How Foot & Mouth gave rise to international concert series -
The story of the Two Moors Festival – 15 Years on!
|Schubert the Sheep|
The Two Moors Festival celebrates its 15th Birthday this year. Who would have known that one of the few good things to result from 2001’s Foot & Mouth’s tragic outbreak would be a classical music event of such class as to compare with others of global standing.
The supposedly one-off series of concerts set up to bring cheer to Dartmoor and Exmoor following the epidemic was so successful that the organisers, John and Penny Adie, were easily persuaded to continue and with unsurpassed passion. On achieving its first milestone, the festival injects over £300,000 to the local economy during ten days every October. Tourism benefits too due to the influx of avid concert-goers from outside the area. Since 2011, over 5000 tickets have been sold annually; and so far, three BBC Radio 3 live broadcasts have taken place. The musical standard easily matches that of the top international festivals and with Kate Royal, Viktoria Mullova and Angela Hewitt among the glittering array of esteemed artists attracted to perform, it’s easy to see why.
|Detail of the mighty Bösendorfer grand piano|
used by Sarah & Harvey in the Mozart Marathon
(see 2014 programme for details)
Offshoots have emerged too in the form of workshops taking place in primary schools. In addition, young aspiring instrumentalists have been given the chance to play alongside a professional orchestra and in 2003, a Young Musicians Platform competition was established. The most unusual events to take place are the concerts in the acoustically brilliant Ticket Office at Tiverton Parkway Station.
Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex became Patron in 2007 giving generously of her time. One aspect that was never anticipated was the growth of cultural awareness in the Southwest (previously non-existent).
Always unique and whacky in its approach, the 2mf celebrated its 10th Anniversary (2010) with a Gold Medal-winning and Best Courtyard Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. The garden fulfilled its aim in providing a PR exercise like no other. Of course the story of the dropped Boesendorfer piano also caught the attention of the world media.
Funding, as with so many arts organisations, is always a problem. So far, the event has remained on an even keel with the aid of many trusts, Friends of the Festival and with ever-growing ticket sales. And as far as publicity is concerned, the generous media partnership with Classic FM (originally attracted by the inspired Sheep on a Bicycle logo) is never forgotten.
The Adies have no plans as yet to retire. With some farmers in the area still struggling to make ends meet, and relying to a degree on local food banks, the festival continues to retain its raison d’être.
Two Moors Festival
Barkham, Sandyway, South Molton,
Devon EX36 3LU
Reg. Charity no 1095723 Vat registration no 791 1650 25