New theme and extra location for Art in the Park Festival in Leamington this summer

Festival director Kate Livingston said the theme of ‘connection’ highlighted the importance of re-connecting the town particularly for those involved in the creative sector

Art in the Park Festival director Kate Livingston (left) with Stephanie Green from AC Lloyd.

Warwickshire’s largest free outdoor arts festival is returning to Leamington with a new location and new theme for 2021.

Art in the Park showcased the varied work of artists online last year during the pandemic but the organisers have been working hard behind the scenes for its return this year on Saturday, August 7 and Sunday, August 8 between 10am and 6pm.

With the backing of headline sponsors Warwick-based property development company AC Lloyd Homes, the popular event will be based in Mill Gardens as well as Jephson Gardens for the first time.

Festival director Kate Livingston said the theme of ‘connection’ highlighted the importance of re-connecting the town particularly for those involved in the creative sector.

“We want to inspire everyone who attends whether that is through musical performances, dance or art and we want to encourage people to be more creative especially this year with mental health and loneliness affecting many during Covid-19,” she said.

“We really want to connect residents with creative people to see the benefits it can give.

“We have changed the lay-out of the festival to make it Covid safe and breathable so there is more space between the stalls to enjoy everything on offer.

“For the first time, we’re moving into Mill Gardens near the boat centre which is a gorgeous open lush space.

“We will be in Jephson Gardens as well so we will have the river in between and all our artists’ performances and workshops will be socially distanced and everything that happens in Jephson Gardens will happen in Mill Gardens whether that is the food and drink stage or the different workshops.

“This year more than ever the support of our sponsors is so important and we are very grateful for AC Lloyd continuing their headline sponsorship.”

Stephanie Green, sales and marketing manager at AC Lloyd Homes, said Art in the Park attracted a high percentage of residents which highlights its importance to the town.

She said: “Art in the Park is a great opportunity for people to go along to watch music, dance and theatre, take part in workshops or sample the best food and drink in the region.

“It is a community-focused event which mirrors our company ethos and our staff are always happy to play our part in making the event a fantastic success.

“We are particularly keen to be involved in the sensory chill-out area at the riverside in between Jephson Gardens and Mill Gardens where there will be poetry readings and a chance to relax and chat with friends and family as well as explore how mental health can be improved by art.

“More than ever this year due to Covid-19, this is an opportunity to come together outdoors in a socially distanced way to soak up the atmosphere and feel connected with each other as well as giving a platform to incredibly talented artists.”