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How it all began

History

Kidderminster Arts Festival (KAF) offers a diverse cultural experience to all ages and interests, and includes a programme of performance workshops, shows, street art and exhibitions. 

KAF has come a long way since it began life in 2003 with a small grant from the Arts Council and an audience of just 2000 people.  Since then it has become the flagship project of Wyre Forest District Council Arts and Play Development Team's portfolio. We now work with a huge range of partners, commission new work and reach over 100,000 people each year!

The annual event is held in the last two weeks of August in and around Kidderminster town centre in local venues and out and about on the streets.

Want to get involved as a performer or volunteer?

To bring you KAF, we rely almost entirely on external funding.  Find out more about how your business can be part of the action and benefit through our sponsorship packages.

If you would like to support our event, you can also make a donation.

2018

Our 2018 theme was ‘Strength and Resilience’ with entertainment focussing on three significant nationwide celebrations happening during the year.

  • The centenary of the end of the First World War
  • 100 years of women’s right to vote
  • Circus250 – a UK-wide celebration of 250 years of circus!

2017

The theme of 2017 was patterns. This was a homage to the rich textile heritage of Kidderminster, and coincided with the centenary of world-renowned textile designer Lucienne Day, whose life and career is explored in the current exhibition at Kidderminster's Museum of Carpet.

2016

The theme for 2016 was music. The aim was to share the magic of the old days with the excitement of the new. It allowed people to find out what their parents were up to in their youth and discover why so many pioneers of new music come from the town. This festival was dedicated to the memory of John Combe who never stopped keeping the music in our minds.

2015

The theme for 2015 was ‘Transformation’ reflecting the radical changes happening in the town centre over the next two years.

2014

Vicar Street was transformed for KAF 2014 with outlines for every man that died from Kidderminster in World War I, all 661 of them. This installation was done in chalk paint which slowly fades and disappears in time depending on the weather and footfall. The Space Pups installation commemorated over 20,000 dogs that played a vital part in the war effort as guard dogs, messengers, sentries and rescue dogs.

2013

KAF13 celebrated its tenth birthday by creating a specially commissioned Carpet Forest by artists Jo and Kate DeBurgh from PLANET Arts. It attracted £16,902 of funding from Arts Council England alongside £3500 from Worcestershire County Council, The Rewyre Initiative and the Xpressions Leisure Grant Scheme. KAF13 was sponsored by Brintons Carpets and benefitted from smaller donations from organisations such as The Swan Shopping Centre, Weavers Wharf and R.S. Taylor Services Ltd, and was supported by The Roland Hill Shopping Centre, The Friends of St. Georges Park and The Boars Head Pub among others.  

KAF13 presented 111 workshops which 1734 people attended.  It involved 398 performers and artists, created 8 new commissioned pieces of work, worked with 124 volunteers. KAF presented 184 performances. Over 93,167 people experienced KAF, 50 of those were online viewers.  KAF has created two films as part of its work this year which will be available to view online and through a series of screenings around the county. If you had visited every KAF event you would have spent £88.00.

2012

In 2012, KAF received £10,000 from Arts Council England for development of the BLOOM project; £2,000 from ReWyre for Subway Makeover; and £3,500 from Worcestershire County Council for strategic development for 2 years. KAF attracted nearly 20,000 visits, presented 129 events, workshops or performances, created 5 commissions and worked with 236 artists. 

2011

In 2011, funding was received from Wyre Forest District Council ReWyre for delivery of Subway Deluxe. KAF attracted 18,400 attendees, paid 23 artists, 44 volunteers and presented 63 events, workshops or performances.

2010

In 2010 KAF received funding from Arts Council England for increased street arts programme,  WCC for Subway Deluxe (through KAF Creatives), from Worecestershire County Council to Kidderminster Town Centre Partnership for programming of workshops and Community Housing Group as a partnership contribution. KAF Creatives established an independent group of artists to work collaboratively to develop projects to be showcased at KAF and offer a supportive environment for local artists. The Festival attracts 24,000 visitors and 152 artists in all of which 44 were paid.  KAF presented 143 events, workshops or performances.

2009

£5k core funding committed to the longer term future in the form of a 3 year commitment with review as required. KAF attracted 15,000 visitors, presented 69 events, workshops or performances and worked with 94 artists.

2008

KAF attracted 18,000 visitors and there was the introduction of Xpressions Dragons Den, that offered an opportunity for local artists to bid for £1500 to develop a project to be presented at the following year’s Festival. KAF makes its first commission of new work. KAF presented 43 events, workshops or performances and worked with 78 artists (23 of which were local).

2007

In 2007, KAF attracted 18,000 attendees, presented 42 events, workshops or performances and worked with 246 artists.

2006

KAF introduced the approved buskers scheme seeing an increase in local artists involvement and local sponsorship. The Festival attracted 6475 people and presented 45 events, workshops or performances

2005

Loz Samuels began working on KAF in 2005 with an allocated budget of £5k from Wyre Forest District Council. The Festival attracted 5000 people. KAF presented 43 events, workshops or performances.

2004

KAF delivered by Wyre Forest District Council Arts and Play Development Officer with £5k funding from Wyre Forest District Council.

2003

KAF was programmed and delivered by an independent local producer with the support of Wyre Forest District Council’s Arts and Play Development Officer; Funded by ACE with a total budget of £5k and attracted 2000 attendees. The programme was predominantly workshops for young people with a small element of street theatre and an exhibition by local artists.

Be a part of it

Get involved

KAFF is dependent on external funding and on contributions of local artists, volunteers and organisations.  Why not get involved and be part of making this vibrant and exciting community event happen?

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