A new literary, art and music festival celebrating the Beat Generation is being launched in Ipswich next month.
The month-long “Festival of the Beats” will feature a series of fringe events at various locations in the build-up to the main festival weekend – from January 31 to February 2.
Poetry, spoken word, film, live music and art exhibitions will be held at the Town Hall to pay tribute to a literary movement which took off in 1950s America.
The Beat Generation quickly became a cultural phenomenon, in large part thanks to Allen Ginsberg, who wrote the epic poem “Howl”, Jack Kerouac, author of “On The Road” and William Burroughs, who stormed to fame with the novel “Naked Lunch”.
Festival organiser Paul Fisk, a local poet and artist, said: “This is a unique opportunity for the people of Ipswich and beyond to experience a taste of one of the most influential cultural eras of the past 60 years.
“People can also witness the influence it had on a group of young Ipswich writers and poets in the late 1960s,” he said. “From their hangouts such as The Orwell book shop, the Vaults, the Gondolier club to them following in true spirit of the original beats and taking to the road and writing, some of these guys will be returning for the festival to talk about their adventures on the road and their memories of a bohemian Ipswich.”
Festival of the Beats will bring together the words, music and art of the period through second-generation beat performers such as Michael Horovitz and new contemporary performers from the area such as Joe Runnacles.Other confirmed acts include Attila the stockbroker, Luke Wright, Henry Lawrence, Silbury Hill and the Horn Factory quartet.
Councillor Bryony Rudkin, Culture portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council, added: “This is a unique festival and a great achievement by Paul. It will rekindle many memories oflocal people and open a fascinating world of alternative culture to new audiences.”
Paul is also calling for volunteers and sponsors to support the event: “We would appreciate any support to make this the best festival possible. We would love the people of Ipswich to embrace the different art forms and a sense of community.”
Anthony Wooding, managing partner with Kerseys Solicitors, which is supporting the festival, said: “This is an innovative and exciting art project, which we are proud to be involved in. It has been a rewarding experience and we would encourage other businesses to take part, too.”