2020 marked SouthWestFest’s 16th year working in south Westminster, and has provided us with an opportunity to reflect on our work, and reimagine the future of the festival. 

It can often be hard to quantify the intangible ‘feel good’ benefits of community events and talk about why a cultural community festival such as SouthWestFest deserves public support and funding. However, from the knowledge and experiences gained over the last 16 years of event delivery, we are keen to show how our festival offers important benefits and long-term impacts to residents of south Westminster. 

To support this reflection we have conducted research and produced the following report ‘SouthWestFest 16 Years Strong’ within which we have chosen to analyse the work of our festival, its impacts and benefits including wider research to support our understanding of what community festivals have to offer the people they serve. You can read the report as a PDF here or online here .

Objectives of this report are to:

1) Review our work over the past 16 years, drawing on case studies from the festival, plus feedback and evaluation, to understand where we are today.

2) Review and understand our audiences, the makeup of our community and some of the challenges that they may currently face.

3) Investigate and understand the benefits and wider impact our festival can offer, looking specifically at the areas of health and wellbeing, community engagement and education, volunteering and participation, placemaking and the local economy.

In producing this report, we have used feedback, case studies and data collected by SouthWestFest over the years, in addition to conducting desk based research and analysing evidence from statutory, industry and academic sources.

We hope it offers some deeper understanding of the long term impact of our work and our collaborative activities with community partners, as well as inspiring you to think about how you might like to ‘reimagine’ the festival with us for 2021 and beyond.