Arts Fresco Festival 2016

The first-ever winner of the Arts Fresco Festival Audience Choice Award was announced. Comedy street theatre double act, Garaghty & Thom thrilled audiences at this year’s Arts Fresco on 18 September in Market Harborough and won the award based on a public vote.

Arts Fresco is one of the largest, free street theatre festivals in the United Kingdom. Audience members voted online and at a ballot box on the day itself to nominate their favourite act from the 22 UK, European and international street theatre acts performing throughout the day.

Goronwy Thom and Richard Garaghty of Streetcomedy commented: “We absolutely love playing the festival, we have performed here as solo acts and as the double act many, many times. There are not very many festivals like this in the UK. It is truly magical to see the town full of families and audiences wanting to see shows.

“Crowds here seem to understand street theatre - they have seen years of it. So to be awarded the first ever audience choice award is very special! We want to thank everyone who voted for us. We are very pleased. Thank you! We hope to see you again.”

Sponsor of the award, Mark Robinson, Chief Executive of Market Harborough Building Society said: “Arts Fresco goes from strength to strength; with an array of exciting and unique acts drawing thousands of visitors to the town. The introduction of the Audience Choice award is a fantastic way for Market Harborough to recognise the audience’s favourite act and says thanks for a fun filled day.”

The winners were announced at special ceremony held at the Angel Hotel, Market Harborough on 27 October 2016. Sir Edward Garnier MP for Harborough, who attended the awards ceremony said:

"The Arts Fresco street theatre festival is a key date in the Harborough calendar and provides great entertainment for residents and visitors alike. The Festival represents a fantastic opportunity to engage with the arts and with the local community, and is gaining a growing reputation, not only locally, but nationally and internationally."

At the ceremony, the winners of the Arts Fresco photography competition were also revealed. Karen Coles won the 15 and over age category and Isabel Buckle won the 14 years and under age category.

The Arts Fresco photography competition was sponsored and judged by Croft Wingates Gallery in Market Harborough. The printed pictures will be exhibited at Croft Wingates Gallery from Monday 24 October 2016.

John Snape, Owner & Director of Croft Wingates Gallery said: “We were delighted to be involved in this year’s Arts Fresco event and to see the wonderful range of photographs sent to us here at Croft Wingates for the Photography Competition was a real privilege. The winners really captured the fun and involvement that the Arts Fresco acts and organisation team managed to achieve for attendees of all ages and backgrounds. Here’s looking forward to Arts Fresco 2017.”

Nina Thomas from the Arts Fresco Organising Committee concluded: “This year’s Arts Fresco festival attracted over 10,000 visitors to Market Harborough town centre to have great fun on a brilliantly sunny day. We would like to congratulate Garagthy & Thom, Karen and Isabel on their respective awards, and thank all the acts, volunteers, sponsors and other people who contributed to make this year’s event such a success.”

Arts Fresco 2016 has recently been selected as a finalist in the Leicester and Leicestershire Tourism Awards, to be announced on 30 November at the Athena in Leicester.