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Frome gets into the Festival spirit

FROME is getting into the party spirit as the biggest and best ever Frome Festival gets under way this Friday, 5th July.

Organisers have signed up some of the best comedy acts and live musical talents the country has to offer, alongside interesting talks, exhibitions and workshops. And in a jam-packed programme of close to 200 events, there is something for everyone.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the line-up we’ve got this year,” said Martin Dimery, the Festival’s creative director. “And ahead of the official opening this Friday, box office sales have broken all records.

“They are the best I can remember, with a record number of sold-out performances and workshops.

“It’s great to see that it’s not just the big names and visiting performers pulling the audiences though. Many of our locally-based artists are attracting a lot of attention too. If ever there was a year to buy tickets it has to be 2013.”

What a line-up the Festival team have put together…Jo Brand. Phill Jupitus. Rich Hall. John Power. Ian McMillan. Prunella Scales. Ashley Wass. ‘The Turn of the Screw’. The Afrobeat Messengers. John Shirley-Quirk. Hank Wangford. Olivia Chaney. The Critters. Fat Stanley. Honk Monsters. The Frukes. Waiting for Godot. Fine Chisel Theatre Co. Eddie Martin. Hip Yak Poetry Shack. Frome Festival Feast. Dr Archibald Combellack.  Jack Klaff. And so much more…

“On offer is a veritable cornucopia of new, re-cycled, up-cycled and vintage events, together with the annual smorgasbord of truly outstanding musicians, writers, artists, sculptors, poets, comedians, actors, storytellers, pot holers, secret gardeners, literary agents, street artists and revellers,” added Martin.

“And the jam-packed programme means that there are still events with tickets left, or are free to attend on the day. From art exhibitions and workshops to live music on the stage or in smaller, intimate venues, the programme has something for everyone.”

Hot tickets for 2013

Tickets to see comedians Jo Brand and Phill Jupitus at The Merlin Theatre were sold out within hours of box office opening. Lucky purchasers took advantage of the Festival Friends’ ‘Early Booking’ scheme to bag tickets ahead of the crowds.

Official ‘box office’ opening day at the Cheese and Grain saw queues around the Market Car Park  from 6.30am as eager ticket buyers turned out on a Sunday morning  to get their hands on those elusive ‘tunnel’ tickets, their favourite workshops or top name comedians.

Heather Wride at the Cheese and Grain box office has noticed a change from previous years. She said, “The increase in customers has been phenomenal, particularly the first week. We had such an increase in first-time customers. The festival seems to have more of a buzz about it this year. I think people need something to look forward to.”

Customers have been arriving in the Cheese and Grain foyer buying a whole ‘wish list’ of events – hidden gardens, jazz brunches and collecting Phill Jupitus tickets. Heather has been kept busy helping them.  She said, “We keep selling out of loads of things. There are many more reasonably priced tickets this year and the programme is exceptionally good, there’s lots more theatre for instance. The festival really brings people together, and you can enjoy it for less than you think.”

With events selling in record numbers it looks likely that the ‘free festival’ will be well attended too. Open Studios featuring local artists in their natural habitat is always a big draw, and lots of the gigs at the Olive Tree, the Cornerhouse and the Griffin pub, showcasing excellent musicians, are free too.

Helen added, “Make Frome Festival 2013 a festival to remember. It’s still not too late to get those wish-lists together and come join us…the party starts here.”