Well dressings feature in Derby’s alternative Festé celebration

Contemporary well dressings will feature in a reinvention of the popular outdoor arts weekend Derby Feste.

By Gay Bolton
Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 5:30 am
Steve Slater, director of Deda. Photo by Hazel Hutchison.
Steve Slater, director of Deda. Photo by Hazel Hutchison.

Entitled Derby Well, the initiative includes an arts trail, launching on September 26, and supports artists back into work, encourages people back into the city centre in a safe and socially distanced way and contributes to the wellbeing of city communities by engaging with wider audiences.

Members of the public will create contemporary well dressings inspired by experiences, memories, hopes and ambitions – from individual lockdown journeys through to the new normal. The creations will be sited across the city for visitors to enjoy,

Government guidelines on social distancing means that this year’s Derby Festé is unable to go ahead.

Steve Slater, director of Déda (lead partner behind Derby Feste), said: “Since 2007, Derby Festé has existed to bring surprise, enlightenment and amusement to local communities and visitors alike.

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    “We obviously have to think differently this year and the idea behind Festé/Derby Well is to create a series of events that will celebrate our city and reunite our communities.

    “The idea was originally born from a conversation about traditional Derbyshire well dressing festivals and our goal is for this to be the launch of the long-term programme which is very appropriate considering the county’s links to the Plague all those centuries ago.

    “This will be the perfect way to proclaim the city’s strength and ability to overcome the pandemic with care and kindness, humanity, creativity and love.

    “Moving forwards, we hope to broaden the Derby Well theme to showcase, celebrate and mark a wide range of milestones and landmarks in the city – working in partnership with partners from all walks of life from culture to business.

    “Therefore, although it is disappointing that Derby Festé is not able to happen in its usual way this September, Derby Well gives us the opportunity to re-invent the way that we can come together to celebrate and enjoy our city in a positive and proactive way.”