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New Forest Arts Festival

New Forest Arts Festival

Lead Partner

New Forest National Park Authority

What is it about?

The New Forest is a hub for artists and craftspeople working across a wide variety of media and yet there is currently no overall forum to celebrate and promote the wealth of talent in the area and provide ways for people to easily access it. People can currently access some New Forest art and heritage through regular exhibitions at venues such as the New Forest Centre and St Barbe Museum, but there is no opportunity to bring a wide variety of art forms together at a set period of time for audiences to access easily.

The New Forest Arts Festival will showcase the unique landscape, heritage and culture of the New Forest through a wide variety of art forms during two weeks in June. It will bring together a wide variety of art forms celebrating the New Forest’s heritage. Types of events will range from music, literature, paint, illustration, drama, food, crafts, photography, sculpture, theatre, storytelling, film, poetry readings, and workshop.

As the Festival becomes established and if applications for Arts Council England funding and corporate sponsorship are successful, the New Forest National Park Authority will aim to commission new work for the Festival. The project will also provide a ‘marketing platform’ under which grassroots and professional artists and groups can promote their work and residents and visitors can discover hidden aspects of the New Forest.

The project will:

  • Generate greater appreciation and exploration of the Forest’s landscape and culture through a wide variety of art forms
  • Create easier access to a wide range of arts forms, venues and events and get more people actively engaged in arts and heritage
  • Produce art records of the heritage of the Forest for the future from a variety of viewpoints
  • Enable interactive, ‘behind the scenes’ experiences, led by people from the Forest with intimate knowledge of the history, culture and landscape
  • Result in greater understanding, connection to and respect for the New Forest
  • Become an umbrella for arts/heritage events.
Volunteering and training

A group of interested artists, local residents, attraction managers and events staff volunteer their time in forming a steering group that help guide the direction and management of the Arts Festival.

Visit the training and volunteering pages for information on specific roles within the Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.


It is hoped that the New forest National Park Authority and the main arts organisations in the Forest will be able to continue to coordinate the Festival in the future. It is also hoped that the success of the festival will generate future funding so the Festival can grow in future years and be self-sustaining.

To find out more about the New Forest Arts Festival and stay up to date with the latest news and events, please visit our website or Facebook page.

Contact details

Hilary Makin – Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646608 email:

Land Advice Service Manager


'We help commoners to continue their ancient way by providing grants, training and advice.'

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