The History of WSAF

Warwick Student Arts Festival is not a completely novel idea - it made its first debut on 20-24 June 2004, with over 50 events. Since then, it ran for 11 further years before it stopped, with more and more success each time. Our aim is to bring this event back to campus, reclaiming the title as "Europe's largest annual student arts festival".

This page is based from the research of WSAF organisers Adam Skrzymowski and Josh Heng, which is based off what we can find online. Whilst we have made this as accurate as possible, there is likely to be things we've missed or got wrong - if you know more about the lore of WSAF or know anything that could be interesting, please contact us at [email protected]!

WSAF 20248-10 June 202450+-
WSAF 201521-24 June 2015130Facebook Page
WSAF 201421-24 June 2014-Facebook PageNews Article
WSAF 201322-25 June 2013-Website
WSAF 201224-27 June 2012100+WebsiteNews Article
WSAF 201125-28 June 2011-WebsiteNews Article
WSAF 201025-28 June 2010100+News Article
SPLAT-Fest21-25 June 2009-WebsitePress Release
WSAF '0822-26 June 200865+WebsiteNews ArticleScheduleTrailer
WSAF '0724-28 June 200777+Website
WSAF '06---
WSAF '0519-23 June 2005-Warwick BlogMusic Video
WSAF '0420-24 June 200450+WebsiteBBC News
Table of all WSAF Festivals

The Beginning

The first ever Warwick Student Arts Festival took place from Sunday 20th June to Thursday 24th June 2004, being described as a"spectacular celebration of the creative talent at the University, encapsulating virtually every artistic genre imaginable." This festival had 60 events involving around 700 students, ranging from a 'Paint Explosion' and 'Prom in the Park' to an 'Indian Raga Evening' and 'Stomp Style Percussion'. An article from BBC News also reported breakdancing, a 24-hour DJ marathon and Student Film Festival.

The next year, WSAF '05, featured a piazza stage and started with an hour and a half of "The Greatest Show on Campus", a combination of magic, juggling and music. This festival also included WSAF postcards and a printed programme, with hundreds of volunteers.

Poster from WSAF 2004
WSAF 2004 Poster
24-hour DJ marathon at WSAF '04Breakdancing at WSAF '0412 foot high outdoor screen at WSAF '04
WSAF '04 Images from BBC News
WSAF Amarillo Music Video

Perhaps one of the most notable relics of WSAF '05 was the WSAF Amarillo Music Video Trailer, which premiered to over 3,000 people at Top Banana (the Student Union nightclub event predating Pop!). This was reportedly Warwick TV's most popular video in 2008, and won the "Highly Commended Music to Video" award at the 2006 National Student Television Association Awards.

We can't anything about WSAF '06 and can only find very little about WSAF '07. However, we do know that WSAF '07 featured over 77 events and took place over 5 days so can only assume that WSAF grew and grew each year. We also know that while some events in WSAF '04 were paid, by WSAF '07 the full festival was free.

The Middle

WSAF '08 celebrated the 5th anniversary of the festival, and at this point was recognised as the world's biggest student-led arts festival. The 5th year saw a Guinness record attempt to make the longest conga line in the world, a Chinese carnival parade and a ghost tour around campus. By this point, annual WSAF traditions included an opening concert by Revelation Rock Gospel Choir and late-night outdoor film screenings by Warwick Student Cinema. WSAF '08 was also the first festival whose 16-page printed programme we can find.

WSAF 2010 Logo
WSAF 2010 Logo

In 2009, Warwick Student Arts Festival was temporarily renamed to SPLAT-Fest, standing for Student Performance, Literature, Art & Theatre Festival. This year was the first year that featured literature, with events such as a 'Writers Panel Discussion', 'Speed Book Club' and 'Poetry Slam' - in the first WSAF-related press release from Warwick University, it was announced that award-winning author AL Kennedy would headline at the festival.

WSAF 2010 introduced the Funday Sunday, a family day out designed to "celebrate the relationship between the University and the wider community."

WSAF 2011 took place on Saturday 25th-Tuesday 28th June 2011, continuing the focus on the wider community with events aimed at children and young people. This also continued into WSAF 2012, with performances from Music Theatre Warwick Juniors and a Community Creative Arts Competition featuring performances from Aces Cheer and Dance Club, Rhapsody Academy of Dance, Tile Hill School Choir and Finham Park School Choir.

2012 also introduced each day centering around a different theme: Community on Sunday, Creation on Monday, Collaboration on Tuesday, and Celebration on Wednesday. 2013 continued these themes but added a focus on 'urban and sensory themes.'

WSAF 2012 Poster
WSAF 2012 Poster

The End?

WSAF 2014 and 2015 are the last festivals we can find. Although we are unable to find much information about these or WSAF stopped, WSAF 2014 started using a Facebook page which still exists today, containing many images of what the last festivals were like.

But this is not the end of the story! 9 years later, WSAF 2024 is being launched by a completely new team, and we hope that this can continue for many years into the future. As you excited as we are, or has this page inspired you to help? Join our team!