Take 5 with the Team

Well, the last few months have been quite the whirlwind as the festival planning caravan gathers pace (and people)! We’ve been out and about across the country (and beyond) meeting amazing organisers and promoting their work to others across the sector. Including a glitzy awards night, a parliamentary reception and even a catch up in a Viennese Palace! Time for a quick break then before we continue – so go on, grab a cup of (iced) tea and take 5 with us for an update on what's been happening behind the scenes with the national festival team.

glass tumbler with an iced drink, lemon and mint

Festival planning hots up!

Almost 1,500 events are now listed on the event directory which went live earlier this month. From the history of ice cream to workshops covering 1970s punk music and medieval illuminated letters, there’s something for all tastes! And we now have two new members of the team* sifting through the listings to spark your inspiration with highlights on our social streams and the Festival Spotlights.

*Please welcome Jade, our new Marketing & Projects Assistant, and Maddy, our volunteer web content creator.

Collage of three photos: brick fronted building; stone carved building; graffiti art of an eagle on a garage like building

There is more to Crewe than a busy railway interchange - take the time to walk into town next time you travel! / © HODs

Tea, tours and talks

From Swindon to Norwich to Crewe we’ve really enjoyed meeting up with local organisers to discuss plans for this year.  Alex and Charlotte delivered a session for volunteers from across the county at Norwich Castle (once they’d found the door, as the site is very busy getting an upgrade!). Later, Charlotte and I took tea with the team in Swindon and a tour and chat with the crew in Crewe. Two very different but equally fascinating railway towns. Keep an eye out for these wonderful festival hubs (and get a hint of what some of the hubs are planning in our earlier Festival Spotlight post).

Corner view of ornate colonnaded balconies inside a building's lightwell

Inside the beautiful Hofburg Palace, one of the venues for the European Heritage Day coordinators' meeting in Vienna / © CC

Advocating within and beyond our borders

In March I visited Parliament twice in one week! First to support our wider National Trust colleagues with the launch of the Festival of Blossom, and then to celebrate English Tourism Week. I gained a head full of visit statistics, some great local trivia and potential new friends for our festival. More recently Liam was over in beautiful Vienna for a meeting with our wider European Heritage Day coordinators – yes, we are part of a larger festival, each country running it in their own way under different names but linked with the same aim of encouraging access to and engagement with our wonderful heritage. Amongst the chat and inspiration he had dinner at the Hofburg Palace, and following the gathering we had a smaller group meeting in London with coordinators from Poland, Georgia, and the Netherlands to discuss ideas for future festival themes.

Four people stood in front of a tradestand with pink branding

Liam and Sarah on our stall at the M+H show with brilliant local organisers from Headstone Manor and Museum / © HODs

Talking + clapping

In May we hosted a stall at the excellent Museums+Heritage Show again – a brilliant event to meet up with people from across the sector. Our bright pink bunting helped us stand out and the pink tote bags encouraged more people to come find us! We also gave a talk at the event this year, with the help of two of our brilliant organisers from Headstone Manor & Museum. We introduced the general set up, they talked about what it is really like to run an event! They were brilliant and we can’t thank them enough for sharing their experiences.

So that was the talking part of the event… the clapping came on the Wednesday evening when we attended the glitzy Museums + Heritage Awards as we were shortlisted for their new Sector Support category. It was really tough competition so we were thrilled and proud to be there, but also delighted to join everyone in raising the roof when the wonderful Kids in Museums won. It was a special evening, congratulations to all the nominees in all categories.

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