Spectacular finale to festival

A RENOWNED arts festival ended in style last night with hundreds of people packing a Suffolk beauty spot for a classical proms night.

Dave Gooderham

A RENOWNED arts festival ended in style last night with hundreds of people packing a Suffolk beauty spot for a classical proms night.

Performing all the proms favourites, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra played out the two-week Bury Festival - with many people heralding it as the best ever.

Festival director Nick Wells said many visitors had praised the varied nature of the programme which blended festival favourites with music, poetry, comedy and special events.

Mr Wells said: “The whole festival has been great and we have had extraordinary feedback from people saying it has been the best festival ever.

“The audience reaction has been really positive and I think they have appreciated some real quality events.

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“We had a really good mix over the 17 days and some great nights in the Abbey Gardens which have been popular and fun.

“The whole festival has not just lived up to our expectations, but has exceeded it.”

The Classical Proms Night, which is sponsored by the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister paper the Bury Mercury, was held in the Abbey Gardens and featured soprano Rebecca Bottone .

Earlier in the day, and as part of the festival, the historic town was buzzing with visitors for the annual Bury flower and continental market.

The 24th annual festival, which started with the traditional beating retreat in front of large crowds on the Angel Hill, boasted a mixture of old favourites and the sounds of 16th century church music for the first time.

Other highlights included former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown who hosted a special evening as well as drive-in movies on Rougham Airfield, street theatre, a comedy club - featuring television and radio comic Robin Ince - and a jazz evening at the Angel Hotel Vaults.

The Abbey Gardens was also the venue for special music night when audiences were taken back to the 1970s and 1980s.