TAKE FIVE! The Weston Arts + Health Festival is Brewing for 2024

Co-produced by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and Super Culture 

Thursday 11 July – Sunday 14 July .

5th Edition on the Beach!

The words 'arts + health' are in black lettering on a bright yellow backdrop. The character '+' is set against a blue sandcastle with a flag on top

All activities from Friday 12 July onwards take place at the Festival Hub, a beautiful canvas tent on the beach, adjacent to Revo Kitchen, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1BE

This year we celebrate Weston Arts + Health Festival’s fifth edition with a programme of activities and events on the beach, set within a beautiful canvas tent with the ultimate feel-good Weston backdrop of sea, sand and sky.   

Our theme ‘Take Five’ celebrates the value of taking time within your day to do something enjoyable, and the Festival Hub is a great place to start, with free tea on tap throughout the weekend. 

The Festival programme has a running tea party theme, with plenty of opportunities for people to come together in positive shared activity, also highlighting the many and varied community organisations which underpin Weston’s creative offer year-round.   

Frances Macadam, Head of Arts Programme for University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) comments: “We are delighted, once again, to be partnering with Super Culture on the Weston Arts + Health Festival.  Starting with an uplifting programme for staff and patients at the hospital, including tea parties on our Older People wards.  We then focus on our connection to the town and wider community with lots to enjoy on the beach.  The Festival programme focuses on the Five Ways to Wellbeing which are a set of evidence-based actions to improve personal wellbeing: connect, be active, learn new skills, give to others, take notice.  We hope you find something in the programme that fills your cup.”

Image by Mark Gray

In the run-up to the Festival, Cream Teas across community venues in Weston’s South Ward are being held to pre-promote the programme to the local community.  Also whetting appetites for the weekend is an online poetry Speakeasy on Thursday 11 July, featuring poets who are UHBW Staff, alongside guest poet Deb Alma, founder of the acclaimed Poetry Pharmacy bookshop.

Beachside highlights across the Festival weekend include: 

Friday 12 July, 7.30pmFriday Night Sounds on the Sands, an evening of standout music and poetry from some of the Hospital’s Creatives in Residence, moonlighting al fresco.  House of Figs share their unique blend of poetic warmth and wit that last year delighted festival audiences at Womad and Shambala; singer Roland Harrad amazes with his vocal versatility that springs from hip-hop to opera; and Apple of My Eye’s irresistible folk ballads are likely to get you on your feet dancing. 

Two women on a moored canoe on the sand with a lake behind them. One woman is sitting in the blue canoe with a typewriter on her lap, looking up at the other woman who is standing up with a paddle. Both are smiling. It is a sunny day
House of Figs. Image by Paul Blakemore

All weekend – a range of creative activities are at the Festival Hub across both days (10am-2pm), presented by some of the fantastic groups who have regular creative participation offers in the town.  Choose from vintage tea cup planting with Friends of Grove Park, Me Old China community mosaic with Create Together, slow stitching & weaving with UHBW Visual Artist in Residence, and much more besides.

Saturday 13 July – the early bird catches the worm with a 7am Bird Walk along the beach, led by Chris Sperring MBE (BBC Radio 4, Autumnwatch), whose soaring knowledge of birds will lend a whole new perspective to your understanding of the coastline. There’s more walking at 11am with a Nature Connection Walk led by the team from the Mendip Hills National Landscape, encouraging us to take time to find special moments in nature. Meanwhile Little People, Big Feelings storytime creates a gentle space back at the Hub at 10.30am. Then, at Noon, Samir Savant, Director at St George’s Hall, Bristol, invites us to find out the benefits of singing with a talk and maybe a little singing! You are then invited to breathe deeply and book onto a Mindfulness Walk at 2pm.

The Posh Club take up residence from 3pm-5pm (dress code: Posh), bringing to the beach their glamorous performance and social club for older people that has become a national phenomenon.  The Posh Club’s irresistible events are styled as tongue-in-cheek ‘posh’ 1940’s afternoon tea with live cabaret turns, volunteer waiters in black tie, and vintage crockery.  Social connectivity and inter-generational volunteering are encouraged in the most splendid of fashions, with warmth, frills, and frolics at the heart of the experience.  This event is free, for the over 60s and must be pre-booked. Although people of all ages are welcome to walk up and enjoy the show standing from the sidelines.

White man with beard and colourful headscarf, with make up on, serving wine to two women at a table in a room full of people, also at tables
The Posh Club

Sunday 14 July gets off to an active start at 9.30am with an Acrobatics and Circus workshop with European Collective ConTakt who return later that day with their high octane Circus Show, FOLEY, exploring the power of playfully connecting with others to build trust and new possibilities.  Tall towers, high throws and live music combine to create true spectacle.  

There are more opportunities to join different walking offers on Sunday with a Health Walk at 10am, and for those who wish to exercise vocal chords as well as leg muscles, a Singing Walk at 12pm led by acclaimed singer-songwriter Racheal Dadd, with Julia Turner.  

At 12.30pm, LGBTQI+ performance artist Tom Marshman invites you to join his alternative Sunday Lunch, a Hidden Histories Tea Party.  Share your experiences of forgotten histories either as a result of Section 28 or your own lived silenced period, alongside bite-sized slices of cake and performance, flowing tea and conversation.  

Smiling man with long blond ponytail in an apron serving tea and cake to a group sitting around a table.
Tea Party with Tom Marshman. Image by Mark Gray

Energy levels are raised again at 2pm on the Promenade with The Original Spinners who use music, movement, creativity and play to enable joyful experiences for those in hospital settings and beyond.

A special treat awaits as a finale for the weekend with a Peace Feast from 4pm, with food served up by Global Kitchen refugee cooking collective alongside Loves Cafe and Refugees Welcome North Somerset.   A free and delicious celebration of Weston’s community, with all welcome (until the food runs out!). 

Feasters can also enjoy The Great Tea Cosy Auction!  Supported by Alliance Homes, crochet-tastic members of Weston’s community have been busy taking five minutes out of their day to make an amazing array of tea cosies that warm up further opportunities for friendly cuppas in the future. You can get involved by making a tea cosy in the run-up to the festival, or by placing your bid at the Great Tea Cosy Auction from 4.30pm and helping to raise money for Weston Hospicecare and Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity.

A teapot in a cosy. The knitted is knitted with woollen bakewell tarts on a plate on top
The Great Tea Cosy Auction.

Last but not least on the bill at 5.30pm you can join us for a Peace Feast Sing-a-long led by UHBW’s Staff Choir leader.

Fiona Matthews, Creative Director at Super Culture said “Walking, feasting, growing, crafting, story-telling, circus, poetry, music and more … the fifth Weston Arts + Health Festival: Take Five has an eclectic programme that showcases the depth and range of Weston’s community offer.  The Festival is designed to bring people together and forge new connections in the warmest of ways, and we can’t wait to see The Posh Club nail that brief when they bring Elvis and opera to the beach for their glamorous afternoon event for the over 60s.  Weston’s community have once again excelled at supporting the Festival (crochet-hook, line and sinker) – see the fruits of their multi-coloured efforts at Sunday’s Great Tea Cosy auction!”

Weston Arts + Health Festival is co-produced by Super Culture and The Arts & Culture Programme, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust. Events are bookable in advance or drop-in. Visit https://superculture.org.uk/whats-on/ for full programme details and follow @superculturewsm for the latest updates.

Weston Arts + Health Festival 2024 is supported by funding from Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity and Arts Council England.  Additional support is also gratefully received from Arts and Humanities Research Council and Bristol University (as part of Coastal Community and Creative Health programme), Mendip Hills National Landscape, Alliance Homes, North Somerset Community Food grant and Revo Kitchen.