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Festival Forever

Festival Forever was a National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) project, and the cornerstone of the Festival’s 250 anniversary celebrations. This volunteer led project had 3 principles; to research, record, and celebrate the history of Norfolk & Norwich Festival and the people whose lives it has touched.


Get Involved in Volunteering

We are currently recruiting researchers and archivists to join the Festival Forever project. You can volunteer for one or both of these roles where you will be supported by the historical author of Festival For a Fine City’s Rob Mitchell. These opportunities will enable you to develop industry-related skills, explore your historical interests, and meet like-minded peers.

Researcher – Uncover the hidden history of the Festival, from its beginning in 1772 all the way through to current day. We run bi-monthly archiving sessions at Norwich Guildhall with Rob Mitchell where you can access the Festival’s on-site archive. You can further explore areas you are interested in outside of these sessions.

Archivist – Build your sector knowledge and industry skills as we catalogue the Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s archive at Norwich Guildhall. Learn how to store, sort, and handle historical documents to ensure preservation.

If you are interested in finding out more about these volunteer roles, or getting involved in the project, please email


The History of the Project

In phase 1 of the project, Foundations Volunteers researched the first 100 years of the Festival. Focusing on its founding and development into a celebrated arts festival, their research culminated in an exhibition at the Museum of Norwich at The Bridewell during our 2022 Festival. Festival Forever volunteers received training and assistance from Norfolk Records Office, Norfolk Heritage Centre, and museum staff to bring this exhibition to life.

In phase 2 of the project, Foundations Volunteers continued their research into the full 250 years of the Festival. A second group of volunteers, Futures Volunteers, received training in film, podcasting, animation and more, and transformed this research into exciting content.

In Phase 3, the research and content from Foundations and Futures Volunteers was turned into the digital chronicle, allowing the public to view and interact with the full history of the Festival. The Festival Forever Chronicle is now live, you can view it below.


View the Festival Forever Chronicle

Festival Forever is a National Lottery Heritage Fund project, with thanks to National Lottery players.



Arts make life better

Norfolk & Norwich Festival brings tens of thousands of people together in celebration – it has been doing this for 250 years. Through our May Festival and our year-round arts education work, focusing on children and young people, we lead and support celebration, creativity and curiosity in communities across Norfolk and the region.

This year we begin an exciting new initiative, Festival Connect & Create that will bring creative opportunities to those schools and communities with least provision. Creativity transforms people’s lives. It builds cohesive communities, develops vital skills and supports health and wellbeing. We want more people to have access to creative opportunities.

Please consider donating to support and develop this work. With your help we can increase access to the life changing power of the arts.

Registered Charity No. 116442

Amount to Donate £ 0