‘There is so much for us to look forward to’
ANTICIPATION is building about the exciting events due to take place in Wells in the coming months.
If lockdown restrictions continue to be eased as planned, and life returns to something closer to normality, there will be more reason than ever to celebrate and enjoy events such as the literature, theatre and food festivals, the Moat Boat Races and the arrival of the Sir Antony Gormley statue to coincide with Wells Art Contemporary.
“Wells can look forward to a calendar of events to be proud of,” said Judith Ludovino from the Wells Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.
“We are so lucky to have enthusiastic volunteers with passion and vision for Wells – their generous contributions in making things happen are some of the key things that make our little city such a vibrant place to live or visit.
“The very real boost that these events bring to the economy is recognised by the Wells Chamber of Commerce and Tourism as being key to our post-lockdown recovery.”
Several of the events are being organised by Project Factory CIC, including the Community Bunting Project that kicks things off in May, and a Community Day Big Picnic on July 24.
Emma Lefevre, one of the Project Factory directors, said: “I think what people want to do is celebrate. There is a lot to look forward to.”
The Community Day will encompass events at The Bishop’s Palace, the Cathedral and Cathedral Green, with plans for a fete, music and street performers.
The City of Wells Lions are hopeful that the Moat Boat Races will be back on August Bank Holiday Monday. Lions president Rod Major said: “Everybody involved is desperate to do it. Unless Covid restrictions inhibit us from doing it then we will do it. We’re all excited about it.”
Wells Food Festival had to be a virtual affair last year, but organisers are increasingly confident that the real thing will be back in Wells on October 10.
“It’s looking good for a physical festival this year,” said festival director Jon Abbott.
“We will try and do what we can within any restrictions at the time. As we come out of lockdown, it’s looking exciting for events in Wells.”
Charlie Bigham’s will once again be the food festival’s headline sponsor, and Charlie Bigham said: “Our Bigham’s Quarry Kitchen makes us proud members of the Wells community, we are thrilled to continue our relationship as the headline sponsor of the Wells Food Festival this year.
“We’re really looking forward to having the event in person once again, where people can come and discover some amazing local artisan food producers, and join us in supporting them.”
Food will also be the focus of Heritage Open Days, going ahead this year between September 10 and 19 with a range of events at locations across the city.
The national theme Edible England will offer the opportunity to explore the role of food in local culture and throughout the history of the city, in the institutions and the buildings.
Increasing numbers of visitors are expected to be drawn to Wells as the year unfolds.
A spokesperson for Visit Wells said: “We’ve seen a large increase of interest in recent weeks from people looking to book a holiday to the Wells area. Visitors see Somerset as a safe and spacious region to visit, and Wells in particular as a destination which offers the perfect mix of heritage, events, activities, independent shopping and quirky accommodation.
“Attractions and accommodation have reported selling out of tickets and rooms faster than ever before, so the appetite to make the most of the tourist season is evident, and we’re all looking forward to a fabulous summer for Wells.”
Wells City Council’s Town Clerk Steve Luck said that the months ahead hold plenty of promise.
“We look forward to visitors returning to our beautiful city and the reopening of our city centre,” he said.
“For residents, the city council hope to complete the purchase of the Portway Annexe to bring it back for community use. We also have the transfer of the Wells Recreation Ground Trust back to the city and we are looking forward to maximising the use of the Bishop’s Barn and Bandstand.
“We also hope to work with Mendip District Council to improve the Market Place and make it a vibrant appealing area to visit.”
Calendar of events
Here is a provisional list of some of the main events due to take place in 2021, dependent on any Covid restrictions:
May 17-June 1: Wells Community Bunting Project
June-August: Outdoor theatre at The Bishop’s Palace
July 24: Community Day Big Picnic
August 28-30: Medieval Weekend, Bishop’s Palace
August 28-September 26: Wells Art Contemporary, Wells Cathedral
Late August for 18 months: Sir Antony Gormley statue, Wells Cathedral
August 30: Moat Boat Races
September 10-19: Heritage Open Days
October 10: Wells Food Festival
October 12-November 3: The Museum of the Moon art installation, Wells Cathedral
October 15-23: Wells Festival of Literature
October: Wells Theatre Festival
November 3: Lantern Parade
• Picture: Manager Dale Bray in the recently reopened Wells Tourist Information Centre