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Wednesday 15 February 2017

Road and rail heritage events to get new cultural twist


Transport and engineering festivals in Crewe and Sandbach will feature a new roaming arts festival this year known as SpareParts: On the Move, thanks to a tie up with a similar event in Lancashire.

Cheshire East Council has entered into a partnership with several organisations under the umbrella of the Arts Council England’s ‘strategic touring fund’ programme, allowing the two festivals in Cheshire East to link up with the Fleetwood Festival of Transport on the Fylde.

A £100,000 grant from the arts council will enable SpareParts: On the Move to take their unique carnival of transport and motion on the road to Sandbach and Crewe later this year. 

Cheshire East has a policy to deliver quality performing arts events across the borough and the council’s financial backing and expertise within its cultural economy service has helped to secure the grant and a position within a wider arts programme.

All three organisations, Fleetwood Festival of Transport, the Sandbach Transport Festival and’ TrAction’ in Crewe, will work together to produce and deliver an exciting programme of outdoor performing arts themed around transport and transport heritage.

It will be a pilot project, which aims to continue a partnership approach and develop a touring network of transport festivals.

The Fleetwood Festival of Transport attracts some 60,000 people to the coastal town and it is hoped the three-way tie up will boost audiences in Crewe and Sandbach too through a parade and display of colourful and whacky live street performances bringing together mayhem, motion and fun, say the organisers.

Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for arts and culture, said: “This exciting pilot project has been delivered by the council’s cultural economy team and will help to boost the two transport and science/engineering festivals that are established events in the borough’s calendar of cultural attractions.

“We hope it becomes a great success and a regular feature of the two festivals in Sandbach and Crewe.

“I would like to thank SpareParts and the Fylde coast arts and cultural programme LeftCoast for bringing this very colourful and entertaining transport carnival to Cheshire East. We are all looking forward to joining in the fun.”

The Sandbach Transport Festival takes place over two days starting on April 22 and celebrates the great truck-building heritage of the town where Foden and ERF were big employers with a family history dating back 150 years.

TrAction in Crewe, which takes place on July 8/9, celebrates the town’s great railway heritage alongside technology, science and engineering and has always proved to be a big hit with families.

Elsie Alcock, from the Sandbach Transport Festival, now in its 27th year, said: “We are delighted to be working with ‘SpareParts’ and grateful for Arts Council funding and the role played by Cheshire East Council, to bring an exciting arts programme to the festival.

“The partnership with TrAction Crewe and Fleetwood Festival of Transport will enable us to learn together and bring this new arts aspect to our events.”

Pam Minshall, chair of the Crewe community and environment committee, said: “We are delighted that TrAction Crewe will this year be part of 'On the Move'. This will add an exciting programme of art, performance and spectacle to our transport weekend and we look forward to working with Spare Parts to ensure a wonderful two days of entertainment and interest for our town.”

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