This year’s Bury St Edmunds Festival was enjoyed by a record 10,000 people

Rick Wakeman's concert Piano Portraits sold out. Picture: CHRIS MORRIS.

Rick Wakeman's concert Piano Portraits sold out. Picture: CHRIS MORRIS. - Credit: Chris Morris

This year’s Bury St Edmunds Festival has been enjoyed by about 10,000 people - a record figure for the event in its current format.

The Acropirates entertain with street theatre in the Abbey Gardens as part of the Bury Festival line

The Acropirates entertain with street theatre in the Abbey Gardens as part of the Bury Festival line-up. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI. - Credit: Mariam Ghaemi

Festival director Nick Wells said the 10-day event had been “a real success”, with much positive feedback about the range and quality of the acts.

The festival, from May 19 to 28, brought a wide variety of entertainment to the town from classical music and films to street theatre and exhibitions.

Mr Wells said, not taking into account previous festivals that had included the Abbey Gardens concerts, they had enjoyed their best ever income from tickets.

He said: “The most pleasing thing for me has been the most extraordinary feedback.


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“I have just had so many people coming up to me and stopping me in the street to express their complete delight at what they have seen and the range of things they have seen.”

He said one couple had driven from Cardiff for the ‘Harvey and The New Wallbangers’ gig while someone else had flown over from New York especially for guitarist John Williams’ ‘Hands’ concert.

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Mr Wells said sell-outs this year included ‘Piano Portraits’ by keyboardist Rick Wakeman and a concert by the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra.

The broad range of 59 festival events also included guided walks, all of which sold out. The tour Yarns on May 20, setting off from Angel Hill, explained the importance of sheep to the region.

There were also free events, such as street theatre and musical performances, that brought crowds to the town’s public spaces.

And young people from three primary schools got involved in the festival through a critics project where they came to five shows and wrote reviews.

The festival is currently 10 days, but over the years it has been 17 days and one year even dropped down to four.

Mr Wells said there are no plans to change the length of the festival in the future, but “nothing is 100% set in stone”.

He said: “The festival this year has been an enormous success. I was absolutely delighted with everything that took place, but I think ‘it was a shame we didn’t get more people in for that concert, maybe we could market it differently’.

“I think the moment you stand still people will get bored of it.”

The team behind the event will evaluate how it has gone to feed into planning next year’s.

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