Ironbridge Gorge to spark imaginations with 2019 festival

The incredible story of the world famous Ironbridge Gorge will be told and celebrated during an unmissable two-week long festival this autumn.

Anthony Wiggins from Ironbridge Business Consortium, Rod Sheppard from Secret Severn Arts Trail, Graham Peet from the Ironbridge Coracle Trust, Sarah Bird the Destination Tourism Officer from Telford & Wrekin Council, Alex Nicoll chairman of the Ironbridge Business Consortium, Richard Eley from Darby 1779, Telford & Wrekin Councillor Carolyn Healy, Jason Barlow from Virtual Reality Simulation Systems and Charlie Eley from Eley’s Pork Pies

The Ironbridge World Heritage Festival presents the Festival of Imagination which will showcase the amazing story of the Ironbridge Gorge, past, present and future.

The iconic destination, which has the famous River Severn running through it, will be fully animated with a fantastic fiesta of arts, crafts, culture, virtual reality, music, film, poetry, family-friendly events and food and drink between September 14-29.

Visitors to the World Heritage Site, locals and residents alike will enjoy secret arts trails, street festivals, exhibitions, demonstrations and performances to workshops and more. The festival is sure to engage, excite, challenge and entertain audiences from far and wide.

The Festival of Imagination will smash previous attendance records with between 9,500 and 12,000 people expected to descend upon the whole of the Gorge over the two weeks.

Councillor Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Visitor Economy and the World Heritage Site, said: “We want to really showcase the Ironbridge Gorge, its rich history, innovations, creativity and culture.

“The World Heritage Festival of Imagination will tell the story of the Gorge like you’ve never seen before, displaying its impact on the world.

“It was imagination and bravery that built the Iron Bridge, saw the birth of industry and is responsible for a lot of the technological advances we see today. We want to show how that very same thinking and attitude in the Gorge is also changing the present and the future.

“This is about taking people on a journey through the Ironbridge Gorge and all its wonders. While they are unique and amazing destinations Ironbridge is not just about the bridge and the furnace – there is so much more to see.

“If you think you know the whole story of the Ironbridge Gorge, then think again.”

The festival has been made a reality thanks to funding from Arts Council England’s Cultural Destinations Tourism Fund secured by Telford & Wrekin Council and means there can be a full programme of events and activities which will appeal to every interest, providing a fully immersive experience where visitors will be transported both emotionally and physically along the rich expanse of the Gorge.

Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site puts the Ironbridge Gorge amongst some of the most culturally significant areas on the planet including the Taj Mahal, the Egyptian pyramids and the Roman Colosseum – and that is definitely something that should be celebrated through a fitting festival.

However, the Gorge is also different from those sites in the respect that while it is famed as the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the significant sites of the Iron Bridge and the Furnace, it is also still having an impact on the world today inspiring a new creative revolution and leading the way on the technology and environmental revolution – which will be on display enchanting audiences.

There will be a buzz and the Gorge will be a hive of activity, from Madeley to Coalbrookdale, Jackfield and Coalport, as well as the iconic Iron Bridge itself and the 10 award-winning museums.

There will also be the creation of a mini-festival village near Dale End Park where there will be a big yurt set up which will host lots of events and activities such as a film festival and some special food and drinks events across the two weeks.

The festival itself has been given a complete makeover, with the new look and creative designed by nationally acclaimed Nathan Rous PR which is located in Shropshire and they are also promoting the festival around the region and UK for day, stay and weekend visitors.

Company director Nathan Rous said: “It’s been a lot of fun working on the new look for the Festival of Imagination. Our brief was to come up with something which appealed to audiences of all ages and reflected the really rich vibrant and amazing story of the gorge of the past, present and future.  Our fantastical designs have been met with huge levels of enthusiasm. It’s going to be an incredible festival fortnight!”

Shropshire Live
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