Countdown to opening night

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WITH the opening just weeks away, Bury St Edmunds Festival manager Nick Wells is busy working on the finishing touches.

And one of the things he is most excited about this year is the inclusion of Bury’s latest music venue, The Apex, which will serve as a hub of activity.

“I think The Apex is opening up a whole new world of opportunities for the Festival and it’s enabling me to bring a whole new kind of musician,” said Nick.

“It’s going to help create a new buzz and fuss about the Festival. I’m already looking forward to putting more and more musicians in there because everyone we’ve had so far has loved it.”

Already, more than 80,000 Festival tickets have been sold, with the Who Lived Here and Victorian Bury St Edmunds Festival walks the first events to sell out.

Nick is certain that the Festival’s opening act, Congolese band Staff Benda Bilili, and its second tribute act in the Abbey Gardens, Take That and Robbie, will also soon sell out as they are proving popular choices with Festival-goers.

The Festival has been shortened this year from 17 days to 11, but Nick is certain that despite being ‘different’ ‘it’s going to feel more fun’.

He said: “The Festival’s changed this year but I think everything needs to develop and change. If it was still doing everything it was doing when I first started that wouldn’t be right for the Festival – if things don’t change they wither. I think the Festival has to keep on developing and stay fresh – it’s only by keeping things fresh that things live on.”

So at what point will the nerves involved in putting on such a large and important event disappear?

“All the weeks of trials and tribulations about putting on the Festival go away when you see a standing ovation – it’s fantastic to see people having a good time and enjoying themselves,” said Nick.

To book tickets, visit the Festival box office in The Apex, Charter Square, go to or call 01284 758000.

n See the Bury Free Press for the duration of the Festival – and our website – for the latest news and reviews from the 2011 event.