Arts Council Investment in Barnaby Festival Future

The Arts Council of England has announced a grant of £45,000 to Macclesfield Barnaby Festival to fund research and development in preparation for 2018’s Festival. This great news comes hot on the heels of continued funding and support from our partners at Cheshire East Council and Macclesfield Town Council.

From October 2016 to March 2017, the Festival will bring 10 exciting arts practitioners to Macclesfield, and invite local community groups, residents and organisations to develop ideas and create work with them. These will then be scaled up and presented at the Festival in June 2018.

David Gooda, new Chair of Barnaby Festival said: “We are delighted to be able to announce this innovative project; I’m passionately committed to the idea of the arts being where people are, and this project is a wonderful sign of the level of confidence that our funders have in the Festival. The Arts Council has given us a priceless opportunity to grow arts provision in Macclesfield, and we’re hugely grateful.”

Karl Wallace, Festival Director will oversee the research and development phase and will be working closely with a community and engagement coordinator (yet to be appointed) to facilitate the projects.

“This is a great opportunity for the festival, giving us a chance to create work with communities which we haven’t previously been able to reach out to,” he said. “It also helps us keep the Festival visible throughout 2017, and build new relationships with groups and residents across  the local area.”

The 10 practitioners come from a broad range of backgrounds and experience, and represent a number of different disciplines – including digital arts, music, performance, carnival, visual arts, storytelling and literature.

“We are particularly pleased that one of our selected artists will be John Hartshorn, Lead Carnival Artist at Macclesfield Community ArtSpace. John has been Artistic Director of the Barnaby Carnival Parade almost since the festival started, and he’ll be developing new ideas for us in the community,” added Karl. “This investment in John and the carnival arts that Barnaby creates with Macclesfield Community ArtSpace is really important.”

Councillor Glen Williams, Deputy Portfolio Holder for Highways and Infrastructure at Cheshire East Council said: “The Barnaby Festival team and Board have worked hard to build a consistent and engaging programme of work in Macclesfield, with their passion and ambition for high quality art and culture putting Macclesfield on the map. Cheshire East Council are pleased to support the festival and we congratulate the team on receiving this funding and endorsement from the Arts Council.”

The award follows the Festival’s triumphant return this summer, smashing box office records and increasing attendance and participation across the board.  The Evaluation Report will be published soon.

Project news and updates will be appearing on the Barnaby website over the coming months.

To find out more, get  involved or express your interest in taking part in Barnaby Festival 2018, contact

Photo: Fiona Bailey