Stylish start to Bury festival

THE 21st Bury St Edmunds Festival was launched in style last night with the traditional beating retreat ceremony opening a night of entertainment.The rousing retreat was performed with the band of the Grenadier Guards who are celebrating their 350th anniversary.

THE 21st Bury St Edmunds Festival was launched in style last night with the traditional beating retreat ceremony opening a night of entertainment.

The rousing retreat was performed with the band of the Grenadier Guards who are celebrating their 350th anniversary.

The band performed in their full regalia before a huge ground who had gathered in the town's Angel Hill for the display heralding two weeks of cultural events in the town.

After the performance the crowd moved forward for the best views of the show in the Abbey Gardens.


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They were greeted by the 300-strong Bury Township choir made up of school children and local volunteers who filled the gardens with an African rhythm matching the hot weather.

The choir was led by the Mbawula band with their own brand of fusion Jazz and South African music.

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Nick Wells, festival organiser, said: “It has been fantastic - a glorious way to launch the festival.

“The 300 strong township choir made a spectacular sight and it was great to see so many people in the huge crowd enjoying themselves.

“I would like to thank Paul Bartholomew and Joyce Moholoagae who have been working really hard and coming up since March to get everything just right.

“I would also like to thank the 220 kids in the choir and the adult members who helped make the night so magical with their hard work and we hope to enjoy everybody's company next year.

“It has been fantastic evening to see months of work come together into one great experience.”

Paul Farmer, arts and culture portfolio holder for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “It was tremendous achievement and a huge boost to the town both culturally and economically.

“Bury really benefits from the huge numbers of people and it is great fun for everyone too.

“I enjoyed the township choir, which made a fantastic sound and of course the festival would not be complete without the beating retreat.”

“But as an organist and a former student at the Royal College of Music I already have tickets to see Malcolm Archer who is performing with the choir at StEdmundsbury Cathedral - it promises to be entertaining evening.”

Between now and May 28 various venues in and around the town will play host to all manner of music, literature, drama and dance events.

Highlights include street theatre in the Abbey Gardens this afternoon, the Brodsky Quartet at Ickworth House in the evening among a host of other events as well as Wayne Marshall and Natalie Clein on the Sunday evening at St Mary's Church, Bury.

Looking ahead other highlights include John Williams and Toyah Wilcox not to mention the ever popular 70's night in the Abbey Gardens.

For details of these and other events please contact the Festival box office on 01284 769505 or visit www.buryfestival.co.uk

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