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Issue 331 – WHAT A FESTIVAL! Record crowds and fantastic support for the fabulous Frome Festival

THOUSANDS of people turned out to support all the entertainers and events at this year’s Frome Festival, with organisers now celebrating the festival’s 11th year as a runaway success.

Festival creative director, Martin Dimery praised the town for its fantastic support of the event and says he has huge optimism for its continued future success.
“The festival opened to an amazing record crowd on Friday 8th of July,” he said. “We had so many fantastic sold out acts and a higher percentage in ticket sales than last year – it’s incredible.
“It was not just the big name events and acts that sold well, the hidden garden walks and talks were also very well attended.
“One of the great aspects of the festival is that the people of Frome are fully behind it. We saw gnomes fishing on Cheap Street and mountaineers on Catherine Hill, these were people who really got into the Frome Festival spirit. In its first decade, the Frome Festival established itself as the most diverse and successful community arts festival in England.
“We received lots of great feedback. I spoke to a couple who had travelled from Glasgow to spend a couple of days at the festival. The message that I picked up on was that for a town the size of Frome, the quality of performers stands in comparison to much bigger, better funded festivals.
“The people of Frome made all the acts feel special.
“Thanks to everyone who came along, everyone in the Frome Festival office and the stewards who made this all possible. I owe a huge debt of thanks to my colleagues and the volunteers who helped bring this remarkable celebration together.
“I can safely say that there will be a festival next year, but for now, all those involved will enjoy some rest. 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 Turin Brakes, Cara Dillon and comedian Lucy Porter drawing in big crowds.
Turin Brakes proved to be one of the most popular events in festival history as more than 800 people packed the Cheese & Grain venue.
Martin Dimery commented, “You couldn’t get any more in there – it was a great performance by a popular band.”
This year, more than 3,000 people turned out for the Frome Festival Feast, which is now in its second year at its Market Yard location.
“We were forced by financial and organisational considerations to move the feast from the town centre to the Market Yard last year,” said Martin Dimery. “We were granted a bigger area for the crowd and stalls, and opening the Cheese and Grain gave better access between different areas of the car park. There was more space for stalls than before and people seemed to want to stay all night.”
Keith Brindle, of the HOPE combined churches charity, which helps set out and clear up the Food Feast said, “It was definitely busier than any previous Food Feast we’ve helped organise in the last four years. HOPE also organised a bucket collection for the Disasters Emergency Committee to assist the African famine and raised over £575.”
Rik Lyall, whose Milk Street Brewery took one of the stands said the response was “fantastic”, and many food stalls sold out, thanks in part to the good weather encouraging people to stay and enjoy the entertainment.
‘Wake’ by Jacqueline Molloy won the ‘main section’ of the short story competition 2011 which will see her story sent to literary agent Jane Judd who will offer feedback. Second: ‘Mr Plumb’ by Stanley Walinets. Third: ‘Barry Island Survivors’ by David Aldus.
‘Top Table’ by Diane Simmons won first place in the ‘local section’. Second: ‘Uncommon Entrance’ by France Davenport. Third: ‘Women in Transit’ by Angela Everitt.
Full reviews about this year’s festival events can be found at www.fromefestival.co.uk

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