Alan Shepherd presents the St Ives September Festival 2014
The St Ives September Festival 2014 is now “Live”
With over 300 events planned for this year, there will be something for everyone, so come to our beautiful town and join our St Ives September Festival celebrations – two weeks of great music, exhibitions, walks, talks, workshops, films, comedy, theatre, plays, stories and poetry.
The St Ives September Festival began in a back kitchen in Teetotal Street in September 1977 bringing together the diverging interests of several arts and music professionals. The first Festival, which ran from 14th to 24th September 1978 was already ambitious in its scope and covered folk music, dance, fine arts, chamber music, poetry, arts & crafts and theatre, and even featured a very young Nigel Kennedy.
The Festival has continued over the past thirty-five years, with a few short breaks, and with different organisations responsible for arranging the programme. It has always been a very important part of the town’s cultural life, and people come from year to year to take advantage of the very wide range of events that are on offer.
In 2011 the committee consisted of about sixteen people of varying expertise, all of whom are volunteers. The Committee oversees the organisation of the Festival and each member is responsible for their own area of interest.
With at least two hundred events the recent Festival has been more ambitious than ever; reaching out to all ages and interests, in various venues around the town.
About St Ives:
St Ives was isolated for much of its existence except by sea. However, the town really began to open up to the outside world in 1877 when the Great Western Railway began running its Broad Gauge trains on the new branch line. Not only did this increase accessibility to the rest of Cornwall for the town’s residents but the railway quickly enabled St Ives to establish itself as a popular holiday destination by rail – a popularity which continues to this day. In 2007 St Ives was awarded the accolade of “Seaside Town of the Year” as voted for by Guardian readers.
Today St Ives is easy to reach and there’s a wealth of ancient culture to be explored in the landscape, the stones, the wells and ceremonies such as the Midsummer Eve Bonfire, Mayor Choosing, Hurling of the Silver Ball on Feast Monday and, every five years, the John Knill commemoration dating back to 1801.
St Ives enters recorded history with the arrival of St. Ia or Hya, the Irish princess who introduced Christianity to this area in the 5th Century.
The town of St Ives was granted its charter by King Edward I in 1295 and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
In 1549 during the Prayer Book Revolution the Provost Marshall came to St Ives and invited the Mayor, Mr John Payne, to lunch at the old George and Dragon. He asked the Mayor to have the gallows erected during lunch. After lunch the Mayor and the Provost Marshall walked down to the gallows, the Provost Marshall ordered the Mayor to get up on the gallows whereupon the Mayor was hanged for being a Roman Catholic.
The importance of the town grew with the development of the Harbour and many ships plied between St Ives and every part of the world. Arthur Guinness, the brewer, used to sell beer to a Captain Sampson who brought the beer back as deck cargo and sold draught Guinness to his regulars in his pub on Skidden Hill, now a hotel. In the early days of St Ives, boats were built on the harbour foreshore by local craftsmen.
St Ives had its own shipping company in the form of The Hain Line. The company was formed in 1878 and had its headquarters in St Ives. The Hain Line combined with the Norge Company and others to become part of the P&O family in 1917 but continued to operate under its own name and colours up until 1964.
The Tin Industry also created its fair share of shipping business which no doubt led to the harbour being listed in 1830 as ‘A Most Important Harbour’.
Many famous people have lived in st ives from time to time; Turner, Whistler, Henry Moore, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Bernard Leach and Virginia Woolf.
Henry Irving lived in the nearby village of Halsetown. These are just a few of the famous people who found the magic that is St Ives.
This historic town and landscape is waiting to be discovered.