Gallery: Bury Festival gets underway with street theatre in Abbey Gardens and buskers playing in the town centre

Bury Busk, part of the Bury St Edmunds Festival. Pictured is Alicia Ann-Mills.

Bury Busk, part of the Bury St Edmunds Festival. Pictured is Alicia Ann-Mills. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The first “amazing” weekend of the Bury St Edmunds Festival saw a range of performers and artists appear at venues across the town.

Abbey Gardens Street Theatre. As part of the Bury St Edmunds Festival. Performing, Jones and Barnard

Abbey Gardens Street Theatre. As part of the Bury St Edmunds Festival. Performing, Jones and Barnard Variety Spectacular. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The 10-day arts celebration, now in its 30th year, started on Friday evening and continued over a sunny May weekend.

From an open air Street Theatre at the Abbey Gardens, to busking musicians dotted around the town centre and choral performances in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, thousands of visitors attended.

The festival manager Nick Wells has pledged to take the annual event back to its roots, adopting the same theme of the first festival in 1985: ‘words and music’.

He said; “It has been amazing so far. I have had some lovely comments and I hope people are getting into the mood for a celebration.


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“We have had thousands of people turn up, the cathedral was packed, St Mary’s Church was packed out. A hundred people turned up for a Cuban dance lesson on Friday before a fantastic evening of music. I would say two or three thousand people have been involved.

“I have told people to try something different – it’s a festival. Take the chance to see something you would never normally consider.”

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The cultural extravaganza is a collaboration between several arts venues and organisations, including the Apex Theatre, Theatre Royal, Abbeygate Cinema and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

Many of events are completely free to attend, like Saturday’s street theatre, and the festival is not short of internationally renowned artists and acts.

Mr Wells said keeping the pricing affordable was something he tried hard to achieve, highlighting the free events coming up such as the West Suffolk Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Golden Globe nominated film composer Jocelyn Pook, who is from Bury St Edmunds, was performing at the Apex Theatre last night, while comedian Stewart Lee will be performing on Tuesday at the Theatre Royal.

The final weekend is also set to feature a strange double bill of food and music from restaurant critic Jay Rayner, who will giving the audience an insight into life as a critic, before breaking out the jazz music for the second half, showcasing his lesser-known skills as a pianist. Jay Rayner’s My Dining Hell and Jazz Heaven will be held at the Apex Theatre on Saturday.

Variety and accessibility is a key part of the festival, which is why events such as yesterday’s Rock Choir in the Apex bar are completely free.

To find out more about the festival, and to get a full programme of events visit www.buryfestival.co.uk

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