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Ayre raising: the return of the 75th Stroud Arts


The Stroud Arts Festival returns this autumn for its 75th anniversary.

Musician and composer Dave Ayre has been appointed as guest artistic director for the charity’s anniversary year celebrations, he replaces the late Rick Vick.

On his appointment, Jennifer Greenshields, Trustee and Treasurer of Stroud Arts Festival said: “We decided to adopt the ‘Guest Artistic Director’ role used by many festival organisations after the sad passing of our festival organiser, Rick Vick, in 2019.

“The guest artistic director position is a temporary role for one or two seasons and our first appointment, Dave Ayre, is creating a programme of music which forms the main strand of our 75th Anniversary season. 

“We were already working on a project with Dave and the Carducci Quartet as a re-opening event for the new-look Sub Rooms when Covid struck, so it seemed a natural progression to keep working with Dave into our 75th year. The ideas flowed as Dave’s wealth of programming knowledge, his impressive contacts in the classical music genre, and his equally impressive performance skills gave shape to our anniversary celebrations.

arts fest | Ayre raising: the return of the 75th Stroud Arts
The Stroud Arts Festival has appointed musician and composer Dave Ayre as guest artistic director for the charity’s anniversary year celebrations

“Our small Committee of volunteers, each with a background and interest in different aspects of the Arts, will build other activities around the core music programmes so that we stay true to our mission – promoting and supporting the Arts within the Stroud District.

“As we move forward from the pandemic, we are committed to putting together a season of events that both celebrates the history of Stroud Arts Festival but also contributes to the recovery of the Arts in Stroud,” adds Dave Ayre. 

“We hope to engage and support as many musicians and artists and creatives as possible, many who have been struggling for months, to help us create a broad, diverse, and entertaining programme.”

Founded in 1946, and known as the ‘grandparent’ of all the Stroud Festivals, each year the charity behind Stroud Arts Festival distributes funds on behalf of the Margaret and Netlam Bigg Trust in order to support and promote the arts in Stroud and the five valleys.  

In the last 20 years, this legacy has seen over £300,000 poured into delivering world-class events, funding local talent and facilitating programmes in collaboration with other local arts organisations. 

Stroud Arts Festival has played a pivotal role in establishing some of the key Festivals in Stroud, including setting up Stroud Book Festival and sponsoring the creation of Hidden Notes, Stroud’s Contemporary Music Festival.

Further information on the 2021-2022 season of events will be announced later this spring.

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