Call for volunteers to help at ‘big five’ free summer festivals in Leamington

Getting ready for the 'Summer of Fun' are (from left to right): Warwickshire Pride's Daniel Browne and Healey Moyes, BID Leamington's Stephanie Kerr, and Art in the Park's Pritty Kholi, Carole Sleight, David Clargo, Kate Livingston and at the front, Ella Billiald.
Getting ready for the 'Summer of Fun' are (from left to right): Warwickshire Pride's Daniel Browne and Healey Moyes, BID Leamington's Stephanie Kerr, and Art in the Park's Pritty Kholi, Carole Sleight, David Clargo, Kate Livingston and at the front, Ella Billiald.

Organisers of Leamington’s free summer festivals are putting a call out for volunteers ahead of the first event taking place in June.

The big five free-to-attend events, billed as the ‘Summer of Fun’ by BID Leamington, get underway with the Leamington Peace Festival in June and culminate with the Leamington Food and Drink Festival in September.

The Leamington Carnival in July is followed by Art in the Park and Warwickshire Pride in August.

Together they attract tens of thousands of people to the town centre and organisers say their success relies on the consistent goodwill of helpers, reflecting Leamington’s community spirit of volunteering.

The call-out was being made during Volunteers’ Week, which runs from June 1 to 7 and celebrates volunteering throughout the UK.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “The volunteers give hundreds of hours of their time to make the Summer of Fun events come alive.

“There is a lot of overlap among the volunteer community with many helping out at several events and that spirit is one of the big things that makes Leamington tick.”

The Peace Festival, one of the UK’s longest-running free festivals, is held each year on the weekend before the Summer Solstice and will take at the Pump Room Gardens on June 16 and 17.

Director Tash Daly said: “Volunteers organised the first Peace Festival 40 years ago, in the days of anti-nuclear protests and the Cold War, to bring people together to learn more and celebrate our community.

“The Peace Festival still follows those core principles and is looking for volunteers to help on the weekend, and help move the festival forward into its fifth decade.”

Leamington Carnival’s floats, musicians and dancers will wind their way through the town to the Pump Room Gardens on July 14 where the celebrations will continue with a fair and stalls.

On August 4 and 5, Art in the Park will return to Jephson Gardens with a packed programme of art, music and performances, this year celebrating the park’s Victorian festival link to trees.

Director Carole Sleight said: “This festival could not take place without the input, energy, time and creativity which volunteers of every age generously give throughout the year and on the festival weekend where they welcome and look after over 15,000 visitors.”

Warwickshire Pride will welcome huge crowds to the Pump Room Gardens on August 18 for a celebration of LGBT and culture, which this year is themed on ‘Raise Your Rainbow’ to celebrate 40 years of the symbolic rainbow flag and its creator Gilbert Baker, who died in 2017.

Organiser Daniel Browne said: “There wouldn’t be an event if we didn’t have the volunteers and we always appreciate more. It’s incredibly rewarding and a lot of our volunteers have become really close friends as a result.”

More than 150 exhibitors will be at this year’s Leamington Food and Drink Festival in the Pump Room Gardens on September 8 and 9 for tastings, demonstrations and cook-offs.

Anyone interested in volunteering can email peacefestvolunteers@gmail.com for the Peace Festival, info@leamingtoncarnival.org.uk for the carnival, kate@artinpark.co.uk for Art in the Park, www.warwickshirepride.co.uk for Warwickshire Pride, and info@bidleamington.com for the food and drink festival.