St Mary’s Church has been a place of worship since the 13th century. Its spires stand tall above the buildings in Ashford, and can be seen from surrounding villages. But in recent years it has established itself as Revelation, an exciting and dynamic arts trust with a rich and varied programme. I caught up with Debra McGee, CEO, to find out more.
Can you tell me more about Revelation and the work you do?
Revelation is an independent arts trust established in 2011 . Our aim is to provide an ‘up close and personal’ experience and be the go-to organisation for arts and culture in Ashford, in real terms that means creating a vibrant and diverse programme that makes people want more, in an amazing and unique space.
What have been some highlights?
It’s easy to reel off some of the big names we’ve had, they include This Is The Kit , Courtney Pine , Seth Lakeman , The Orb but some of my personal favourites are The Craig Charles Soul and Funk Club, where the venue was literally jumping up and down, rising Kent talent with the fabulous Bay Rays and Ladybirdand magical evenings with Tom Mcrae and Villagers. And of course, coming up we have Huey Morgan of Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Terry Hall of The Specials doing DJ sets as part of Create Platform.
How does the partnership with Create Festival and Revelation help support the local music scene?
It’s a vital partnership! Create serves as a platform and showcase for the best there is in Kent and beyond and the Revelation stage is for me the most exciting space around where you get to see new and established talent. Revelation and has developed a reputation over that past few years as the ‘happening’ stage at Create , where you’re not quite sure what you will get but you know it will be good. Revelation is always looking out for emerging artists we can support back at the ‘mothership’ by offering paid support sets for artists wherever we can or performing on Ashford Bandstand, so Create and Revelation are always working together to harvest the best new talent and support and nurture others including training opportunities and advice.
How did you choose the artists playing this year?
A mammoth task of listening to over 200 submissions to play and we do listen to them all. The Create panel then comes together to compare notes and look at which act might fit better where and a few spirited discussion here and there when we might be fight to have the same act on various stages but eventually somehow we all agree and it just comes together.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?
So many! Tall Poppies, Marie White (who has just won the 2019 Glastonbury Emerging Talent Award) and our headliners The Fontanas with their fab blend of soul and funk and North America. Plus, of course, the festival headliners Lightning Seeds.
Blog by writer and journalist Francesca Baker @andsoshethinks