CHIPPENHAM came alive with an abundant display of arts and culture events in the new Fringe Feb event, when the town was bursting with music, comedy, performance, dancing, photography, art, craft, poetry, talks and a market.

Fringe Feb was organised by Chippenham Borough Lands Charity and their Chippenham Arts and Culture group, who put together a varied and full programme of events with help and support from members of the local community.

One of the highlights of the weekend was from the Knatty Knitters who attracted lots of attention doing live knitting in the window of the Chippenham RSPCA shop. One of the knitters, Helen Osbourne, dressed up the Buttercross by yarnbombing the stone bench with brightly coloured wool. The colourful knitted birds, bunting and bench cover brought smiles to faces, both young and old.

Talented local musicians, bands and young performers could be heard across many venues including Grounded, The Yelde, Cousin Norman, The Neeld and SK Fruits. Riverbank Studios held a full day of their youth club Jukebox Open Mic in a shop in Borough Parade, which gathered quite a crowd watching both inside and through the shop window. Vamos Productions put on a special Fringe Feb Megashow featuring nine different bands playing across two stages at the Old Road Tavern. There was even a piano for anyone to play outside The Hand of Glory in the Market Place and many people seemed happy to take up the challenge to join in by giving impromptu piano performances in the open air.

The event included an art and poetry trail by local companies, Call of the Page and Rag and Bones Arts. The poetic street art could be found lurking on street signs and hidden on bookshop shelves, shop noticeboards and pub coasters throughout the town. There was also a wonderful line up of performers on show. Chippenham crowds were treated to fantastic displays of dancing from Chippenham Morris, Hips and Hawes Clog dancers and the energetic young dancers from Xpression Street Dance.

Comedy was provided mainly by Chippenham Comedy Club, who put on two events during the day – a fully booked free kids comedy event held at Rivo Lounge and an evening show for adults which raised £158.30 in donations for Unity House. Curious Company with their Department of Complaints provided some hilarious moments of street theatre, where people could attend and let their grumbles be listened to. Instant Wit performed an evening of improvised comedy with suggestions coming from the lively and engaged audience who were in stitches throughout.

Younger children were enthralled by Twist in the Tale which was performed at Chippenham Library and again later at Waterstones. This was an interactive storytelling performance by Ruth Hill of Knapsack Productions and after the pages of the story had ‘flown away’, the children helped to tell The Three Little Pigs by playing the characters and reminding the storyteller how the story went. Children of all ages were also entertained and educated about all things space and moon related at the Picture the Moon event by the Journey Into Space Show, which had to be moved indoors due to Friday night being rather wet and cloudy.

Not to be forgotten was the letter-writing event with Karen from local company Call of the Page in Chippenham Museum where you could have your words typed up on beautiful paper to send a personalised letter to a friend, colleague, teacher or loved one. Fringe Feb also included photography and astronomy workshops, talks by the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre and Luke Emmett from Theatre Bath, a Vintage and Vinyl market and the Golddiggers exhibition run by Chippenham Museum. All in all, a full few days’ worth of activities to brighten up the end of a rather wet and windy February in Chippenham.

Chippenham Borough Lands Charity provided the co-ordination and funding towards the event. The charity would love to get feedback from anyone who attended or took part in Fringe Feb to gauge whether people would like to see the event continue again next year.

Perhaps you would be interested in taking part another year or have other suggestions for community-wide arts events. If so, then get in touch with them via

Laura Graham-May, Arts and Education Officer for Chippenham Borough Lands said: “I’m thrilled with how our first Fringe Feb event went. We had an array of local arts professionals and community groups involved, all taking up the challenge of producing interactive, fun and engaging events to showcase the breadth of talent and brilliance here in Chippenham. At best, the arts are engaging and inclusive, broad and accepting, warm and inspiring and we think that that’s exactly what Fringe Feb was. We’d love to do it again and we hope that you would like us to too.”