30 August - 1 September 2019   #sofestival

About SO Festival

East Lindsey District Council in partnership with Arts Council England, launched a summer festival in Skegness in 2009, called SO.

The title 'SO' comes from the famous 1908 John Hassall poster which features the town's Jolly Fisherman dancing along the beach with the slogan of 'Skegness is SO Bracing'.

Since 2009, the festival has received significant investment from East Lindsey District Council and support from Arts Council England and now has established itself as the regions leading outdoor cultural festival with audiences of all ages that want to see stunning performances.

From 1 January 2015, SO Festival has been organised by Magna Vitae. Magna Vitae is a partner to East Lindsey District Council which provide significant support for the work we do.


SO Festival continues to develop itself as the most exciting, innovative and accessible outdoor arts festival in the UK. SO will promote and present the best festival arts and entertainment, bringing new audiences and creating new opportunities and experiences for the people of East Lindsey and beyond.

1908 John Hassall poster which features the town's Jolly Fisherman
1908 John Hassall poster which features Skegness's Jolly Fisherman.


Centred in East Lincolnshire we reach local residents and work with our partners to reach tourists from across the Midlands and Yorkshire. Engaging those not engaged in the arts we ignite their interest and enjoyment of the arts by providing opportunities to learn new skills, experience new things, and challenge themselves though exciting and unforgettable arts projects.

With a history of success, under a new charitable structure we will evolve to be the most exciting, innovative and accessible arts festival in the UK. By removing the barriers of age, health, social and geographical isolation SO festival will increase the number of people enjoying the arts. The festival will also contribute to the local economy and support the development of local artists and the creative industries.

We will remove these barriers by working with the very best regional, national and international artists to present the very best festival arts and entertainment and create a year round programme of activities.


Our newest Artistic Director, Jens Frimann Hansen explains how, over the next four years, he intends to focus on participatory work and linking SO Festival to both a UK and a continental European festival context;

"I am conscious that a lot of artistic work is not designed for places like Skegness; artistically, socially, and site-wise. To improve this, I will introduce an exchange programme with young European artists to work in public spaces throughout Skegness. I am very keen to start conversations with artists and organisations about my vision and ideas".

Doreen Stephenson, Chairman of Magna Vitae, says;

"We are thrilled to be able to confirm SO Festival's continuation and development from 2018. As the event moves into a new phase,we also plan to move the event timetable. By holding the event on the first weekend in September, we know that more families will be able to stay for the impressive grand-finale shows, which often have to wait until darkness falls to have the desired impact. This move will support the popular coastal resort in extending the summer season, as it frequently attracts many visitors from across the midlands and further afield.

"Jens brings a wealth of experience and new ideas, and we are thrilled to have secured his services as Artistic Director. Not only does his appointment mark a new chapter in SO Festival's development, it also brings about the creation of a partnership between SO Festival and PASSAGE Festival that will see both organisations flourish".

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, also says;

"We're delighted by the appointment of Jens Frimann Hansen as the new Artistic Director for SO Festival. With a range of first-class performance and arts events, SO Festival has become one of the best and most anticipated outdoor festivals in the region, and it'll be great to see the festival - under Jens' direction - continue to bring exciting new experiences and high-quality international performances to tourists, visitors, and communities in East Lindsey".

The festival will move to September, hoping to increase its appeal to the family audience. SO Festival's 2018 dates are confirmed as 31 August to 2 September inclusive; going forward, the festival will be held during the first week in September, through to and including 2021.


The SO Festival 2018 is organised by Magna Vitae. Magna Vitae is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales. Registered number 09078400.

Registered offices: Meridian Leisure Centre, Wood Lane, Louth, Lincolnshire LN11 8SA.
VAT Registration No. 198 2146 79. Registered Charity Number 1160156.