Bury Festival hailed as 'best ever'

ORGANISERS of a burgeoning Suffolk festival last night described this year's event as one of the best ever - despite being forced to cancel one of the top attractions on Saturday night.

ORGANISERS of a burgeoning Suffolk festival last night described this year's event as one of the best ever - despite being forced to cancel one of the top attractions on Saturday night.

Bosses of the Bury St Edmunds Festival said they had no choice but to pull the plug on a performance by top rocker Toyah Willcox just hours before she was due to perform.

Festival chief Nick Wells said heavy rain on Saturday meant they were forced to cancel the event - but described his elation at this year's festival, which closed last night with a fireworks display.

“We had a gig on Friday and the ground was a little muddy,” Mr Wells explained. “But then we had rain for about five hours on Saturday and it was just too dangerous to let people in.


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“We would have had people slipping and sliding and we just didn't think it was worth the risk. Naturally there were some people who still turned up and one or two weren't happy, but most knew we had no choice and Toyah was fine about it, although disappointed.”

Beginning as a humble weekend of words and music in the 1980s, the 17-day festival has grown into a popular fixture in the Suffolk calendar.

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This year's diverse selection of entertainment included classical musicians John Williams and Wayne Marshall, with Andy Sheppard and Clare Teal from the jazz world.

The festival climaxed over the weekend with the Greene King Festival in the Gardens - as hundreds filled the Abbey Gardens for a 1970s and 1980s night on Friday and the Salute to the Rat Pack last night .

Mr Wells said the tone was set on the festival's opening night when 300 local people joined in with African group Mbawula on a “fantastic” evening of entertainment.

He added: “It has been brilliant - from the opening night all the way through. I have never had such positive feedback and we had more sell-out events than ever before.

“I think we had a number of big names but we also achieved the right balance. I think the opening night, in front of thousands of people, got everyone in the right frame of mind.

“More than ever before, there seems to have been a buzz around town and a positive feeling about the whole thing.”

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