Home-grown talent for Melbourne Festival

sharon brown melbourne festival croppedThe Made In Derbyshire 2015 campaign has so inspired the director of the Melbourne Festival Sharon Brown that it has been adopted as a theme for this September’s event.

“We normally have a good number of Derbyshire artists on the art trail but this year we have given more thought to this and we are delighted that there will be 50 from the county taking part that weekend,” explained Sharon.

Twelve of those artists will be together in the town’s Assembly Rooms and there will be details of where on the trail the others are at that main hub.

“The Melbourne Festival has always celebrated Midlands artists but having been involved in the Made In Derbyshire project via the county’s Festivities committee I felt it was something we should do this year.

“It just seemed as if it was a really good opportunity to showcase the work of Derbyshire artists.”

The Made In Derbyshire campaign also celebrates the county’s food artisans so it seemed fitting that Sharon and I should meet for our lunch at Jack’s of Melbourne.

The coffee shop uses as much local produce as it can and the food is all freshly made. Whenever I go there it is always busy and there is a delightful outside seating area perfect for the summer.

Sharon chose a chicken, bacon and avocado salad from the specials board which was just £6.50 and my lunch was an exceptionally good deli platter for just £7.50.

You can find out more about their great value menu and opening times at jacksofmelbourne.co.uk

Not only our artists will be involved in the festival which runs for a month from September 3 to October 4, as there are also a variety of performers lined-up to entertain visitors.

Among them are classical guitarist James Rippingale, Melbourne’s own A Choir’d Taste and Cast Ensemble a Youth Theatre Group from Chellaston.

There will also be a Cushion Concert of classics for children with the Melbourne Town Band and Midlands Music and a festival Fairy Tale Trail put together with the help of local businesses.

Sharon first got involved with the festival, now in its 11th year, when her children started school.Her organisational talents were quickly spotted by the team and she progressed to taking on the organising of the Art Trail and then eventually became director.

She takes responsibility for finding businesses to sponsor the festival and organising other events during the year to help fund the cost of bringing the artists and performers to the village for the main event.

“It costs about £20,000 to stage the festival and while we do have some funding we need to make sure we are as self sufficient as possible.

“We are very fortunate to have support from many people who  have come to realise that the event which brings in 5,000 visitors each year is good for the village at the same time as being a showcase for artists and performers.”

For more details about the festival go to http://www.melbournefestival.co.uk