Creative Arts

Arts Festival 2019

A celebration of music, art, dance and drama, #KESFEST is three days of lectures, performances, workshops, literature, competitions, and displays, where creativity pervades all aspects of King Edward’s life, spilling out into the local community.

This years festival ended on a high and we all enjoyed some impressive numbers: 

  • 45 visiting artists came to the school over three days to work with the pupils
  • 1032 workshop places were filled by KES students
  • 202 Partnership school pupils took part in additional workshops and enjoyed our street theatre
  • 17 artists had their work exhibited in the Art Exhibition
  • 4 composers had their works premiered as part of the soundtrack to the festival
  • 25 5th and Sixth Form pupils made up the Festival Management Team
  • 4 competitions took place in vlogging, library, art and film
  • 13 members of KES staff ran workshops
  • 54 members of the KES assisted with supervision
  • 138 members of KES staff took part in a flash mob performance
  • 522 pupils enjoyed the festival picnic
  • 36 members of staff took part in the Staff Tug ‘o War teams
  • Pop-up performances took place at lunchtime and break times throughout the festival

#KESFEST is a biannual arts festival, hosted by King Edward VI School. The festival gives our students, alongside pupils from primary schools across the region, the opportunity to try new creative activities as well as attending workshops run by creative arts professionals. This year’s event includes sessions on physical theatre, djing, song writing, musical theatre, stage combat, African drumming, a capella singing, music production, photography, jazz performance and dance workshops with Omari Bernard. In addition there will be performances from the Pantasy Steel Band and the Techtonics. The festival will culminate in a street theatre extravaganza with aerial acrobatics, stilt walkers, bubbleologists, silent disco, rocket launches and a live gig of rock, blues and pop from our talented student performers.

Taking place from 24th – 26th June, #KESFEST 2019 features two very exciting public events, which are sure to be highlights in Hampshire’s cultural calendar this summer.

On Monday, there will be a lecture from internationally-renowned art historian, Martin Gayford. Currently art critic for The Spectator, Martin Gayford is also the author of acclaimed books on Van Gogh, Constable and Michelangelo. He has collaborated with David Hockney on A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney and A History of Pictures, and has co-written a volume of travels and conversations with Philippe de Montebello: Rendez-vous with Art. Gayford’s book about sitting for the painter Lucian Freud, Man with a Blue Scarf was hailed as ‘one of the best and most continually fascinating books about painting in recent memory.’ His latest, Modernists & Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney & the London Painters, has also received rave reviews.

Gayford’s lecture for #KESFEST will focus on a History of Pictures and detail his fascinating collaborations with David Hockney. It will take place on Monday 24th June, 4 – 5pm in the Dobson Theatre at King Edward’s, followed by a book signing. Tickets for just £5 are available in advance at

We are also hugely excited to announce that The Paul Jordanous Ensemble will be performing an exclusive set for #KESFEST, supported by the most talented jazz musicians from our own school community, at a special public concert on the Tuesday evening.

Trumpeter Paul Jordanous is one of the most demanded horn players in Europe. Having spent the majority of the past two years touring with Rag ’n Bone Man, Jordanous is currently on tour with distinguished tenor Alfie Boe. He’s bringing an incredibly prestigious group of jazz players, which make up his Ensemble, to showcase a range of pieces influenced by hip hop, R&B and soul as well as contemporary jazz. As part of our commitment to making such events as accessible as possible and promoting the best of creative arts in Hampshire, we have priced tickets at just £6. The concert takes place on Tuesday 25th June, 7:30 – 8:30pm in the Dobson Theatre; tickets available in advance at