Wiltshire Publications

Onwards and upwards for biggest ever Westbury Festival

WESTBURY’S most jam-packed Music and Arts Festival has come to a close for another year, and was hailed another big success by organisers.

This year’s festival – the eighth – boasted around 50 events spread across over 15 venues during September and October. A huge range of music, workshops, talks, walks and art were on offer to suit all tastes.

The string of events finished on Sunday 11th October with a performance from Frome Swing Band at the Paragon Hall.

Chair of the festival Ian Cunningham said, “This year we had more events than ever before, with old favourites mixed in with a host of new. Many events were free or at very low costs, thanks to kind support by many groups and businesses including our principal sponsors HPH Commercial and the Hills Group, with support from Wiltshire Council and Westbury Town Council.

“Visitor feedback was very positive throughout the festival and the performers have generally enjoyed the events and been surprised by the enthusiasm.

“As every year, we are very grateful to too many people, groups and businesses to name them all and, of course, for the support from those who came to the events.

“It’s hard to pick highlights but we were particularly pleased by a new venture – a series of ten free lunchtime concerts in All Saints Church arranged by Gareth Bennett, director of music at the church.

“These had audiences of up to 140 and were supported by Bitham Brook, Westbury Leigh and Westbury Junior schools with audience members ranging from eight months to 98 years of age! Over the two weeks something like 800 people came through the church doors which was amazing.

“We haven’t yet done a final analysis of figures but our feeling is that most events did well. Even those which turned out to be up against important rugby matches still attracted an audience, but not always as many as we would have hoped. We were grateful to the England team for helpfully exiting the tournament as soon as they were made aware of the clash!

“For 2016 we already have some acts that want to come back. We hope that we can do another Gilbert & Sullivan; the lunchtime concerts in All Saints which were such a hit are already booked in, and we are hoping to have the winner of the Matravers Young Musician of the Year perform at next year’s festival.

“As always, the festival relied on a huge amount of work, especially in the six weeks around the festival, from a team of volunteers on the committee; if you’d like to join us next year please email me on ian  festival@c-and-o.co.uk.”