Local artists and members of the public came from across the city at the weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the National Garden Festival with a series of events at the Festival Park site in Etruria.
Thirty years after the Festival transformed the former Shelton Bar steelworks site into a six month exhibition of landscaped areas and displays, ‘The Lost Gardens’ Festival presented an extensive programme of activities, sights and experiences from a range of local artists and focused attention on Stoke-on-Trent’s bid for City of Culture 2021.
The event was coordinated by Artcity, a consortium of independent artists in Stoke-on-Trent, in partnership with regeneration specialist St. Modwen, which is also celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Trevelyan Wright, Executive Director of B-Arts and festival coordinator, said: “The event was a resounding success, with our Night Walk launch event completely sold out weeks ahead of the event, and over 600 people in attendance across the event.
“The project demonstrated what can be achieved when arts organisations and developers work together, and was a great way to mark the National Garden Festival’s 30th anniversary as well as St. Modwen’s own 30th year.”
The National Garden Festival was a six-month event in 1986 which featured new gardens, art performance and sculpture and extensive temporary displays across a 160 acre site.
Transformed by St. Modwen into Festival Park, the site represents one of the developer’s first flagship regeneration projects, with around 55 of the 160 acre Garden Festival site managed and funded by St. Modwen, preserved as mature park, woodland lakes and public open space.
Mike Herbert, Regional Director at St. Modwen, said: “The Lost Gardens Festival provided an excellent platform for the city to open up discussions around its Bid for Capital of Culture 2021. It showcased Stoke-on-Trent’s talented local arts organisations whilst celebrating a symbolic moment in the city’s history and allowed people of all ages to connect with the stunning established green landscape at the Festival Park site to this day that continues to be preserved by St. Modwen.”
The success of Festival Park was the catalyst for further regeneration and St. Modwen has expanded the original 160 acre Garden Festival site by encompassing derelict adjacent land to over 300 acres with the Garden Festival site at its heart. The whole Festival Park and Etruria Valley site now comprises a major employment site in the centre of the city with office and commercial development, retail park, leisure park, 4-star 150 bedroom hotel, restaurants and housing. The site employs around 6,700 people and has brought circa £195m investment into Stoke.
The Festival Park is situated in a strategic location off the A53 dual carriageway within 400 metres of the A500 urban expressway, linking Stoke to the M6 junctions 15 and 16.
For further information on St. Modwen visit www.stmodwen.co.uk.