Balsall Common Festival organisers are taking the event up another notch in 2015, with plans for a full weekend event in September with more entertainment, music and activities than ever before.
Whilst precise dates are yet to be confirmed – the third weekend in September has been pencilled in (Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th September 2015) – with plans afoot for a ‘Fun Run Sunday’ that allows all areas of the Festival to grow.
“This year’s ‘Big Idea’ is to turn our Festival into a “Holiday at Home” for families, by holding the event across an entire weekend, with the Fun Run moving to a Sunday.” says Festival Chairman Craig Burgess.
“Following last year’s success we’re looking to expand the Fun Run and ‘Balsall’s Got the Voice’ competitions, with the ‘Voice’ qualifiers commencing earlier, maybe as early as late March to mid-April.”
“Last year’s Festival attracted 4000 visitors across two sites, with nearly 500 Fun Runners for the senior runs, so the new plans allow more people to be involved with both parts of the event, and paves the way for further growth.”
All of which means recruiting more volunteers for 2015, as Craig explains:
“To help us achieve our overall aims we’re on the lookout for organisers and potential sponsors interested in joining our team and helping us take our event to the next level. We’re drawing up new sponsorship deals to reflect our growing presence and have already attracted new talent to our Committee over the winter, but to achieve further growth there’s an array of roles old and new, ready to be filled.”
“Our motto “By the community for the community” remains to the fore in 2015, with our primary focus on creating an inclusive event that’s participative and fun for all ages. If we make a surplus, we’ll distribute that to local causes too, something we’ve done successfully in previous years.”
Anyone interested in getting involved is invited to email Craig:
2015 – A Bigger Fun Run
Balsall Common’s inaugural Fun Run brought the local population out in force in 2014, either as runners or spectators, as nearly 500 runners pounded the streets to make a small piece of local history.
Race organisers at The Lily Mae Foundation will expand the 2015 Fun Run by moving the operation, including Mini Fun Runs, in line with other Fun Run events. The plan is to increase the number of entries and remove some of last year’s entry restrictions. The route is expected to be unchanged in 2015, with start/finish lines at The Heart of England School, subject to Council approval. It’s also hoped to allow a wider range of interesting entries, such as allowing parents to complete the race course with children in buggies.
The Fun Run organisation will set out with a specific aim of raising money for The Lily Mae Foundation. The Balsall Common based charity supports bereaved parents following the loss of infants to stillbirth and neo natal death. As with last year’s event, runners will have the option of entering and running for The Lily Mae Foundation, or other cause of their own choosing.
Anyone interested in helping stage this year’s Fun Run is invited to contact the Lily Mae Foundation.
Email: info @ lilymaefoundation.org <==remove spaces to send email Mobile: 07960 904902
Balsall’s Got the Voice
In addition to opening the Fun Run to more entrants, there’s plans to do the same with Balsall’s Got the Voice, the music talent search that captured the community’s imagination in 2014, for the quality of competition as much as it’s impressive top prize.
Brumbeat Music Ltd put up a recording contract offer as first prize last year, with a contract also later awarded to second placed Jack Burley.
“Brumbeat Music were really impressed with the standard of competition in 2014 – they must have been they signed the guy who came second! And we’re in discussions about putting another deal on the table for our overall winner in 2015.” said Craig Burgess:
Balsall’s Got the Voice – expansion plans!
Balsall’s Got the Voice was launched in August 2014, with Finals played out at The Lant on Festival Day in September. The plan is to start the competition earlier and open it to as many local artists as possible. Last year’s youngest entrant – Dylan Baldwin – was 9 years old. Organisers hope to see more youngsters and wider range of age groups competing in 2015.
Party in the Park Director Carl Hemming picks up the Voice story:
“The majority of our contestants were in their teens or early twenties in 2014. We’d definitely like to see more entries this year. As part of this effort we’re keen to get local schools more involved in the competition this year, but also to reach out more to older age groups. Our mission is to uncover as much local talent as possible.”
That said the 2014 competition – which relied almost entirely on social media, alongside competition host Yaz Zahran’s determination to sign-up competitors in 2014 – unearthed a bigger crop of talent than Festival organisers had been expecting:
“Last year’s Voice competition surprised everybody, ” says Festival Chairman Craig Burgess.
“At least three of last year’s competitors are doing bigger and better things already: writing, recording, producing, and appearing on radio shows. Jack Burley who came second was signed by our sponsors Brumbeat Music Ltd. He’s already performed at The Jam House in Birmingham and been in the studio recording an EP. Then there’s Paris Georgia and rapper Tom Wynne, both of whom have been busy writing and recording new material, with Paris enjoying airtime on BBC Radio. The difference this year is we know there’s bucket loads of talent out there. We just need to get the word out and for the talent to throw their names in the ring and show up!”
Balsall’s Got the Voice – 2014 Winner Heather Foster
16 year old Heather Foster’s face was a picture when she learned she’d won Balsall’s Got the Voice in 2014. The singer songwriter performed her own original song for her winner’s performance from the Main Stage.
Voice finalist – Paris Georgia (aka Tredell)
Former Heart of England pupil Paris Tredell (best known on the music scene these days as Paris Georgia) wowed audiences through qualifying and Finals Day and has since recored original material that’s won her airtime on BBC Radio. Paris has been writing and recording and is planning to release an EP this summer.
Here we share her cover of SIA’s ‘Chandelier’:
Voice Finalist – Rapper Wynneston (Tom Wynne)
Rapper and former Heart of England School pupil Tom Wynne (aka Wynneston), claimed a Top 4 Spot on Finals day and has since made some of his best work permanent in the recording studio. Discover ‘Impact’, one of two original pieces he performed on Festival Finals Day. Tom is writing more new material and has soon-to-be-released material in the pipeline having been in the recording studio once again.
2015 Balsall Common Festival sponsorship opportunities
The Balsall Common Festival Management Committee is already working on a new range of multi-media partnership deals for 2015. Anyone interested in helping bring Balsall Common’s biggest party to life, in exchange for some great publicity, is invited to start the conversation with an email to Festival Chairman Craig Burgess:
Email: craig.burgess.emails @ gmail.com <== Note: anti-spam measure requires you to remove spaces before sending. The Committee is also interested in hearing from potential project planners, stall co-ordinators, or general volunteers. To find out more you can start the conversation with an email to Craig Burgess: Email: craig.burgess.emails @ gmail.com <== Note: anti-spam measure requires you to remove spaces before sending. Anyone interested in helping stage Balsall Common's 2nd Fun Run, is invited to contact The Lily Mae Foundation on 07960 904902, or with an email to: info @ lilymaefoundation.org <== Note: remove spaces before sending
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Contact the Festival Chairman – Craig Burgess
Email: craig.burgess.emails @ gmail.com