Open now - exhibition of Maindee Festival Posters

Last night the exhibition of Maindee Festival posters opened at the Riverfront. The evening was a valuable and very enjoyable chance for many of the people involved in the story of the festival to come together and celebrate.

Festival posters

Ingrid Wilson set the scene by taking us back to Newport in 1997 – the year of the first Maindee Festival. Local government had just been re-organised and Newport was a Borough rather than a city. Ingrid explained that the newly-formed Newport Borough Council made some important changes about how to work with the community in Maindee. She said that:  

“Brian Selby was retiring after nearly 30 years as Youth and Community Warden at Community House on the Corporation Road side of Maindee and Sue Bidmead – partnered with Monis Muflahi - had been appointed as Council Community Development Worker based in the building.”

Both Sue and Monis were at the gathering last night – with the former bringing some of the posters which were missing from the selection of original posters, photos and press releases that Sarah Goodey had prepared. 

Throughout the evening’s entertainment and conversations we had the backdrop of these colourful posters and the different themes that the festival has embraced. The posters are curated by year and it is clear that themes such as ‘space’ and ‘water’ transferred to the parade costumes and the way that the festival site has been created. The vast majority of the posters were designed by Newport-based artist Andy O’Rourke and more latterly by Rhys Webber.

Ingrid Wilson speaks with Sue Bidmead (left) and Sarah Goodey (right)

Ingrid, pictured above centre with Sue Bidmead left and Sarah Goodey right, pointed out that every Maindee Festival had successfully followed a set of principles at every event, including:

  • Free entry and accessible to all
  • Developing community arts through workshops and projects, photography, music, murals and more
  • A parade on foot with community groups and schools taking part with giant structures which pass through the local streets on the day
  • Giving a platform to local talent, such as the fledgling Bangladeshi Band, Dotara Shilpi Gusti, through to today's Maindee's Got Talent
  • A market-place for local charities and small businesses
  • Outreach to enable young people to be actively involved in their community activities
  • Food that caters for all tastes at reasonable prices
  • Partnerships with communities overseas, such as hosting groups from Kenya and Zimbabwe
  • Commitment to global issues, and their local impact, such as recycling and climate change

In the second half of the event we were able to enjoy story-telling and dance performances from some of the latest people to become part of Maindee Festival: members of HISLA the South Wales Hispano Latino Community. HISLA are one of many grops whose performances have connected Newport with the music and arts of those who have settled in Maindee from all over the world.

Though there were community development workers in the early few years of Maindee Festival, Sue Bidmead noted that their roles were soon made redundant! Above all, the event and the exhibition help to recognise the huge contributions of this volunteer-led festival; roles which range from the road closures to the programming, festival and the site management.

The whole exhibition was pulled together by Maindee Festival Trustee Sarah Goodey - we are grateful for the care and attention that she put into the curation of this show and we hope you take the chance to enjoy it. Accompanying images have also been photographed by the Street Media team members Gareth Courtney and Llewelyn Wicks. The exhibition lasts through to the 3rd of January and is free to attend.

Related Links

Eton Road Community House

Newport-based artist Andy O’Rourke

Design by Webber Design

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