Summer festival to expand next year

Abbeyfest - Bill Wyman and his Rhythm Kings''Pictured: Shakin Stevens
Abbeyfest - Bill Wyman and his Rhythm Kings''Pictured: Shakin Stevens
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RAIN clouds did nothing to dampen the spirits of music-lovers in Bury St Edmunds last weekend as thousands gathered for the town’s first ever summer festival.

The launch of AbbeyFest brought musical greats including Lulu, rock legend Bill Wyman and eighties icon Shakin’ Stevens to the Abbey Gardens.

Abbeyfest - Bill Wyman and his Rhythm Kings''Pictured: Bill Wyman

Abbeyfest - Bill Wyman and his Rhythm Kings''Pictured: Bill Wyman

Promoter John Hessenthaler said: “It was a fantastic weekend in a great location and we were very fortunate with the weather - the three nights seemed to build and build and build and we all left it with a real high.”

Friday saw Rick Astley, best known for his Never Gonna Give You Up song, join Lulu on stage, supported by Farming Babes, Twisted Piglet, JLS Experience and The Reason 4.

Saturday’s concert picnic party crowd were treated to an evening of Motown, soul and reggae music, with performances by Alexander O’Neal, Heatwave and Jamaica reggae legends ASWAD, while Sunday’s Bill Wyman audience enjoyed a line up of guests including Shakin’ Stevens, Rick Wakeman and The Strawbs.

“It’s great for tourism as well,” said Mr Hessenthaler, who is keen to expand on the programming next year, “the hotels were fully booked.

“It’s great to be able to promote an event on my doorstep and bring the acts into Bury that I promote all over the country,” he added.