Arts in the Park gets Knowle buzzing

Published on: 30 Sep 2016

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The second Arts in the Park event on September 11 filled Redcatch park in Knowle with hundreds of people and dozens of activities from painting to drama, pottery to music. Here Rachel Heaton, one of the event organisers at Entertaining Local Knowle, gives her account of the day. 


LAST sunny Sunday I got to Redcatch Park super early just as the food trucks started rolling in and bunting was flapping around in the morning sunshine, and joined the throng of folk in hi-viz jackets building gazebos with an air of excited trepidation.

A sea of colourful arty stalls selling a variety of quality goods led to to the workshops encouraging people to explore their creativeness with clay, stone, willow and even flowers.  Bedminster theatre company Show of Strength popped up between the trees to entertain with quirky monologues and Brave Bold Drama captivated children with their fabulous show My Way or the Highway. One of my favourite overheard snippets was at their show between two children: "This is so funny," whispered child A. "I know," Child B replied, "I'm laughing." 

A massive difference to this year's event was finding Derek Dodd, who organised the music and introduced us to Bradley Stoke Radio, bringing their experience, efficiency and calmness. The bands were thumping and the sound quality was impeccable. They also provided us with walkie talkies – oh how I loved those (especially reporting "Dog poo on Plot 7, I repeat dog poo on Plot 7 – over and out, snort')

Floriography arrived with cans and masses of flowers and proceeded to adorn the railings by the tennis courts with flowery delights in tins decorated by anyone passing. The finished display is stunning and will be staying on site until Christmas. The flowers are still going and people are adding to the displays every day, which is simply heartwarming. A must-see if you are in the park.

I did not think Ollie Gillard could surpass the kingfisher mural which he put on the park's toilet block at last year's event, but he really has. The butterfly which now adorns the pavilion looks so real I would not be surprised if it lifted its wings and fluttered off over Broadwalk. Ollie is a local boy, incredibly talented and did this in his own time without payment – we love him. Another local boy was Anthony Garrett who did a fabulous painting (despite being a little hung over!) and it sold on the day for a massive £600 (watch this space for our next event which this money will support).

 A teenager and her young brother were watching the big redwood bench that was being carved by Andy O'Neill. "Is it staying here?" she asked in awe and then her face crumpled. "But what if it gets vandalised?" It was such a mixed emotion – she was thrilled it was staying in our park but worried for its safety.

 I treated myself to a large Pickled Brisket sandwich, which was divine; there was a foodie treat to suit everyone.

 Redcatch Community Centre saw a large footfall of people enticed by the artwork and workshops of painted pebbles and dried flower keyrings. One was heard to say that he had lived in the area for 17 years and had never been inside the centre and could not get over how nice it was.

The Bard of Windmill Hill kept the Cabaret Stage in order including the fabulously funny Audrey Heartbyrne, lots of belly dancing and the cool kids Stomp Move Create.

 I was disappointed that the Redcatch Artist of the Year did not have more participants but those who turned up produced some lovely pictures.  Whereas the kids graffiti competition ran by the Agent and his team of enthusiastic graffiti boys went down a storm and we ran out of boards and paint!  We have so many talented kids.

 Andy O'Neill carving a benchFlowers on the Redcatch railings, by FloriographyOllie Gillard and butterfly muralAt one point I stood looking across the event at the hordes of people and a wave of emotion enveloped me. We had done this, our little group of five a year in the planning, had created an amazing arty family day out for our local community to enjoy. And enjoy it they did. Until next time... (maybe! - if you want to be part of our group please get in touch

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