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Girvan Arts Festival set to return in June

With the second Girvan Arts Festival set to return on the 3rd and 4th June 2023, we caught up with founder and festival director, Helen DW Humphries, for a chat. We asked her about the inspiration behind the festival and her hopes for the future.

Hi Helen, can you tell us a bit about your own background in the arts?

Apart from being trained in classical music, I came from a highly creative family.  I have always sought out people who “make” things.  I worked on a Wessex Festival in Wells, Somerset, and later founded my own company, “Art At Work”, which put individuals together with established artists all over the UK, to learn their craft.
What inspired you to start an arts festival in Girvan?

People in Girvan are always enthusiastic about their town, rightly so, and I simply think Girvan deserves to be more on the tourist map.  Having lived abroad for much of my adult life, I felt I wanted to give something back to my homeland.  And the town is full of people who “make”.

2022 was the festival’s inaugural year, what feedback did you receive about the event and how has that helped to shape this year’s event?

The main criticism of last year’s festival was that there was nothing for kids, so this year we’re working with Claire McCormick at the library, where there will be a reading by Marion Husband, a children’s writer from Ayr, followed by  craft session.  It’s a start.
What can visitors expect from this year’s festival?

My idea for all the festivals, hopefully, is that people in Girvan can listen to, and watch, people who make a living by being creative.  We’ve all got some form of creativity in our lives—gardening, baking, talking—and it’s always interesting to hear how other people do it!

This year’s festival has a wide range of activities, from talks on boatbuilding and playwriting to demonstrations on woodturning, cookery, and quilting. The Art exhibition will be at the Wee School Arts Space on both days and promises to be as exciting as last year’s.  Music and poetry at the Community Garden on Saturday night, and Strathclyde Chamber Choir round off the whole event on Sunday evening.

What are your hopes for the festival going forward?

I hope that we can always have a range of artists to come and speak at the festival.  We all need some escape, some joy, and maybe even some “therapy” in life, and my view is that the arts offer us all that.

What else would you recommend visitors do during their time in Girvan?

This year the festival is taking place at the same time as the Lowland Gathering, which is a glorious occasion at Victory Park.  Visitors can easily have time to listen to the bagpipes and come to us for a bit of reflection on this beautiful town “by the sea”.

And, for the energetic, there’s nothing better in Girvan than a walk, or a cycle with Biosphere Bikes, along the promenade!


To find out more about this year’s events and to book tickets, head over to the Girvan Arts Festival website

To discover other events taking place in Girvan, head to our events calendar