Free festival will showcase artists

THOUSANDS of people are set for a day of music and arts enjoyment as the Colchester Free Festival makes a welcome return.

The event in Castle Park is a celebration of the town’s thriving arts scene and all the acts taking part have given their time free of charge.

All the bands and artists live either in Colchester or the surrounding borough and the event has rapidly gone from an idea in December last year to fruition at today’s festival.

Ben Howard, of Keep Colchester Cool, launched a Facebook campaign called “Colchester deserves a FREE outdoor Music & Arts Festival”. The 38-year-old PR company owner said he was blown away with the response to the group.

He said: “There is so much going on in Colchester’s different venues and really this is a celebration of the town and for the people who have put in all the hard work throughout the year, week-in, week-out.

“I did not expect it to happen this year but the momentum around it has grown so quickly – within days I realised we were onto something.

“With the Facebook groups you can put the feelers out there and some don’t take off but this one really did.”

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Mr Howard said the organisers had been liaising with the teams who have put together other festivals for towns in the area such as Brightlingsea, Wivenhoe and Kelvedon and benefiting from the lessons they have learned.

“We have heard from people all over the country who want to play, but this is a celebration of Colchester’s music and arts.

“We are already talking about next year’s event – we have gone through such a learning experience and it would be an absolute shame if we did not put it to good use for next year.”

He said he was particularly pleased with the Kidstival which would be providing a host of activities for youngsters including donkey rides and a world record attempt.

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