THE first ever Somerset and Exmoor Coast Festival has wrapped up with organisers already looking ahead to next year and growing the event.
The festival was billed as offering a new way of celebrating the unique and stunning coastal areas across Somerset and Exmoor.
It seamlessly wove together walking the coast with the beauty of nature, the rhythm of music, the vibrancy of the arts, the richness of local flavours, and with a little bit of history thrown in for good measure to create unforgettable experiences for attendees.
Organised by the King Charles III England Coast Path Trail Partnership, which is chaired by Somerset Council, the festival showcased more than 80 events over its nine days, focussing on the diverse coastal towns and villages between Porlock and Brean.
It provided a platform for locals and visitors alike to immerse themselves in Somerset’s stunning coastline.
More than 50 walkers joined the festival and experienced some of the region's most breathtaking spots.
From the serene beauty of coastal walks to the lively beats of musical performances and the artistic expressions of local creatives, the Somerset and Exmoor Coast Festival was said to have ‘truly lived up to expectations’.
Somerset executive Cllr Ros Wyke said: “It has been wonderful to see our beautiful coastline highlighted in this way, with local businesses and communities showcasing everything from art and nature to performance and poetry.
“We look forward to seeing the festival grow next year, helping to drive economic growth and development for years to come.”
Somerset Trail Partnership officer Isobel Pring, who largely organised the festival, said: “I am thrilled with how this year's festival has gone, it was a joy to see and hear people talking about our gorgeous coast.
“We are already gearing up for next year’s festival, which will take place at the end of September - final dates coming soon.
“I would also like to extend my thanks to everybody who participated, performed, and contributed to making the festival such a success in its inaugural year.
“As the curtains fall on our 2023 events, excitement is already building for next year's festival which promises to be even bigger and better.”
The festival ran concurrently with Somerset Art Weeks and the Brean Country and Western Festival, adding an extra layer of excitement to the celebrations in its first year.
Funding for the festival came from energy firm EDF, which is building the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, and it was commissioned by Somerset Council on behalf of the Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership.