Programme for the 30th Bury St Edmunds Festival is revealed

Festival manager Nick Wells
Festival manager Nick Wells

Trusted favourites and exciting new acts will feature as part of the Bury St Edmunds Festival which is celebrating its 30th year this year.

Details of the popular event - which will run from Friday, May 15, to Sunday, May 24 - were revealed at a launch party last night and, as Cllr Sarah Stamp said, show that Bury is a town that ‘punches well above its weight when it comes to arts and culture’.

Festival manager Nick Wells said he had looked back at the origins of the festival as a weekend of ‘words and music’ and chosen to bring together exciting pairings of words, music, film, dance, art and juggling.

Launch guests had their appetites whet with clips of Gandini Juggling with its added ballet moves and the Demon Barbers’ show which combines folk with hip hop and break dancing.

Queen of Swing Clare Teal will again perform with her Mini Big Band while the Black Dyke Band, recently crowned national brass band champions for the 23rd time, and professional percussionist Evelyn Glennie will be among other much-loved acts returning this year.

Local singers will get the chance to perform in a 200-strong choir with Global Folk (the successor to the popular Mbawula township chorus), while West Suffolk Youth Jazz Orchestra and Bury Busk will provide a stage for talented local musicians.

Multiple venues will be involved in hosting the variety of performances, including The Apex, the Theatre Royal, St Edmundsbury Cathedral, the Unitarian Meeting House, St Mary’s Church, Abbeygate Cinema, The Hunter Club and Smith’s Row.

“There really are things happening all over the town,” said Mr Wells.

John Stemp, a festival steward of almost 30 years, said he was most looking forward to seeing Cuban violinist Omar Puente who will be performing with his 10-piece high energy band.

“When I opened the brochure that’s the first thing I saw and I’m in heaven now - I just love Cuban music,” he said.

Festival friend Simon Spence said: “I think what’s great about it is it’s different from previous years, because it was getting a bit samey and, I think, Nick’s mixed it up a bit this year.”

Cllr Stamp, St Edmundsbury’s portfolio holder for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “The beauty of the festival, of course, is that it features local as well as national and even internationally renowned performers.

“It celebrates local educational and community performers and offers our residents and visitors to our town the chance to try something new, and, of that platform, I am extremely proud.”

The programme also includes a pop-up art town, street theatre, films, theatre, opera, rock, ‘fascinating’ speakers, guided walks and much, much more. To view the brochure online, visit www.buryfestival.co.uk

Tickets for all events will go on sale at The Apex, in Charter Square, Bury, from March 2.

Bookings can also be made through the website, by calling 01284 758000 or by emailing bookings@theapex.co.uk

Concert-goers will be able to order pre-performance light meals at The Apex bar, while the venue’s café will be open all day for drinks and snacks.