Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World signals return to community with WestFest – and bigger event set for summer 2018

Rhythms of the World 2015. Picture: Harry Hubbard

Rhythms of the World 2015. Picture: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Hitchin’s much-loved Rhythms of the World is to signal its return to the community next month with WestFest, with hopes for a bigger event in summer 2018.

There was a huge outpouring of community support for the festival and charity at a public meeting last month, and there will be three community events held over the coming months.

The Rhythms of the World trustees have also set about building a new team for 2018 – and although plans are still at a very early stage, there is hope to return to the community with a bigger event on the traditional Rhythms weekend next summer.

Coming up first will be the ‘ROTW Neighbourhood’ live music and arts event WestFest, held at the Westmill Community Centre in John Barker Place on September 30.

The free neighbourhood event will run from 2pm with familty activities, arts and workshops – before continuing into the evening with live music.

Trustee chairman Michael Woodward said: “We’re very excited to announce this new event and rebuild for the charity.

“At last’s month’s meeting we had a clear message from the local community that they want Rhythms to continue.

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“Rhythms has been a constant feature in the Hitchin calendar for over 25 years – and although we are, in effect, starting from scratch, we feel that the core purpose of the charity.

“To bring the local and global community together through music and the arts is worth fighting for.

“Inclusivity, diversity and community are more important than ever before, and we want to be at the centre of that in Hitchin.”

Rhythms of the World has been on a hiatus since last summer, while a number of organisational and financial matters were resolved.

Once billed as the largest free world music festival in Europe, in its 25-year history Rhythms has had many forms, formats and incarnations.

The current trustees look forward to the charity’s resurrection and realignment with its core values.

As part of the rebuild, the trustees are on the lookout for new volunteers.

Trustee Phaedra Furphy said: “One of the biggest challenges in keeping Rhythms going and keeping it sustainable is local volunteer support.

“We’re looking for new and returning volunteers in performance, event production, finance and communication.

“Anyone that has appreciated Rhythms in the past, and hopes to provide a positive experience to the community in the future, should get in touch.”

For details on volunteering and more about what’s coming up in the Rhythms calendar, see rotw.org.uk.