Festival is launched at the apex

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The 2011 Bury St Edmunds Festival was launched in style last night as excited regulars met in the Apex and awaited news of this year’s program.

Festival friends and others involved in the event mingled with glasses of orange juice and champagne, while memorable photographs of last year’s Festival and some of this year’s most anticipated acts were displayed on one of the venue’s walls.

Commenting on the Festival, Cllr Lynsey Alexander, portfolio holder for arts and culture at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “It’s slightly shorter this year but it’s absolutely jam packed.”

And that feeling was shared all around the room as guests flicked through this year’s brochure which, Festival manager Nick Wells pointed out, is eight pages longer than last year’s, despite being six days shorter.

“I have certainly crammed it all in,” he said.

This year’s program includes Chinese music, a Congolese super-band, Cuban music, sting quartets, orchestras, brass bands and opera illustrated using puppets and circus skills, as well as films, art exhibitions, a flower market and a charity ball.

Outside, guests can enjoy street performers, gigs in the Abbey Gardens, the St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival, sonnet walks, Bury Busk and, as with last year, the traditional Beating Retreat ceremony will bring the Festival to a close on Angel Hill.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ve got the Hilliard Ensemble and Jan Garbarek,” said Festival friend Christina Ruddock.

Tickets go on sale to Festival friends on Monday and then to the general public on February 28.

For more information and to book tickets visit the Festival box office in the Apex, Charter Square, Bury, or go to www.buryfestival.co.uk or call 01284 758000.