Festival fever poised to flow through town

ORGANISERS of one of the region’s best-loved festivals are busy making the final preparations for tonight’s grand opening.

Sponsored and supported by the EADT, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Bury St Edmunds Festival.

Acts during the three-week cultural bonanza range from well known figures like soprano Lesley Garrett, comedian Al Murray and the band The Dubliners to less well known acts such as Mbawula, the Stan Tracey Octet and Monica Vasconcelos.

The festival begins tonight with a Madness and Queen tribute night in the Abbey Gardens - an event sponsored by the EADT. The night will include a fireworks display.

Festival manager Nick Wells said he was delighted with the line up and preparations for the event.

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“It is going really well,” he said. “We have tried to provide a good mix between the very well known such as Lesley Garrett and Ade Edmondson, which helps raise the profile of the festival in peoples’ eyes and the less well known and more unusual.”

Of all the acts, shows, displays and events planned this year, Mr Wells said the one he found most intriguing was that by cellist Natalie Clein at Ickworth on May 28.

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Called “Resonances”, audiences will be taken around various rooms at the historic house where a sound installation will pulsate with specially composed music and spoken words, culminating in a solo performance by Clein.

“These sorts of things don’t come along very often and she will be bringing Ickworth to life,” Mr Wells said.

Also for the first time this year will be a musical performance at 11am. Mr Wells said the”coffee concert” was a brand new concept for the festival. Njabulo Madlala and Nathan Williamson will be playing at the Athenaeum in Bury from 11am.

Asked whether there might ever be any music performances started even earlier, Mr Wells said: “Do you mean like breakfast with Bach, bacon butty with Beethoven or muffins with Mozart? It is something we have thought about - so who knows.”

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