Kingsclere steps up for Swan Street at music festival
Kingsclere residents came out in their hundreds to support a new family-friendly festival aimed at securing the future of a popular community facility.
Step Up For Swan Street featured live performances from local and well-known music acts, a wellness tent, a silent auction, children’s activities and plenty of food and drink.
The festival, which took place on Saturday, September 2 on White Hill, just south of Kingsclere, was a new event organised by Kingsclere Performing Arts and Youth Centre (KPAYC).
The community interest company was founded by long term tenants and community representatives to purchase the building at 24 Swan Street — which is the home of the accomplished JLD School of Dance as well several other local businesses — after Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council decided to sell it in September 2021.
Step Up For Swan Street was KPAYC’s flagship fundraising event, and the group is hopeful that the festival raised enough money to help it secure the future of the building.
KPAYC trustee and JLD owner Hayley Crunden said: “It went really well. It was a fantastic event.”
“With the limited time we had to organise and promote [the event], we were really pleased with the turnout.”
The day, which was blessed with superb sunny weather, started with a performance of traditional Russian music by the Imperial Balalaika Orchestra of Overton which set the communal tone of the day.
Both JLD and Kingsclere Performing Arts College performed, and Ms Crunden taught the crowd a dance to get everyone up and moving.
The Hampshire-based Red Robin Ceilidh Band then continued this dancing trend, leading the entire crowd in a “fantastic” barn dance.
Getting on into the evening, five-piece covers band Fortunate Ones delivered a set of rock classics, and Londoner Areola Grande Latte ended the night with a dance DJ set.
The wellness tent had a group of therapy ponies which were a big hit with all those who attended.
There was also a silent fundraising auction that went on throughout the day, and a live leaderboard of incoming bids kept the buyers competitive.
Ms Crunden also described the ring of trees up on White Hill where the festival took place — a location kindly provided by Park House Stables — as “something special”.
KPAYC hopes it can make the event into an annual affair after such a successful first outing so they can continue to raise funds in order to purchase, renovate and maintain the building at 24 Swan Street.