Arundel Festival Of The Arts Goes Virtual

We all recognise what a significant role Arundel Festival plays in the annual life of the town, bringing together the whole community and how important it is to nurture and optimise these events and voluntary groups and organisations which contribute to making Arundel such a special place to live, work and visit. This 10 day ‘multi-arts’ and entertainment event is a celebration of everything that makes Arundel such a wonderful, inviting and unique place. The Festival Committee, a passionate team of local professionals, bring a wealth of expertise and connections across their multi-faceted roles, volunteering their time to making a positive difference. Together with the individual event organisers and volunteers (programme), they work tirelessly to put Arundel on the map as a destination brimming with creativity, cultural heritage and community spirit. The timing of the Arundel Festival has made it harder to navigate plans in response to the pandemic, whereas the June Prefest event due to take place in the Lower Lawns of Arundel Castle was cancelled without question. Initially, it could not have been predicted how things would look in August, but we have always been aware of the severity of the situation and the massive impact this virus continues to have on all of our lives.

Behind the scenes, the situation has constantly been under review by the dedicated, community-driven committee. ‘Arundel Festival of the Arts’ was due to run from Saturday 21st August to Monday 31st August showcasing everything that is outstanding about our town. This year’s Festival promised inclusive and immersive entertainment with a multitude of eclectic events and activities hosted by Arundel’s most talented. Due to the ever changing landscape, the latest government advice around coronavirus and following close consultation with the Arun District Council’s Events Team, the Festival Committee have taken the extremely difficult decision to cancel this year’s physical Festival. The crisis has ripped through the events industry forcing 2020 to fall into it’s own ‘unique category’ from previous years. In a statement, the Committee has said “It is a hugely challenging time for everyone in our beautiful town; for businesses and residents alike, but ultimately the health and safety of people must always come first”.

In 2021 the Festival will be back and raring to go with a bigger and better than ever before live showcase. At a time when we can celebrate as a community together safely and experience events live through a series of entertainment from exceptionally outstanding and creative local talent to carefully curated national artists in the vibrant, beautiful, historic and thriving town of Arundel. For now, the Festival Committee will be bringing residents and visitors a taster of what is to come next year with a ‘Virtual Showcase’ from the safety of their own homes!

The Committee continue to work closely with individual event organisers and look forward to learning more about how some of them plan to bring their events to life virtually, so that they can provide the residents with a more detailed programme. For now they know that ‘The Gallery Trail’ will be run online from 22nd to the 31st August and feature an exciting ‘Secret Artist Auction’ as well as online and private views. The Hanover Band will be streaming performances by the Consone Quartet of Beethoven’s String Quartets Op. 18 across three days from Saturday

22nd August to Monday 24th August, as well as Beethoven’s Septet and Schubert’s Octet on Sun- day 30th August.

Quote from Sharon Blaikie, Chair of ‘Arundel Festival of the Arts’ Committee

“Arundel Festival highlights everything that is excellent about our town, including community spirit. 2020 is the year to produce something different and we are embracing the virtual world with a showcase to include what is to come in 2021. Now more than ever, we would like you to be part of it. The new title is reflective of the eclectic mix of visual arts, drama, music, dance, comedy and street entertainment with exciting community events and of celebrating life, community and friendship. The committee and all involved endeavour to make these events sustainable, progressive and fun for all communities to enjoy, promoting a successful Festival for years to come. We are working on the programme and announcements are to follow.”

The Committee are taking the opportunity to plan how the 2021 Festival could look and are arranging the programme early, which all being well, will be delivered in its entirety with some exciting pre-festival stunts. More details will feature on our Festival page and on the Visit Arundel website.

This pandemic has thrown many households into crisis. The Festival Committee were mindful at this time to prioritise support for their local community. They have focused on the more economically vulnerable members of our immediate community by working closely with the Festival’s chosen Charity Partner for 2020, The Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and provides emergency food and support to people locked in poverty whilst campaigning for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

The Committee are supporting the Trussell Trust as a whole and raising awareness of the need for appropriate food donations and aid for their local food bank which is: Littlehampton & District and hope that Arundel residents will help them in doing so.


    • The annual Festival usually takes place in the last two weeks of August beginning with an Opening Ceremony on the first Saturday and ending with a finale on the Bank Holiday weekend – Ten summertime days showcasing a wide range of outstanding talent in the beautiful, historic and thriving town of Arundel.
    • This year marks the 42nd Arundel Festival – Arundel Festival goes Virtual!
    • Mission – The Festival showcases an eclectic mix of visual arts, drama, words, music, dance, comedy and street entertainment from exceptionally creative local talent and carefully curated national artists.
    • Events include the Dragon Boat Race in aid of ‘Help the Heroes’, 10k Scout run, Shakespeare at Arundel Castle, the charity Duck Race, the Big Top Happy’s Circus, Music Festival, the Theatre Trail, the Gallery Trail, International Ballet performances, the Arundel Players at the Priory Playhouse, Arundel walking tours, Abba tribute, a vast array of local and new music artists, street artists and performers, vintage day, fireworks.
    • In 2016 Arundel Festival won Sussex Life’s ‘Festival of the Year’
    • Over the years the Festival has attracted big names such as Derek Jacobi and George Melly. (Full History of the Festival available)
    • Arundel Festival Limited is a registered charity which is organised and run by a voluntary Committee of local residents and volunteers
    • The Festival is funded through sponsorship, fundraising and charitable donations
    • Building strong destination brand recognition – New title, new website, evolving and complementing “Arundel” – it’s history, culture and location
    • Arundel is not an island – collaborates with other towns and festivals