I love the Simonsbath Festival for two reasons. It's the only festival I know that regularly mentions wellington boots in its programme and it has my favourite approach road to a night out, with its inspirational views away to the west on the drive down the South Molton road.
Don't miss the film archive evening at St Luke's
on October 30 to raise funds for the festival
A selection of local film archive featuring footage shot in Simonsbath, Exford, Winsford and Withypool and dating back as far as the 1890s will be screened at St Luke’s Church, Simonsbath, on Saturday October 29 and 30 at 7.30pm.
The fascinating and highly entertaining selection of film comes from the South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA) and covers a wide range of footage from local Exmoor villages and the surrounding area.
From an advertisement for Daz shot locally in the 1960s to the highly acclaimed 1970s documentary entitled The Staghunters, the selection of film reflects the variety of life on Exmoor over the past century and more. It includes footage of haymaking and harvesting in the 1930s, Clive Gunnell’s captivating interview in 1965 with William Watts, who lived in the highest inhabited dwelling on Exmoor, as well as coverage of the Lynmouth flood disaster in 1952 and Barnstaple Fair in 1965.
The oldest footage to be screened – which is the oldest in SWFTA’s collection – was shot on a hand-cranked camera in 1898 and shows the view from the front of a steam train on the Barnstaple to Ilfracombe line.
You can still see the events which took place as part of Simonsbath Festival 2016 listed on this website and you can also download a copy of the printed festival brochure (pdf file).
The children of Exford, Cutcombe and Timberscombe schools sang Songs from the Exmoor Forest with gusto and clarity at the Midsummer Family and Community Concert and provided a fitting finale to Simonsbath Festival 2016.
Here is a link to one of the high points of the festival The Lark Ascending and images of the festival's opening May Day celebrations followed by the Midsummer Concert at St John's Church, Cutcombe.
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The festival continues to prioritise its work with local schools. The project ‘Songs from the Exmoor Forest’ to revive interest in and knowledge of the traditional music and songs of Exmoor and Wren musician Paul Wilson this year held a series of workshops in local schools to teach the folk music, songs and traditions collected on Exmoor from the early 20th century to the 1980s. The workshops culminated in a Midsummer family and community concert.
As part of the project we have also collated an online song book featuring music and songs collected on Exmoor, which can be found here on the festival website.
St Luke’s was the original inspiration for Simonsbath Festival and the church continues to inspire, with its attractive and welcoming atmosphere and exceptional acoustic.
Over the past years the festival has made donations to local charities such as Exmoor Search and Rescue, the Beacon Centre cancer unit at Taunton’s Musgrove Hospital, the South Molton branch of the Royal British Legion, and last year gave a donation to the West Somerset Food Cupboard in Minehead.
If you would like to become a Friend of Simonsbath Festival for just £15 a year and enjoy ticket discounts and priority booking while also supporting the festival, please contact Polly Soltau.