PICTURE SPECIAL: Seething Village Festival success despite last-minute ‘plan B’

By Oliver Monk

25th Feb 2024 | Local Features

Safety concerns regarding the condition of St Andrew's Square saw celebrations move indoors (Photo: Oliver Monk)
Safety concerns regarding the condition of St Andrew's Square saw celebrations move indoors (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Celebrations of local folklore story, Lefi Ganderson: The Goat Boy of Seething, have gone ahead today (25 February) in the face of recent adverse weather conditions. 

Mud from the week's heavy rainfall became a safety concern for organisers of Seething Village Festival, who moved the celebration from St Andrews Square to a nearby pub, The Lamb.

The week's heavy rainfall made St Andrew's Square unsafe for attendees (Photo: Oliver Monk)

The Lamb down Brighton Road hosted the post-parade celebrations (Photo: Oliver Monk)

One festival organiser Karen Faulder described how "following an assessment of the site the day before, plan B sprang into action". 

"It's always a difficult decision to change or cancel an event, but we have to put safety first," she added.

Vendors and performers were relocated to The Lamb along Brighton Road, as the street parade continued to Victoria Road with only minor delays. 

The size of the crowd inside the pub saw many use the side entrance to reach the event's food vendors (Photo: Oliver Monk)

The Lamb was packed with those listening to Lefi Ganderson's story (Photo: Oliver Monk)

With the first parade being held in 2009, there is starting to be a legacy on the line for the 20 volunteer organisers.

There have been further difficulties to this year's event for the team to contend with.

The Community Brain volunteer Brett Alderton runs ahead of the procession to help steward traffic (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Lefi Ganderson (left) is central to the Seething Village Festival (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Robin Hutchinson, director of The Community Brain charity and a key figure behind the festival, has been unable to contribute to the preparations as usual after undergoing a recent medical procedure.

However he was still able to partake in the celebrations, donning his parade costume and waving to passersby around Surbiton.

The Community Brain's director, Robin Hutchinson, explains the festival's origins to a passing police car (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Mr Hutchinson's recent medical procedure didn't stop him from waving to onlookers along the parade route (Photo: Oliver Monk)

He was joined by Councillor Diane White, Kingston's mayor, at the front procession.

Mayor Diane White took her place at the head of the parade, overlooked by a model of the folkstory's villain: a giant called Thamas Deeton (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Mayor White later accompanied festival-goers to The Lamb to attend the annual reading of Lefi Ganderson's story.

Cllr Diane White, Mayor of Kingston, listens to this year's telling of The Goat Boy of Seething (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Meanwhile, large tents in the venue's garden allowed for another reading catering to a younger audience.

A seperate telling of Lefi Ganderson's story took place outside in the garden of The Lamb (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Some in the crowd donned masks of the characters, such as goat boy Lefi Ganderson and giant Thamas Deeton, while others busied themselves at the nearby arts table.

One audience member was invited to wear a mask of the goat boy of Seething (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Seething Village Festival is organised by volunteers from The Community Brain, a charity seeking to build local community spirit through events, social enterprise, and more.

Local resident Caddy Ridewood and her young daughter Layne Hendrix watch on as the parade passes along St Andrews Road (Photo: Oliver Monk)


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