Derby Festé is such a special weekend to be in Derby

We caught up with Heather Gunn, marketing manager at Déda, to ask her a few questions about why she loves Derby Festé, read what she had to say:

“Derby Festé is such a special weekend to be in Derby; with a world-class programme that transports audiences to all four corners of the globe – and sometimes even further!

“Festé always has a packed schedule of acts to delight, inspire and entertain all ages – the perfect escape from the everyday, and a great way to celebrate the arts in all its forms. From small-scale, intimate performances, to mind-boggling circus work (at dizzying heights) – we’re incredibly lucky to have the very best of local, national and international street arts squished into two unforgettable days.

“Festé is a year-round project for us at Déda, as the role of artistic lead means we’re always on the lookout for the most exciting, endearing and breath-taking work to bring to Derby year on year. In the run up to Festé, it is sometimes hard to imagine the sheer scale and the buzz around the city – but when it arrives, it’s undeniably electric.  It makes me really proud to work in the city, and live in a region that has such a wealth of amazing talent; supporting local and grassroots artists alongside huge international names.”

What you are looking forward to the most at this year’s event?

“I’m particularly excited about Cie Artoinik’s ‘The Colour of Time’, followed by the mass Garba dance on Saturday night – I love seeing people from all walks of life come together to enjoy themselves, and have a really great time! It’s an incredible opportunity to celebrate 70 years of Indian independence, enjoying the vibrancy of other cultures and showcasing the beautiful diversity of the city.

“Look out for artists who have been developing new work with the support of Déda’s Outdoor Arts Development Programme, OffSite, too! Déda favourites Maison Foo will be showcasing a brand new piece, developed in partnership with break dancers, boys and parkour professionals. I’ve had a sneak peek and it’s a really exciting project, told from a new parent’s perspective!”

What, in your opinion, does Derby Festé bring to the city?

“Festé brings together scale, spectacle, storytelling and spirit in a way that is truly unique. Derby’s cultural organisations strive to programme the highest quality work year round but Festé allows everyone to dream really (really) big and we’re able to present work that defies the constraints of walls and floors and seating blocks.

“Derby’s city landscape lends itself so well to performance, with great spaces like Cathedral Green and Bass’ Recreation Ground hosting everything from pyromaniac drummers to zombie jazz musicians.

“Outdoor performances, and festivals in particular, have a wonderful way of attracting audiences who may not normally engage with the arts – who might accidentally happen upon a fire breathing dragon or astronaut whilst they’re grabbing a coffee in town with a friend – and once that appetite has been whet, there’s no end to the amazing activities on offer in this city! Our upcoming season will keep the Festé buzz going right through until Christmas and beyond, with the very best of dance, contemporary circus and family work and we’re always eager to meet new faces, fresh from Festé.

“The festival is only made possible through the strong partnership working of all of the organisations involved and it’s a real collaborative effort to transform the city into one big stage – ensuring everything runs to schedule, and audiences have the very best possible experience. Festé has really put Derby on the map, and continued support is key to the future success of this wonderful event.”

Do you have any outstanding or memorable moments from Derby Feste?

“I will always, always remember the first time I saw Company Chameleon’s duet ‘Push’ (in 2013). It was such a powerful, touching piece that I hardly realised I had tears streaming down my face – stood in the middle of the market place! You could have heard a pin drop. Whilst Festé is definitely about sparkle, spectacle and wow factor – the reflective and quieter pieces ensure all tastes are catered for and all art forms are represented.  Company Chameleon are so versatile and I love seeing their pieces transform so beautifully indoors and out.”