Ipswich: Festival celebrating Beat Generation to be staged across town

A new literary, art and music festival celebrating the Beat Generation is being launched in Ipswich

A new literary, art and music festival celebrating the Beat Generation is being launched in Ipswich next month. Pictured: Event organiser Paul Fisk with esteemed poet Michael Horovitz. - Credit: Archant

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 string of fringe events at various locations across the town 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 captured the public imagination in the USA in the 1950s.

The Beat Generation quickly became a cultural phenomenon, thanks largely to Allen Ginsberg, who wrote the epic poem ‘Howl’, Jack Kerouac, author of ‘On The Road’ and William Burroughs, who achieved stardom with the novel ‘Naked Lunch’.

Festival organiser Paul Fisk, a poet and artist from the Ipswich area, said the movement inspired a generation of young Ipswich writers, some of whom are expected to return to the town to deliver stirring performances.

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“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,” he said.

“People can also witness the influence it had on a group of young Ipswich writers and poets in the late 1960s.

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“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.

Bryony Rudkin, culture portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council, urged people to attend the event.

She said: “This is a unique festival and a great achievement by Paul. It will rekindle many memories of local people and open a fascinating world of alternative culture to new audiences.”

Mr Fisk is also calling on volunteers and sponsors to come forward and help support the event.

He said: “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.”

The festival is being supported by the Ipswich ReCreate project, which is funding the use of the Town Hall and which has assisted with the planning for the event. ReCreate is supported by the European Union.

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