Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Loogabarooga Festival

'Incredible Illustrations - Brilliant Books'

The Loogabarooga Festival is a new literary festival for families, to be held in Loughborough 22-26 October this year - ie the tail end of next week, our half term here in Leicestershire. It's thought to be the only literary festival that focuses on illustrated stories, and has come about because Loughborough is the birthplace of Ladybird Books, who celebrate their centenary this year. In fact, there's an exhibition in the Charnwood Museum which charts the history of Ladybird and shows some of the original artwork, as well as supporting talks by some of the people who worked at Ladybird when the factory was still based in town.

There are LOADS of activities planned during the festival days - some free, some needing payment - and all the details are on the website or facebook page. You can design your own book cover, go to a Mad Hatter's Tea Party, watch Nick Butterworth and the illustrator of Dennis the Menace at work, plus a hundred other things beside! Book benches have been commissioned and placed around town, reflecting some of the town's favourite Ladybird books (Remember Books About Town last year in London? Like those)...a treasure trail is planned in the can get festival food offers at certain restaurants...and the town has been decked out with yellow and purple flags. It promises to be an exciting week.

There's one thing I'm a bit sad about though. As a local author, I got in touch with the team to see if I could be involved; after all, I love books and Granny Rainbow's two books are illustrated. Although I was told my details were passed on, I've heard nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I even met one of the team in my local Waterstones branch when I asked them about getting involved; the lady avoided eye contact, took my details (again) and said 'the programme's sorted for this year. Maybe next?'

I wonder whether I should have pushed it more? Gone off and done my own thing? But everything seems to be going through the Loogabarooga team...

I'll try again next year, anyway... and in the meantime, I shall go and have a sit on the Cinderella bench in the market place, try and spot the book titles in shop windows, and take advantage of money off my meals - while spreading the word far and near that if you like Ladybird books and illustrated books, this might just be the festival you've been looking for!

Oh - and if you're wondering about how the name 'Loogabarooga' came about, it's because a lot of foreign folk have trouble pronouncing 'Loughborough'. It actually sounds like 'Lufbra' when you say it, but looks nothing like that on the page... You'll also see on the poster our famous Carillon war memorial (its green top can be seen for miles around) and the Sock Man, a distinctive town sculpture who pays tribute to the hosiery workers of years gone by...

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