First ever village festival is running in Graffham


It started with the idea for an open art trail and now launches as a fully-fledged festival.

Graffham’s first arts festival runs until July 27, promising a week of celebration, both 
of local talent and of life in the community.

Graffham and its surrounding countryside have long been an inspiration to artists. Victorian naturalist painter HH La Thangue lived there from 1898 to 1926, painting scenes from Sussex rural life.

Ivon Hitchens, one of the London Group, moved from London during the second world war to live in woodlands at East Lavington where he too painted mostly outdoors.

Many other artists have been drawn to the area – something the new festival picks up on.

Spokesman Richard Davidson said he had earlier taken part in the Chichester art trail, but discovered people from the Chichester area just weren’t prepared to go over the Downs to visit him: “It’s a very natural barrier, so some of us were talking and thought we’d get together an art trail here.”

Other elements were soon added: “I spoke to Richard Bailey, the church organist, and he is doing an organ concert with one of his pupils. He is organising another concert as well, and from that first idea, we have had other ideas coming up.

“Whether there will be another festival next year depends on how this one goes, what we achieve from the effort we have put in, how many people come along.”