ORGANISERS of Dorset Arts Festival are confident that a strict visitor cap and crowd control can ensure a safe launch for their inaugural event next month.

Whilst a number of large scale events across Dorset have been cancelled, Sculpture by the Lakes near Dorchester, the hosts and organisers of outdoor festival, say that extensive social distancing set in a vast 26-acre outdoor venue can guarantee visitor, exhibitor and staff safety.

The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus cast doubt over the launch of the Dorset Arts Festival.

However, as the venue has been given Government permission to open, the outdoor festival will take place as originally planned from Friday July 3 to Sunday July 5.

Organiser Simon Gudgeon said: “We’re very pleased to be bringing the inaugural Dorset Arts Festival to life in 2020.

“We deliberated over whether the festival should go ahead, but we’re confident that we can provide a very safe experience.

“It’s certainly not a mass gathering - we have sensible crowd control in place, acres of space and it will be easy for visitors to adhere to government guidelines around social distancing.

Over 40 artists and crafters from across Dorset will be exhibiting over the three days, with a number of workshops and demonstrations taking place.

Artists will be creating artwork on-site in their individual temporary studios for visitors to watch from a safe distance, whilst a number of artists will be painting the picturesque scenes across Sculpture by the Lakes.

Guests can expect to watch paintings being created, pots being thrown, jewellery being made and a whole range of other arts and crafts disciplines.

Jaynie Tricker, a painter and ceramic artist who will be exhibiting at Dorset Arts Festival, said: "I am pleased to be attending the Dorset Arts Festival.

“I feel privileged to be able to spend three days engaging with the public through my artwork in such idyllic surroundings.

“I’ll be bringing some of my paintings and will offer demonstrations and the opportunity for visitors to have a go themselves.”

Entry to the festival must be booked online via the Sculpture by the Lakes website to maintain social distancing between staff and visitors.

The Gallery Cafe is operating an outdoor takeaway service and accepting contactless credit card payments only.

Visitors must maintain a two-metre distance from other guests, exhibitors and staff.

To find out more, or to book tickets to Dorset Arts Festival, visit