The Festival of Europe is a cultural celebration spanning the diversity of the European continent. It is for all those for whom Europe is home. It is founded on shared cultures and values, inviting exchanges which transcend borders of every kind. Our vision is one of unity, cooperation and friendship now and in the future.
The United Kingdom is geographically and historically linked to Europe and despite the fact that it has recently left the European Union as a political entity, there is more that unites the peoples of the UK with those on the European continent than divides them. The Festival maintains and develops invaluable cultural partnerships and networks by organising culturally-diverse events connecting people of different backgrounds and their European story.
The Summer of Europe is organised around a set of broad themes including the creative arts (music, theatre, dance, literature, art, cinema), history, culture, food and drink which aim to provide a framework and an inspiration for those involved. Some events are specially organised for the Summer of Europe and some are co-badged or co-created with people and organisations who share the Festival’s vision and values. Other events are organised at community level by local people and organisations who want to be part of the celebration. Above all, these are grassroots events, created with, by and for all peoples across the UK. All events will be integrated into a Festival of Europe Living Archive ensuring the legacy of these creative collaborations and providing inspiration for the future.
Join our Festival of Europe community founded on our vision and our values of equality, inclusion, integrity, justice and sustainability. The Summer of Europe provides the foundation to establish an annual programme of events with a view to future pan-European Festivals.
Howard is an EMMY, BRIT and BAFTA award-winning composer of choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores.
He is a distinguished music historian and broadcaster. In recent years he has been England’s first ever National Ambassador for Singing, the Classical Brit Composer of the Year and was Classic FM’s Composer-in-Residence for 6 years. In the 2011 New Year Honours he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to music education.
Madeleina Kay is a British artist, writer and political activist. Awarded ‘Young European of the Year 2018’, she is know as #EUsupergirl for her creative campaigning for Europe.
Madeleina won the ‘Young Talent Prize’ in the ‘Great British Postcard Competition’ in September 2017 for her illustrated book’s front cover design: ‘Theresa Maybe in Brexitland’. She was one of the winners of the EU Commission’s #EUinMyRegion blogging competition, in October 2017.
Andy Anscombe is a procurement specialist and festival-going veteran of 37
events across the UK, Europe and US, who at one time ran a small independent
record label and toured in Europe with a roster of bands. He is now CIPS
Procurement qualified with additional experience in project management, film
and design and a passionate European and honorary Croat.
As an enthusiastic traveller across this continent, I’ve been able to
experience and enjoy its diverse music, art, culture and hospitality which
has taken a knock in recent times. I hope the Festival of Europe will help
to remind what a truly rich experience it is, and how lucky we are to have
it on our doorstep.”
Lynne was involved with Rock for Europe in Chester, had a folk and acoustic music agency, promoted concerts and helped run festivals in Cheshire. Lynne worked in agriculture, forestry, tourism, leisure, and NGO’s. She lived briefly in Spain among the fun of Spanish fiestas, late night open air concerts, and the magnificent Moors and Christians parade in Denia. Currently she is supporting asylum seekers in the UK. The Festival of Europe sea shanties project will raise funds for ‘Safe Passage’ and ‘RNLI’ and raise awareness of centuries of trade and migration throughout Europe. Lynne writes the Festival newsletter.
Festival of Europe is the culmination of a long held dream.”
Professor Emerita in French and Francophone Studies, University of Westminster and Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Language Acts and Worldmaking, King’s College London. Debra leads the Festival of Europe’s academic portfolio of events and research. Author of Fishes with Funny French Names. The French Restaurant in London from the 19th to the 21st Century and co-editor of A History of the French in London. Liberty, Equality, Opportunity, she has a special interest in Franco-British cultural relations and is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques awarded by the French Government for her services to French Language, Literature and Culture.
The spirit of the Summer and Festival of Europe is convivial, playful, joyful, it has a welcoming, wonderful lightness in its celebratory touch. For me, there is also an underlying thoughtfulness reminding us of the centuries-old European tradition of hospitality to be reflected on and made anew.”
Julliet Makhapila is a community development worker and a trainer. She is popularly known as the African Wonderwoman. She is passionate about European issues and believes that the Festival is a place to celebrate all the good things about our relationship with Europe. Julliet joined the Festival Team to contribute her experience of working within the wider community to safeguard inclusion and diversity. Being Black British of African heritage she believes that we need to preserve and promote racial equality and social inclusion and that we need to celebrate all aspects of our European identity because it enhances our learning and sharing of other cultures and customs and ultimately brings people together.
“It’s a place of hope for the future and an opportunity to come together with our closest friends and neighbours on the continent.”
Pez Pearson is a digital artist, dancer and software programmer. In 2005, downloads from International artists clogged up his phone line when he created the collaborative platform for the Michael Moorcock Audio Art Soundscape project.
In the decades since, Pez has worked in high-end tech sector jobs and discovered the joy of Tango.
His current project is a study on the decoration of early Twentieth-century German accordions (bandoneons). Pez is very excited to focus his software programming and creative skills on the challenge of a Summer of Europe. Pez is a Steering Group member.
From the Beaker pottery to the Beatles, integration and exchange with our neighbours has always been the engine of British cultural innovation.”
Tamsin Shasha is an award winning theatre maker, writer, performer and Artistic Director of Actors of Dionysus, a long running charity that performs nationally and internationally.
Tamsin is a Director of the Festival of Europe, responsible for artistic programming. She is also Vice Chair of Grassroots for Europe and core member of Erasmus Plus Alliance.
The Festival of Europe for me is a place to bring people and communities together. As an artist and producer myself I am passionate about the way that cultural experiences can achieve this, whether it be through art, performance, music or dance.
I see the Festival as a repository of connection, friendship and collaboration. A place to build bridges, make lifelong connections to work toward a happier future built on integrity and mutual respect”
Jo Steele has been an active Pro-EU campaigner with Oxford for Europe since the Referendum and is passionate about maintaining our links with the Continent. She brings enthusiasm and practical skills to the festival team.
The Festival of Europe will showcase the rich and diverse culture of Europe and bring together many of the grassroots groups across the country in celebration. I am very excited to be part of this great endeavour”
Callum Taylor is an actor and theatre maker from the North West of
England. As well as working as a freelance actor in theatre, live
performance and film, he is a co-founder of LightTrap Entertainment.
He has also worked in France and Italy including playing the role of
“Will” in the award winning, Italian produced, short film
“Havens”. His role within the Festival includes working alongside
the Directors on the co-ordination of events across the North West
The Festival of Europe is a fantastic project, bringing together artists from across Europe to celebrate the immense pool of talent and creativity our continent is home to.”
Jenny Wilson who is the Scottish Representative on the committee has
a background in website design, digital media and graphics. She has
been an active Pro-EU campaigner with Glasgow Loves EU and the European Movement in Scotland (EMiS).
She has recently been involved in the Glasgow Loves EU series of
Lockdown Livestream interviews, which can be found on YouTube, and
has also been involved with others in designing a number of
Eurowalks in Scotland, highlighting our European links and which
will be part of the Festival for Europe programme.
The Festival of Europe is a chance to celebrate our long standing historic and cultural relationships with our European friends and neighbours. I am looking forward to it and look forward to welcoming anyone who would like to get involved. “
Richard Wilson is a Chartered Accountant (FCA) with over 30 years of experience as the Financial Controller / Finance Director of companies operating in the engineering, construction and retail sectors. He recently took early retirement to concentrate on supporting the Festival of Europe project, amongst other interests.
Richard has overall responsibility for financial strategy and operations on the Festival of Europe Board.
A passionate internationalist and pro-European, Richard is also Vice Chair of European Movement UK and Chair of Grassroots for Europe.
Brexit has weakened, but not broken, the UK’s links with our European friends and neighbours. I believe that through the power of culture, the Festival of Europe will rebuild bridges with Europe and help us to rediscover the wonders of our continent and its diverse, vibrant people.”
We wish to acknowledge our former Directors who did so much to get the Festival of Europe off the ground. Graham Hughes who provided so many ideas, Anna Smallwood who navigated us through uncharted waters with mind maps, Wilfried Rimensberger who contributed his valuable diverse experience and networks across the Uk and Europe, Debra Kelly, who continues leading the Summer of Europe. And Jo Pye, who, though never taking up a Directorship, laid a foundation with huge enthusiasm and common sense and continues to keep track of the constant flow of ideas and contributions which ensure the vitality and longevity of the Festival of Europe.