How did we start?

History of the Festival 

In three decades, Arts Alive has grown from a low-key local event to one of the largest annual community arts festivals in the South East.

Mole Valley District Council launched the festival in 1988, originally calling it Festival of Arts. The aim was to encourage all ages to participate in local arts, and there were around sixty events. The majority were talks, presentations and live music.

In 1997 the festival was renamed Arts Alive. It ran for two weeks, and attracted 35 groups and artists. Over the years it grew in popularity, and was extended to six weeks. In 2018, it took place over 3 months with a record 20,450 festivalgoers at 92 events, including poetry recitals, concerts, dance and drama performances, art exhibitions, music workshops and much more.

2019 will see our biggest festival to date, with 93 events condensed into six weeks, to bring the festival closer into line with Edinburgh and to create a bigger festival buzz.