Staff Festival shines despite the showers

Rain failed to stop play as Staff Festival celebrations defied the drizzle to bring a ray of sunshine to campus.

Staff Festival Project Manager, Jo Westerman (green top), soaks up the atmosphere among the crowds

Staff Festival shines despite the showers. July 2023

Thousands of colleagues, their friends and family flocked to the University on Friday (30 June), dodging the occasional shower to enjoy a packed programme of hugely entertaining activities and attractions for all ages, including food and drink, workshops, fairground rides, stalls and live music.

As our video montage (below) and picture gallery clearly show, while the sun didn’t shine, festival-goers were still able to soak up the carnival atmosphere!

Staff Festival Project Manager, Jo Westerman, said: “We feared the worst when we saw the weather forecast, so we were absolutely thrilled to see so many people back on campus to celebrate the first Staff Festival in four years.

“For many, this would have been their first experience of the event, and I really hope they enjoyed the wide range of activities on offer. Looking around, there was a sea of smiling faces and lots of people came up to me to say how much fun they were having. 

“It’s so important to be able to relax away from work, and I’m delighted so many people took the opportunity to unwind in the company of colleagues, family and friends. Hopefully, we can build on this to improve future Festivals.”

Staff Festival shines despite the showers. July 2023

Games and other attractions proved really popular

Amazing acts

Popular attractions on the day included dodgems, face painting, glitter tattoo artists, a candyfloss maker and caricaturist. Colleagues and their guests also enjoyed an inflatable climbing wall, Didicar racing, twin-lane bungee run, archery, bouncy castle, snowboard simulator and giant garden games, among others.

Staff Festival shines despite the showers. July 2023

Tasty treats on offer sold out on the day

Mouth-watering food and drink stalls were selling tempting tasty treats, ranging from street food, burgers and crêpes to artisan marshmallows, brownies, sweets and ice cream. Cypriana saved the day by serving up their specialist Greek Cypriot cuisine after several other food traders had to pull out at the eleventh hour.

Staff Festival shines despite the showers. July 2023

Having fun at the terrarium workshop

Wonderful workshops ranged from Bollywood dance, poetry, sketching and Chinese masks, to beer and cocktail tasting, aromatherapy, terrariums and biodiversity crowns. Beth Calverley – aka The Poetry Machine – was also on hand to compose perfect prose for the people she met on the day. 

Amazing acts on the music stage hit a high note, with The Johnhouse Experience, Rock Choir, Rhythm Aire and Olayá providing a playlist of high-energy entertainment, rousing renditions and pure sunshine for the soul.

Staff Festival shines despite the showers. July 2023

Four brilliant bands entertained the audience

Jo added: “Spirits were soaring with the amazing music. Lots of people were in front of the stage dancing and singing along to the songs.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to all our performers for really adding to the enjoyment of the occasion. The same goes for our dedicated band of organisers and volunteers, who put in a lot of long hours to help make this happen. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Staff Festival shines despite the showers. July 2023

Dancing to the bands

Have your say

As with this year’s event planning, your feedback is crucial in helping improve future Festivals.

Organisers are asking colleagues to fill out our short Festival survey to let them know what you thought about activities staged on the day, as well as any ideas to improve the event. The closing date is 14 July and the survey should only take about five minutes to complete.

All proceeds from this year’s Staff Festival will be split between our two chosen charities, Zarach and Homeless Street Angels. Watch this space for an announcement about the final fundraising figure.

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