Sleaford Light Night
Labyrinth - The Sleaford Festival 2007

On Sunday 16th September 2007 the streets of Sleaford were transformed into a magical and mysterious Labyrinth of light and sound with a river of richly coloured lanterns and curious creatures. As the light began to fade a magical festival procession wound its way through the town with the newly created Sleaford Minotaur emerging from its beautiful egg. We saw the creature develop from embryo to beautiful beast in the course of the procession with celebratory flags, banners and exhilarating music.

Sue Crabtree - Festival Co-Director

Sue came to the newly created Sleaford Festival in 2007 from a 15 year sojourn as Director of Nottinghamshire Next Stage - a participatory arts provision taking creative opportunities and events in to the heart of Nottinghamshire communities The Magic the ensues from professional artists and performers working together with communities to create a piece of art for an event which is truly their own, is a source of ongoing wonder and amazement which has attracted Sue to this exciting new possibility in Sleaford. To be Co-Director of this Festival alongside Christine Hayward could prove to be as enduring and successful a double act as Morecambe and Wise - here's hoping!

Christine Hayward - Festival Co-Director

Christine has been lucky enough to have worked in the arts for over 20 years in a variety of very stimulating, demanding, but never boring roles, since leaving Loughborough School of Art and Design. This eventually led her to work at Nottingham Playhouse in areas as diverse as Deputy Corporate Services Manager (being the person in the organisation with the longest title) through to Community Outreach Officer. Theatre has always been a passion of hers but after an extensive period of working exclusively within it the time was right to move on to new challenges. Christine now delights in creating festivals and events which capture imaginations, excite participants and live long in the memory, events aimed at the whole family with both local, national and international flavours. Sleaford Arts Festival is the next exciting challenge for her.


knitted shed

Life-sized knitted shed part of sleaford arts festival - labyrinth

A life-sized knitted shed complete with woolly window boxes, knitted creepy crawlies, sun flowers, hanging baskets and a watering can. The knitted shed formed the centre piece of the 2007s I Love West Leeds Festival held on Sunday 8th July. The shed was the ‘showcase’ of a Guerrilla knits project in west Leeds which attracted support from knitting enthusiasts across the country.

There was over 100 knitting fans, aged 5 to 90 from as far afield as Hull, Huddersfield, the Dales and even Maidenhead in Kent involved in the project under the guidance of artist Liz Noble who is a dab hand at producing such delicacies as knitted wedding cakes and even knitted biscuits. Liz worked with local community groups and schools in West Leeds to produce the shed, which comes complete with knitted hinges, doormat and plant pots.

One of the aims of the project is to encourage the older generation to spread their knitting know-how to younger people in the community. Liz has encouraged participation from individuals, community groups, older people’s groups and schools to knit small items and patchwork squares. The inside of the shed consists of hundreds of brightly coloured knitted squares, each of which represents the age of the person who knitted it. Contributors cast on the same number of stitches as their age, so the older you were the bigger the square!

“The project has not only revived a traditional skill but has encouraged dialogue between intergenerational groups and provided an activity that families can do together” said Jane Earnshaw, I Love West Leeds Festival Co – ordinator. “We hope it will also kick-start new knitting groups to continue after the festival.”


The World Famous ended Sleaford Arts Festival with a bang!

The finale was truly explosive with help from the internationally acclaimed pyrotechnic experts The World Famous. The company has a passion for playing with fire and create fabulous firework displays across the world.

The company has worked on many festivals around the globe from Sydney to Brighton. As well as a fantastic firework display they will also being setting on fire the sculptural creatures that were part of the procession. 

View for more details about the company.


Dream Engine's Heliosphere took Sleaford Arts Festival to new heights 

At the end of the procession, around Sleaford, the gathered crowds were amazed by Dream Engine's gravity defying act Heliosphere. The Heliosphere is a giant colour changing helium balloon with an acrobat suspended beneath. The acrobat will spiral and spin over the heads of the audience.

For more information about the Heliosphere please visit

As well as a whole host of local young people performing there was music provided by the amazing Brasshoppers. This talented brass band describe themselves as a brass blast of New Orleans Mardi Gras, Rio Carnival and Spanish Fiesta. The band performed during the day and lead the procession, creating a real carnival atmosphere.


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