History of the Festival

The Alde Valley Spring Festival first came into existence in 2009, having grown out of the annual Easter Retreat art exhibitions. These started in 2003 in a small cottage next to the church in the village of Great Glemham. The Festival welcomes small numbers of regional, British and international artists for both informal and formal residencies. It also celebrates the remarkable food scene of the beautiful Alde Valley in East Suffolk – one of the few river valley systems in England that is still superstore-free from source to sea.

The Festival Programme brings together a major art exhibition with walks, talks, gatherings and other arts, food and community-based projects. It is twinned with its sister Festival Pesta Nukenen in the Kelabit Highlands of Central Borneo and supports community work in the UK and abroad.

The Alde Valley Spring Festival 2015 explores a sense of place through a theme of "dropping down"  - of being present in the landscape and watching it, observing it; and translating this presence into drawings, paintings, music and the written word.

A small residency programmewas  started in early 2014 and this now welcomes artists and writers to the farm from the UK and abroad. Residency links are being developed with the Cill Rialaig project in Ballinskelligs, Eire. In September 2014 The Alde Valley Spring Festival launched a Flipside Writing Residency at White House Farm in association with Flipside Festival. This has been followed by a new High Tide Writing Residency linked to the annual High Tide Festival.

The Alde Valley Spring Festival operates as a small limited company. It was founded on the principle that the arts are a key component in a thriving economy; and that the interlinkage of local foods, farming and the arts provides a sound foundation for a truly vibrant green economy - most notably when combined with community-based ICTs and renewable energy technologies. The Festival works with a developmental model that is intended to be both scaleable and transferable, able to replicate in multiple locations.

  • The Summer Exhibition :

    The Spirit of '48  +  Here and Now.
    Sat 9th June Sun 1st July Details>


  • Local Places to Stay :

    Good places to stay within 1 mile of the Festival and farm : Crown Cottages, Great Glemham; Stable Cottage, The Grove; Alde Garden, Sweffling Details>


  • Festival Exhibition opening times :

    Festival open every weekday except non-Bank Holiday Mondays. If you are coming in the middle of the day there are good local pubs in Great Glemham and Rendham.


  • Free Entry & Parking :

    Free parking and free entry to Festival Exhibition and Open Studios [@ weekends] – come by foot, bike or car share !

  • Harry Becker Exhibition :

    Archive Exhibition about Harry Becker in the Farmyard Classroom with works for sale in the barns.

  • The Festival Exhibition theme for 2018 : Claudius ~ Suffolk’s Roman Emperor!

    Celebration of portraiture, life drawing and the figure in the landscape

  • New works:

    New works by over 20 artists and makers in the Festival Exhibition.

  • Festival Talks:

    Festival Talks with Maggi Hambling, Simon Loftus and Charlotte Howarth.

  • Farm Suppers with Peter Harrison:

    Farm Suppers with Peter Harrison each Thursday evening in the farmhouse Dining Rooms from Thurs 26th April – 17th May. Book early to reserve places.


  •  Eat on the Wild Side :

    Cakes, pastries and pies made with foods from the farm’s market gardens, hedgerows, pastures and woodland. Served and on sale at weekends in Hedge Quarters’ Tea Rooms.


  •  NEW for 2018 :

    More pop up exhibition spaces in the barns for The Spring Festival Exhibition.

  •  NEW for 2018 :

    New Workshop Residency spaces – open at weekends from 21st April – 20th May.

  •  Spring Festival launches 21st April:

    The 2018 Alde Valley Spring Festival launches on Saturday 21st April and runs until Sunday 20th May – come and visit us !


  •  NEW for 2018:

    Open Studios showcasing some of the best makers in Suffolk and UK : leather work, letter carving, chair-making, knife-forging, jewellery, tile-making


Works for Sale

We have some wonderful works by artists that exhibit at the festival currently for sale. Details >
The Festival Shop

Stocking a range of unusual cards, books, walking sticks and other handmade items made on the farm & by local artisans. Details >
The Suffolk Chair Collection

The Collection of original early – mid nineteenth century Ball Backs has been set up as a design reference collection. Details >

Icon Painting in the Alde Valley

For more information....
Details >
Food Adventures

We have listed some of the Alde Valleys outstanding food businesses.
Places to Stay

The Alde Valley and East Suffolk are full of good homestays, holiday cottages, B&Bs and hotels.
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