BAFA Honour For FROME FESTIVAL Creative Director

The Frome Festival is celebrating national recognition following the election of its Creative Director, Martin Dimery, to the Executive Board of the British Arts and Science Festivals Association, at their recent annual conference. The Association (BAFA) represents, serves and supports nearly 100 arts festivals throughout the UK. These include most of the country’s best known and long established festivals such asEdinburgh,Brighton, Buxton and the BBC Proms.

Dr. Bob Morris, Chairman of the Frome Festival, was approached to nominate a representative, following its recommendation by the prestigious Canterbury Festival. Only nine arts organisations are represented on the BAFA Executive. Dr. Morris was keen to put forward Martin Dimery, who is now in his eighth year as Director:

“This is an enormous vote of confidence” said Dr. Morris,  “not only in Martin personally, who has brilliantly organised seven Frome Festivals but also in the outcome of all his inspired and inspiring work, which BAFA has described as “a fantastic example of a largely volunteer-run operation which has achieved considerable scale and success.”

The Festival will celebrate its fifteenth year in 2015. In a recent report to the Frome Town Council, Dr. Morris reiterated that despite being described by consultants as “unsustainable” it has survived and flourished regardless of funding cuts from County and District Councils. A recent survey indicated that most town arts festivals fail to last more than three years. Martin Dimery put the survival of the Frome Festival down to the following:

“Frome is an amazingly creative community. More and more performers, writers and artists seem to be moving to the town, and much of our programme is inspired or promoted by many of these individuals. Before the Frome Festival however, the town was establishing itself as an important regional centre for the arts. In the 1970’s the Merlin Theatre opened at Frome College, creating a great public space for touring theatre and concerts, as well as an inspiring resource for students and local drama groups. Then in the 80’s and 90’s we saw the development of the Black Swan Gallery; the saving of the Memorial Theatre by a voluntary group of trustees, and the foundation of the ECOS Amphitheatre next to the Merlin, with its subsequent festivals. The Cheese and Grain hall was then restored by a town council determined to regenerate the Market Place, and Rook Lane Chapel was finally re-opened as a gallery and performance space. Frome was crying out for a festival that would capitalise on all these great facilities. Since the Festival began, we have seen the addition of privately owned spaces for the arts like the Silk Mill and Cooper Hall, which makes Frome the envy of communities ten times the size. Yet, all of these venues, like the Frome Festival,  rely to a large extent on voluntary support. I think Frome is a role model of good practice in the arts despite very limited funding. It is that unique experience I will be taking with me to BAFA meetings and conferences in the future.”

Plans are now under way for the 2015 Frome Festival which will run from Friday 3rd July to Saturday 12th July.


A WELCOME to everyone who enjoys the Frome Festival to come to: THE THREE SWANS, KING ST.on WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 29th at 19.00 (7.00pm). Come and join us for an evening of music from the Fabulous Frukes, a glass of chilled wine and a chat about the festival with Artistic Director Martin Dimery & join in  lively Q&A’s about ‘what next’ as we start to turn The Festival Friends into THE FESTIVAL FIVE HUNDRED. Stand up and be counted.

Treasure Hunt 2014 Answers

And the answers that you patiently been awaiting for the 2014 Festival Treasure Hunt are:
 1. I am part of a sandwich made of what? Answer …. Cheese & Grain

2. Does this give you the baby blues?  If so how many on the other side? Answer ….. 3

 3. Date please. Answer ….. 2009

4. Where would you get your teeth into this? Answer ….. Waterloo…

5. What is the closest number to this? Answer ….. 44

6. If and when in use what is on the other side of this? Answer ….. Overgrown wooden arch

7. What must you not do with this? Answer ….. Leave the gate open

8. Which minster? Answer ….. York

9. Who is the head? Answer ….. Naomi Pauley

10. Is this the reception of a marriage between an eagle and a lion? Only legendary. Answer ….. Griffin

11. Could you buy some beans and wine here? Answer ….. Upsalls

12. How close are the camels? Answer ….. Within 60 yards

13. How many of these? Answer …..  3

14. This should be black and white, but initially what does this and its partner stand for? Answer ….. Supply Valve

15. Number please. Answer ….. 48

 Retrace your steps …..past No.7.  The only time on the hunt you will do this.
 16. Date please,  hardly a walkover. Answer ….. 1888

17. In which street is the window through which this has been taken? Have a cup of coffee while you work it out. Answer ….. Whittox Lane

18. Patrick and You might have played soccer for the Netherlands, but who is too mixed up to do the same? Answer ….. Mary Kilvert

19. What was made under this? Answer ….. Cardboard

20. There are four small ones and one large one outside which number ? Answer ….. 6

21. At what address will you find this part of the whole? Answer ….. 13 Sheppards Barton

22. What was the building where this and its companions pointed skywards? Answer ….. Old Baptist Chapel

23. What is engineered under these? Answer ….. Sandwichs.

24. What are we told not to do under these? Answer ….. Forget

25. What does the author of these clues feed here? Answer ….. Cattle Pigs and Poultry

26. I am a large version of what every day form of fastening? Answer ….. Hasp and Staple

27. You will probably not see the cat at this number? Answer ….. 11

28. Who did one a day replace? Answer ….. Faulkners

29. What would you clean here? Answer ….. Shoes or Boots

30. What letter is above this? Answer ….. I

31. Can you see us? Answer ….. Boots

32. Did Botticelli’s Venus come out of her shell here? Answer ….. TSB Bank

Hope you enjoyed taking part, we know it was a difficult one. We’ll probably be taking a Treasure Hunt break in 2015 but hoping to come back with a fresh set of clues in 2016.

Short Story Competition Winners

Best-selling author Lesley Pearse presented the prizes to the winners of Frome Festival’s eleventh annual short story competition in Frome Library on Sunday 13th July, when the winners were announced by organiser Brenda Bannister.
Around 450 entries had been received, some from all over the world, but the first prize was awarded to Kerry Hood of Bristol with ‘The Disappearance of Sailor Street’, a story in which a one hundred year old woman, about to be evicted from her home by developers, recalls her life - a wonderful character with a  strong, individual ’voice’. Second prize went to Joy Clews of Lincolnshire and third prize to Christine MacFarlane of Rudge. Stories by John Langan (Surrey), Sophie Sellars (Herts), Ethan Chapman (Glastonbury) and Ssmita Bhattacharya (Devon) were all highly commended. Local awards were also made to Kerry Hood, Christine MacFarlane, Ethan Chapman and David Mathews (Bath).
Kerry, Joy, Christine, Ethan, John and Sophie were all in attendance and the prize-winners received their cheques from Lesley Pearse.
Lesley explained that she had begun writing in her thirties. He mother died when she was a three and her childhood was frequently disrupted; as a girl she had a reputation as a colourful liar, which she thought had been a good training for a fiction writer! It was only when advised to ‘write what you know’ and she began to draw on her colourful working life that her first novel Georgia was accepted. She attributes her success and her large output (22 novels) to sheer persistence – getting up in the middle of the night and spending hours writing.
Two of the winning stories were read at the prize-giving before the winners and guests adjourned to Divas café for an informal buffet.
Frome FM will be broadcasting some of the competition entries over the next few months and the 2015 contest will open on January 1st next year.

Festival President Wins Mendip Area 2014 Somerset Volunteer Star Award

Martin Bax was the winner in the Mendip area of the 2014 Somerset volunteer Star award.

The first Somerset volunteer ‘Star’ award took place at County Hall on Thursday, July 17.  Cllr William Wallace, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, made the presentation.

To coincide with National Volunteer week Somerset County Council decided to celebrate volunteering in Somerset. The event was organised by the Somerset ‘You Can Do’ team on behalf of the Somerset ‘Celebrating Support’ group. They invited people to nominate volunteers in their area and a winning nominee from each of the districts was picked at random By Cll Wallace. The lucky winner from the Mendip District was Martin Bax.

Martin Bax was a Town and District councillor and a former Mayor of Frome. Martin is the President of the Frome Festival which he founded in 2001 and was the Director for the first seven years of its existence. He was a founding trustee of Rook Lane Arts Trust and is currently its Chairman. Over the years he has been involved in various organised fundraising events for local charities and organisations.

Martin Said “When I first heard that I had been nominated for this award, I was completely taken- a-back. My first reaction was that there must be more deserving people in the caring sector. However, the organisers informed me that one of the objects of the award was to highlight the wide variety of volunteering work that is done in Somerset. I am also pleased this award will highlight the good work done by so many volunteers in Frome. I like to think I am accepting this award on their behalf.”

Speaking at the award ceremony, Cllr Wallace praised volunteers for their efforts: “It is fantastic that we can recognise just a few of our dedicated volunteers here today. These individuals can be extremely proud of the selfless work they undertake in our county.
Volunteers are unsung heroes that do so much without asking for anything in return and I would personally like to thank all volunteers in Somerset for their work

Bryan Mitchell, Manager of the Somerset ‘You Can Do’ team said: “It’s been a fantastic privilege to have coordinated Somerset Celebrating Volunteering and particularly the Somerset Star Volunteer awards. To have over 150 nominations in the first year has been amazing and shows how much people in Somerset value volunteers. I am looking forward to next year and the chance to meet even more Somerset Star Volunteers.”

The prizewinners will each have a star named after them, an imaginative and memorable way of commemorating their achievements. To find out more about the awards and the winners see


Seann Walsh Cancelled

It is with great disappointment that the festival announces the cancellation of Seann Walsh at the Merlin this evening due to illness. Refunds will be made from point of purchase. We will try to re schedule the event at a future date.