Carnivals and Festival events have been one of the great features of Wester Hailes over the years. Right from the earliest, efforts were made to pull the community together through celebration days and activities. The first Festival was held in 1978 and it was quickly established as an annual event, incorporating all sorts of events including a Gala Day stretching across a week. Over the next few weeks we’ll be taking a look at Festival times as this community celebration developed and changed over time.
In 1979, the Sentinel reported on plans for the second Festival, highlighting the
aim of including all sections of the community. You can read the report by clicking here on 1979 Festival and Gala. Judging from the photos shown in the June edition of the paper, the occasion was a great success.
What’s clear from these early Festival weeks is the impressive breadth of activities and events that were organised. In 1981, the Sentinel included a 4 page Festival review that is packed with information about the highlights of the week. You can read about all the action by clicking here on Festival 1981.
The Festival weeks were well attended but also had lots of support to organise and run the different activities on offer. A Festival committee co-ordinated the planning and put together the programme. Organising an outdoor event such as a Fun Day is perhaps harder now than it was then. There’s a whole raft of health and safety standards that need to be met, and the issue of insurance and responsibility is high on the agenda. And the old issue of funding continues to cause difficulties. Whilst it is great that funders want to fund new projects, it is now extremely hard to raise year on year funding as projects are encouraged to become sustainable. However sustainability for a once a year annual event is not always a workable strategy, especially when the emphasis is on providing free activities. With thousands of people benefitting, perhaps a special case should be made for local community celebrations that bring people together, a positive image of the area and enable local groups to publicise their services and projects.
The good news is that community celebration events still manage to run and this weekend there will be Altogether In The Park in Sighthill Park from 11AM- 4PM. You can find out more about this family focused fun day by looking them up here at Altogether In The Park.