Bury St Edmunds: Diverse arts and music festival draws at least 7,000 people

Sierra Maestra

Sierra Maestra - Credit: Archant

At least 7,000 people have enjoyed a vibrant arts and music festival which will “almost certainly” be longer next year.

Bury St Edmunds Festival, which is organised by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, drew to a close yesterday after bringing a burst of classical and contemporary music, dance, film, art, walks and more to various locations around the town.

Highlights included Cuban band Sierra Maestra at the Apex on Saturday night, Verdi’s Requiem at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, also on Saturday night, Lesley Garrett at the Apex on Friday night, a ghost walk around the town on Thursday, and the Greene King Real Beer and Food Festival on both days at the Westgate Brewery Gardens.

The usual week-and-a-half long event was four days this year, but festival manager Nick Wells said “we will almost certainly be going back up to a longer length next year”.

Mr Wells said what had come across from feedback from audiences was “incredible support” for the event, with a strong desire for a longer one in future.

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“Everyone is saying what a shame it’s so short. I think it would have always gone back to being longer next year. I think it was to test the water in a way: do people value the festival, and they certainly do seem to.”

He added: “I think a lot of people worried it was sort of being wound down, but that was obviously never the intention, and I think the borough council recognises the importance of the festival to the town and the local area.”

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There was a relaxed atmosphere at the Greene King Real Beer and Food Festival where the offerings, such as ales, fruit cordials, organic beef burgers and fish and chips, tantalised the taste buds.

Families chatted while enjoying live music, and beer lovers could sign up to a tasting session with Greene King head brewer, John Bexon.

Claire Norris, events manager at Greene King, said about 2,000 people had turned out on Saturday.

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