I was saddened to read in Friday’s Bury Free Press (January 25) that the Bury St Edmunds Festival is this year being condensed into four days instead of its usual two week run.
That Cllr Sara Mildmay-White says part of the reason for this decision is to promote the council-owned Apex shows that St Edmundsbury Borough Council does not fully understand the purpose of the Festival. As a Bury resident who has attended many Festival events over the years, I always thought it utilised Bury’s alternative venues, gave as many people as possible the chance to enjoy the arts and brought a real sense of vibrancy to the town itself.
At Festivals past I have joined the excellent Sonnet Walks, seen lunchtime concerts at the Athenaeum and Unitarian Meeting House and got my dancing shoes on at a Brazilian Samba night at the Corn Exchange. Not to mention the rousing Beating Retreat on Angel Hill. I have only attended one Festival event at the Apex. While we do not yet know the line-up for this year’s Festival, I doubt whether four days will be enough to infuse Bury with that sense of excitement which normally pervades the town each May, or offer that same variety of acts. So yes, the council-owned Apex can host festival-style events all year round, as Cllr Mildmay-White says, but in my mind that was never the point of the annual event – it was to bring a diverse variety of acts to a range of the town’s venues and make the arts accessible to all. Or have I got it totally wrong?
Camille Ives, Bury St Edmunds