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Issue 305 – What a festival! Record crowds and fantastic support for the Fabulous Frome Festival

The performers came, thousands turned out and Frome Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary year with a runaway success.

Organisers say that the festival saw record crowds at main attractions and ‘fantastic support for the whole ten days’, hailing the festival as a “huge success”.
Festival director Martin Dimery said, “We had more events, more ticket sales, and more major acts than ever before.
“They made us laugh, they touched our hearts and we, the people of Frome and the many hundreds who visited the town, made them feel special.
“The festival has turned our limited public funding into a virtue, balancing the books by presenting popular shows alongside more challenging work.
“I owe a huge debt of thanks to my colleagues and the volunteers who helped bring this remarkable celebration together.
“In its first decade, the Frome Festival has established itself as the most diverse and successful community arts festival in England.
“I look forward to the future of the Frome Festival with great optimism.”
This year, some of the country’s best live acts joined the party, with the likes of Paul Merton, Reginald D. Hunter, and jazz legend Pee Wee Ellis drawing in big crowds.
Hunter proved to be one of the most successful opening acts in festival history as more than 500 packed out the Cheese & Grain.
Frome’s MP David Heath, who went to several shows, said the festival had become part of the “ethos and culture” of the town. “From my experience, visitors who know and love going to Bath are delighted when they discover Frome,” he said. “The festival has become a successful part of the process of introducing the town to a wider audience.
“I suspect few other market towns this size in the UK could boast the calibre of acts that visit year on year. The festival brings real economic benefit to the town and I wish it every success in the future.”
More than 3,000 people turned out for the Frome Festival Feast held for the first time by the River Frome.
Martin Dimery commented, “We received lots of great feedback. People liked it by the river and who wouldn’t on a sunny evening in July. Thanks to everyone who came along, especially those who had come a long way. I met a couple from Doncaster, a birthday girl from Halifax and an eco-warrior from Canada. This remarkable town has friends worldwide.”
Martin Bax, who founded the festival ten years ago said, “I am thrilled that the festival is going from strength to strength and proud to have started something that seems to have gained an unstoppable momentum. Now the festival is under the inspired leadership of chairman Bob Morris and his excellent team and the talented guest director Martin Dimery.
“Picturesque Frome, with so many excellent venues, is the perfect backdrop and the success of the festival is due to the dedication of all those involved. The talented people from all walks of life, the incredible generosity of our local businesses and above all the public for the support they have given to the festival over the years, makes it truly their own.”
‘Japanese Tourists’ by Lexie Elliott from Putney, London, won the £300 first prize in the Frome Festival Short Story Competition 2010. Second prize went to ‘Watercress Makes A Meal’ by Rachel Crowther, from Oxford, and third to ‘The Question’ by Fiona Allan, Horam, East Sussex. ‘The Other Side’ by Jenny Gordon won top prize in the regional category. Short story organiser Alison Clink said judge Kate Harrison picked out the overall winner for its “many layers and quirky humour”.
Full reviews of this year’s festival events can be found at www.fromefestival.co.uk. For the latest news and other curiosities, follow the festival on Twitter @Frome_Festival.
The festival invites anyone who wants it to last another ten years to sign up as a Friend of Frome Festival. It costs £15 a year. Contact the festival office on 01373 453889

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