The Story

HillsFest is an ambitious festival of art & music in Hillsborough Park on 9th and 10th July 2016.

A little bit of history….

Cupola Contemporary Art celebrates 25 years of trading on Middlewood Road, Hillsborough in 2016 and wants to celebrate that achievement whilst also giving something back to the community that has supported the business over all of that time. However, after several public community consultation meetings and events it became clear that the people of Hillsborough (residents and the business community) wanted something much bigger than Cupola’s original vision in order to put Hillsborough on the map ‘for all the right reasons’.

What emerged from the consultation events was that the terrible football disaster of 1989 still coloured many people’s view of the area and that the area had become defined by this and other negative stories over many years. It was time for a change. Time to celebrate the area with an ambitious event. A local event with international reach. Feedback clearly indicated a desire to celebrate all things Sheffield but with a particular emphasis on the people, place and community that is Hillsborough. There were and are so many skills and talents in the area and amazing stories that have never been celebrated, shared or showcased in a public arena in this way. In addition, there was a desire from the local community to come together and collectively ‘heal’ the tragedy of all those years ago. Feedback showed that the majority of people felt that involving the Liverpool arts & music scene would be a way to offer a positive legacy for the relationship between Liverpool & Hillsborough. Importantly though, this was not to be the focus of the event. The festival wishes to show that the tragedy will always be part of Hillsborough’s story but that Hillsborough doesn’t have to be defined by it.

Therefore, the vision is as follows:

  • An ambitious arts focussed festival that encompasses history, heritage, industry, culture and community of Hillsborough in the wider context of the city of Sheffield.

  • A festival that celebrates and showcases creativity in diverse and myriad ways.

The festival aims to show how creativity is essential to ensure a compassionate, energetic, innovative, entrepreneurial and cohesive community.

The drive for the scale of this festival has come from the enormous enthusiasm shown by the Hillsborough community. A huge 76% of people who completed questionnaires offered to volunteer to make this event happen.