The Frome Festival has been awarded membership of the prestigious European Festivals Association. The EFA represents some of the top arts festivals in Europe and is partly funded by the European Union. It helps build contacts between artists and festivals throughout Europe, encouraging new ideas and helping towns and cities use the arts to help build on tourism and local industry.
The award of membership was made after a rigorous application procedure by a panel of top arts experts in the UK. Frome Festival Director Martin Dimery expressed his delight at the recognition: “Some of the best arts festivals in the UK and on the continent are members of the European Festivals Association. It is very important in our industry, as in any other, to be continuing to work with Europe. The freedom of movement currently enables us to book performers from across the continent without restriction, and greatly adds to the quality of what we offer. I have been lucky enough to perform in other European countries and it has been so much easier without all the bureaucracy required when crossing borders. Hopefully, belonging to the EFA will eventually help us to continue this practice post- Brexit. ”
It is thought that Frome’s landmark ECOS Amphitheatre situated next to the Merlin Theatre, was a major consideration in the Frome Festival’s award. ECOS is a henge of standing stones placed around a terrace on the Frome College site. It was constructed using one large stone from each of the member countries to celebrate the foundation of the European Union in 1992, and was the scene of a series of summer festivals in the 1990’s originally organised by Mike Walker and Martin Dimery. The ECOS Festivals effectively gave way to the Frome Festival in 2001, which incorporated a range of venues in the town, but the Amphitheatre continues to host outdoor presentations in the summer, especially during the Frome Festival. This year’s ECOS offerings include Miracle Theatre’s “The Third Policeman” and Illyria’s “Pride and Prejudice” based on the Jane Austen novel.
This year’s Frome Festival will run from 7th to the 16th July and also feature bands The Wonder Stuff, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, comedian Andy Parsons. The full brochure will be available from early May.