Play to the Crowd, the arts and education charity that runs Hat Fair, has announced that Hat Fair 2023 will go ahead this summer, albeit in a smaller way.
The charity learnt in November that it would no longer be funded by Arts Council England (ACE) as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO), despite a glowing assessment of its application.
This yearly grant was a key part of the funding mix of the world renowned outdoor arts festival. Since receiving the news from ACE, Play to the Crowd has been looking for alternative sources of funding and have been successful in their application for the ACE’s transition funding, which was available to organisations leaving the NPO.
This allowed the charity to honour some costs already committed for this year’s festival and fundraising support to pivot to a new model for future festivals.
The charity was also successful in their applications for a National Lottery Project Grant and to Hampshire County Council’s Leaders Fund.
Together with support from Without Walls, Culture Ireland, University of Winchester and Winchester City Council and the Shared Prosperity Fund, the charity has raised enough for this year’s festival to go ahead.
Due to the reduced funding, the festival will take place over two days – on Friday 30 June and Saturday 1 July, and there will be no Hat Fair performances on Sunday.
This decision allows the Hat Fair Carnival – a culmination of a 9 month long project which features hundreds of school children and community groups from around Hampshire – to go ahead as planned on the Friday to open the festival.
The Hat Fair festival site will also be smaller than in previous years focusing around the High Street, The Square, Cathedral Grounds, Abbey Gardens and at the back of the Bus Station in Busket Yard.
Hat Fair is the UK’s longest running outdoor arts festival, and attracts audiences of up to 90,000 to Winchester every year.
The family-friendly festival features street performance and outdoor arts from around the world, as well as providing a platform for local and community artists.
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