© 2019 Swindon Spring Festival


DAWN CHORUS -  created by dawn sky and dewdrops, bird song and beauty, minstrels and musicians, storytellers and circus skills, poets and performers, and celebrated by you!


Lawn Woods, High Street, Old Town SN1 3EN

Tel: 01793 771080

5.30am ~ 6th May ~ FREE

As the sun rises over sleeping Swindon, join the early-birds, the keenest and coolest Festival followers, high on a ridge in Lawn Woods, for this all-age, all-weather outdoor event that marks the start of the first Swindon Spring Festival. Marvel at an array of amazing acts: pipers, singers, storytellers, jugglers, poets, musicians, and outdoor entertainers!  Make new friends, meet old ones, swig a hot cup of coffee or tea, bite an egg or bacon butty, watch the sun rise, frolic round the maypole, and celebrate life, literature and the arts! 
At the sound of Jake on watering can and Danny on pipes, plinth-high against the dawn sky, the show will begin. 
Jacob Hi-Ho and his mischievous morning band of gravity-defying, fire-flinging, musical, and dancing friends, who include Fergie, an English music maestro; Darine, an Irish dancing delight; and all round artist Casey on banjo, will bring the vigour, beauty, daring, and discipline of youth to proceedings; Swindon’s own Sun Arise Singers will vocally and melodiously welcome that great orange orb rising in the east; storyteller John Row will tell a terrific tale or two; poet and penny whistle-playing Daisie-May, aka Andria Walton, will bring luck and loveliness to dawn frolics; Debbie Wolfson with her musical friends from Music Alive will make appropriate melodious morning sounds; Tony ‘Community Poet’ Hillier will make sure that maypole ribbons fly and we weave and sway the untangled way; Liz M and her cool catering crew will keep hot breakfasts coming; while Matthew and his Coffee Gang will keep things hot and steamy; and a masterly master of ceremonies will keep morning mayhem to a minimum but first-light frolics on fire!
This event will start on time, that’s 5.30 on the dot. It runs for approximately two hours. If you want to be in on the start of the first Swindon Spring Festival, don’t miss it!
Note: Later in the day, Dawn Chorus performers will be visiting people who could not get out, in hospitals, homes, and hostels, thanks to the generosity of Festival supporters: Artswords and Swindon Borough Council's Adult Community Learning.


Coffee Gang mobile Fairtrade coffee service. Call: 07884 285777

MILLIE’S KITCHEN Dawn Chorus Hot Breakfasts! Tel. 07791 853718

BSL Interpreted Performance 



Richard Jefferies Museum Marlborough Road, Swindon SN3 6AA

Tel: 07768 917466
10am - 4pm ~ 6th to 18th May ~ FREE

This exhibition will run throughout the Festival, with beautiful arts and crafts on display in the charming 17th century thatched cottage of the Richard Jefferies Museum.
Also, you can come and meet some of the craftspeople, and witness a bit of chainsaw magic, on Saturday 11th May, between 10am and 4pm. 

STORYWALK with JOHN ROW – for health, stories, well-being! 


Stable Block, Lydiard House, West Swindon, SN5 3PA

Tel: 01793 771080
2pm ~ 6th May ~ FREE 

Join Festival followers for a short walk, by the big lake, under the greenwood trees, stopping for a story or three, and back through the park, for a cup of tea, a biscuit, and maybe one last story. A walk with stories: perfect for everyone! John Row has told stories at Glastonbury and around the wide wide world. Today, he looks forward to telling a few round lovely Lydiard Park! 

A FESTIVAL POEM FOR SWINDON – with BBC Wiltshire, Prime Theatre, Sara-Jane Arbury, and YOU!


Help us make A Poem for Swindon that highlights the town’s achievements and glories; uncovers its curiosities and culture; and celebrates its people and places.  
By way of inspiration, BBC Wiltshire will broadcast a famous poem daily, throughout the Swindon Spring Festival. Poems will be read by professional actors Amaka Okafor and Chris Adams, provided by Prime Theatre. BBC Wiltshire Breakfast Show Presenter Ben Prater will invite listeners to submit poetic offerings towards the making of A Poem for Swindon. Perky performance poet Sara-Jane Arbury will be on hand to hint at what makes a good line of poetry for a collage poem. Once it’s done, with your help, A Poem for Swindon will be performed, celebrated, and broadcast on BBC Wiltshire. 
Towards the end of the Festival, there will be a Poetry Workshop on how to find and use material for the making of distinctive and surprising poems! At the workshop, you can also help Sara-Jane put the finishing touches to A Poem for Swindon! More details here

TRACTOR CARNIVAL – with tractors galore, old and older, and charming tractor drivers!

Across Swindon

Tel: 07768 917466
5.30am - 4pm ~ 6th May

Look out for a bevy of beautiful vintage tractors and their delightful drivers, who will bring a splash of historic colour and countryside culture to the streets and parks of Swindon.

The Festival Tractor Carnival will start from Lotmead Farm at 10.30am, go across the Magic Roundabout, stop for a tea break at STEAM, then head up to Lydiard Park in time to cheer on the participants in the Festival Freedom Run. Full timings here soon.


Presented in association with Swindon parkrun.

Meet by the Stable Block beside Lydiard House, Lydiard Park, West Swindon, SN5 3PA
Tel: 01793 771080
2pm ~ 6th May ~ FREE 

Gentle 5km Freedom Run in lovely Lydiard Park with lots of friendly, supportive, and all-age Swindon parkrun runners! See http://www.parkrun.org.uk/swindon/home
The run will be followed by a short rest, with refreshing REFRESHMENTS!

BELLA MACKIE will talk about her book Jog On which tells the story of how running saved her life.

OMER HOMER will talk about how running changed his life.

Luxborough Suite, Lydiard House, West Swindon, SN5 3PA
Tel: 01793 524481
3pm ~ 6th May ~ £5

Unhappy and struggling with deep-rooted health problems, Bella Mackie ended her twenties in tears. She could barely find the strength to get off the sofa, let alone piece her life back together. Until one day she pulled on a pair of trainers and went for a run. And did so again and again. Before she knew it, her mood was lifting for the first time in years, and she had swapped hiding in her house for fresh air, unknown roads, and running, running, running; and, loving life again! In her book Jog On, Bella explains, with hilarious and unfiltered honesty, how running saved her life!
Omer Homer came to England from a beautiful but troubled part of the world, where the only and necessary bit of running he did was across minefields. One day, his luck ran out and an exploding landmine caused him serious injuries. In Swindon, he found friendship and things to do, most healing of which was going for a run, in safety. As a result, his running has taken off and so has his life! 

The arts truly are for everyone . . . 

ISABELLA TREE – on Wilding, and the return of nature to an English farm.

Lower Shaw Farm, West Swindon SN5 5PJ
Tel: 01793 524481
7pm ~ 6th May ~ £7 (£6)

The realisation that intensive farming on heavy clay soil was unsustainable resulted in the unfolding of a remarkable experiment: the re-wilding of an estate in West Sussex, the restoration of nature, the free-roaming of cattle, ponies, pigs, and deer, and the stunning recovery of flora and fauna. It’s an inspiring story!
Award-winning author, travel writer, and manager of the Knepp Wildland Project, Isabella Tree has also found time to write several books, including The Living Goddess, The Bird Man, and, most recently, Wilding.