Hunstanton’s hugely popular Lifestyles Festival returns this year from 19-21 September after a one-year absence.
The free event, staffed by volunteers, draws more than 12,000 festival goers to the West Norfolk coast, and showcases activities such as kitesurfing, parkour, live music, BMXing, plus the ever-popular Volkswagen show.
Lifestyles has been running since 2005, but last year the event had to be cancelled because of funding and management problems. But with a new management team on board, festival goers voting with their wallets by helping raise more than £20,000 through a public fundraising campaign, and a new headline sponsor in Highline Extreme – Lifestyles looks set to be back with a bang.
In addition to the usual activities and musical entertainments, this year’s Lifestyles will feature the work of local street artists – with an appropriately Lifestyles-friendly artwork up for grabs in a fundraising auction. Lifestyles’ arts co-ordinator is Ruddy Muddy who achieved national media coverage for his ‘grafilthy’ artwork, designs drawn in the dirt on the side of muddy vehicles, has offered up one of his pieces in a bid to further help the Lifestyles cause.
The artwork features internationally-renowned, Guinness World Record holding BMX freestyler Matti Hemmings, whose work has been used by organisations such as Adidas, Disney and MTV, he also rode with the Olympic relay in 2012 and came to launch the Lifestyles appeal in March of this year, showcasing tricks to young riders at the Shed Skatepark in King’s Lynn in a bid to raise awareness of the cause. People
can bid on the auction by visiting www.lifestylesfestival.co.uk.
Lifestyles chairman Liz Pendleton said she hoped the auction would be popular as it featured something so relevant to the thinking of the Festival and its attendees. “Lifestyles is something really different, and that’s why we wanted to save the event,” she explained. “Ruddy Muddy’s way of working, is really different too – in tune with our audience, so we all hope there’ll be plenty of bidders.”
Extreme climbing, free running, BMXing and skateboarding are all on offer, both as spectator sports and for newcomers wanting to have a try or learn more. Festival goers will also be able to watch local and national kitesurfers show off their incredible skills and begin their kite career with free have-a-go power kiting sessions.
In addition to public funding, support has also come from groups and organisations including the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk which has given permission to use its land for free, and will be providing resort staff to assist the volunteers during Lifestyles. Backing has also come from headline sponsors Highline Extreme, Lingo Design, Hunstanton Watersports, Chicago’s, Barking Dog Media, New IT and Park Resorts, but the Festival is always happy to talk to potential new backers.
The event’s popularity brings a huge influx of visitors to Hunstanton, and for that reason Lifestyles 2014 will not be able to offer public camping facilities but Miss Pendleton said the festival is offering campervan and caravan spaces at the town’s Manor Park. “Having last year off allowed us to reassess some things, and this is one decision we were forced to make,” she said. “But Hunstanton and the surrounding area has so many great places to stay, I’m sure festival goers from out of town will be able to find somewhere – and if that helps the local economy as well, then it’s got to be good news for everybody.”