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Festival seeks artists to help celebrate the Wye Valley landscape

Music and dancing by Folk Dance Remixed at the Wye Valley River Festival 2018 ©Adams

Artists and filmmakers throughout the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are being given the chance to create work to celebrate the beauty and character of the acclaimed landscape as part of the re-imagined Wye Valley River Festival taking place from September 21 – 27.

Previously the biennial award-winning festival has worked with local communities to bring internationally acclaimed art, performances and events to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, such as the Museum of the Moon event in 2018. However, the coronavirus pandemic has meant plans have evolved for 2020, with event organisers re-imagining the festival so that it can be experienced through podcasts, films, workshops and livestream sessions, with some live installations.

As part of the celebrations a number of different competitions and awards to encourage local artists, filmmakers and the wider community to get involved have been launched. One of these is the Creativity Award for Young Artists and Creators.

The festival is looking for submissions from individual artists or groups, young artists and filmmakers who live, work, train or attend education in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in any digital medium, on the theme ‘Wye Valley Inspiration.’ The Award will see up to four young artists and filmmakers win the opportunity to have their digital content premiered at the festival, as well as receive £400 in prize money.

There is also a call out for budding filmmakers and local residents of all ages to submit short films as part of the Films of the Forest and Valley: The Wye Through Your Eyes. A selection of the best films will be projected throughout the festival, as well as uploaded onto the Wye Valley River Festival website.

As much of this year’s Wye Valley River Festival will be happening indoors, organisers are encouraging people to bring the woodland landscape inside their homes. Using resources created by festival artists Priormade, organisers are calling on people of any age to create a magical woodland window display in their own home to be shown during the weeklong festival. To get involved, share a picture of your creation by using the #wyewoodlandwindows on Facebook and Instagram.

Phillippa Haynes, Festival Director for the Wye Valley River Festival, said: “Our local artists and communities are important to the festival and despite enforced distancing, we are keen to get them involved in the festival programme so we have launched these three different initiatives. What we are offering as part of the Wye Valley River Festival is a totally unique opportunity for local artists and filmmakers, but also a great opportunity for the wider community to get involved too. We’re really keen for the art to be generated directly from the community within the Wye Valley so we can all celebrate the local landscape and create a really unique festival together.

“This year we have reimagined the Wye Valley River Festival as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so while it’s going to be a very different festival to previous years, we hope our re-imagined festival will excite, challenge and engage with festivalgoers just as it has done in previous years. We’re looking forward to bringing an eclectic mix of performances, art, talks and workshops, live music, and activities that everyone can get involved with.”