“Ashford Festival in The Park came to be after a group of friends connected by their love of live performance, namely Debbie Dawson, Vernon Seager, Mick Hubert and myself (Edward Lockett, soon to become Friendly Guv) followed up on a successful live performance event we staged to raise funds for the appeal following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. Through the generosity of local businesses and donations from the people of Ashford and surrounding boroughs we managed to raise a staggering £6,000.
Elated as we were by our success and encouraged by the ease in which this all came together we decided that that we would stage a festival every year, easy peasey….’lemon squeezy@ eh?…..(NOPE)
As a group we set about formulating core values and goals based on certain criteria which were;
- That the festival would provide family based live performance and entertainment
- Entry would always be free
- We would treat everybody as ‘friends’
- It would be organised by volunteers
- Acts would perform for free
These principles have survived and indeed thrived which is very refreshing, but not at all unusual within our live music family.
Ashford Festival in The Park was born!
It is now celebrating its 14th birthday, is an established event in the Kent calendar and over the years has brought together several organisations , individuals and groups who all share a passion to help in its continued success. Along our dedicated journey we have fulfilled our goal by providing the opportunity for artistes to showcase their talents and every year the offers to perform flood in from both amateaur and professional groups which far exceed the time slots available.
Above everything, Ashford Festival in The Park is essentially a weekend of family entertainment organised by Ashford people for the enjoyment of everyone without prejudice. Over the years people have come and gone, but most of the original organisers (the grafters and haggard looking ones) continue in their posts and new younger members offering to help is in the future tells us we are getting it right and is a sign that the best of Ashford Festival in The Park, are yet to come.
We take immense pride that the festival has maintained its independence, keeping it defining principles set out at the beginning and from which we stand up to be judged. These along with hard work have been the foundation of our longevity and continued success”
Friendly Guv (March 2018)