alot of the organising is matching artists with certain venues.

“It’s a bit like a jigsaw and piecing everything together.

“We’ve got a lot of artists from Belper but also from further afield such as Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.”

One of the highlights this year is a special Children’s Trail that will see Captain Dan looking for treasures in the Memorial Gardens.

Suzanne said: “There will be three treasure hunts each day so that is something both us and the children are looking forward to.”

As well as crafts, music and arts, there has also been a special project that the Trail has worked with Belper Town Council on.

One of the projects is ‘yarnbombing’ trees on King Street, with a number of colourful designs already gaining favourable reviews by shoppers and residents in the town.

Although events and demos are free, there is a special brochure on sale which has all the times and listings for the two days, as well as a map of all the Trail’s events.

Brochures, priced at £3, will be on sale at a clutch of venues during the trail.

lFor more information, visit belperartsfestival.org or follow on Twitter @BelperFestTrail