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Issue 291 – 2010: Another great year ahead for Frome!

A Formula One world champion, a stage of the Tour of Britain, being twinned with the BBC’s One Show, record breaking festival crowds… 2009 was a remarkable year for Frome and 2010 already has the makings of another great year.

“The fact is that 2009 in Frome is a hard act to follow,” says Mayor of Frome, councillor Damon Hooton, “but there is an awful lot to look forward to this year.
“We’re going to have the 10th Frome Festival, and we have a new bridge to replace the Bailey which we’re hoping will be in place for Easter. Hopefully there will be another Velo Jam and, you never know, maybe the Tour of Britain organisers will want to involve Frome again.
“There is an awful lot going on in our town and an awful lot to look forward to. Frome’s a great place to be this year!”

Looking back, and
looking forward in Frome

• Frome’s own Jenson Button became reigning Formula One World Drivers’ Champion. Jenson took enough points to secure the championship with one round to spare.
Jenson has now moved to multiple-championship winning team McLaren for the 2010 season. He signed a three-year deal for a reported £6million per season to drive alongside former world champion Lewis Hamilton.
• This year the Frome Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary from Friday 9th July to Sunday 18th July. Frome Festival 2010 will host classical, jazz, folk, film, drama and literary events, as well as exhibitions and workshops. Much-loved comedian Paul Merton will perform two nights at the festival. This year’s festival also welcomes comedian Reginald D. Hunter, whose stand-up show sold out for three weeks at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The American-born comic has also appeared on BBC4’s It’s Only A Theory, and alongside Paul Merton on Have I Got News For You.
The festival’s creative director Martin Dimery said, “This will be Paul Merton’s fourth visit. He seems to have fallen in love with the festival. Reginald D. Hunter is another coup for the festival. Phenomenal ticket sales in 2009 suggest we got it about right this year, which fills me with optimism as we look ahead to our tenth birthday.”
• The Cheese and Grain have some music giants in store for 2010, including legendary American blues guitarist and singer Johnny Winter in March. Also lined-up are Kast Off Kinks, made up of original members of The Kinks, and leading Led Zeppelin band Whole Lotta Led, both set to play in January.
Karen Harley of the Cheese and Grain said, “Once again we’ve got some big acts combined with some other favourites, including some great tributes and, of course, Acoustic Plus starting from February.
• Frome’s Memorial Theatre has announced several big name acts for 2010, including the likes of jazz legend Acker Bilk, and the band behind the anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, Gerry and the Pacemakers. Later in the year, the man described as “Outrageous, controversial, politically incorrect and shockingly funny” Jim Davidson will be doing a gig at the theatre while other stars including Jethro and Joe Brown are also booked.
• 2009 marked another busy year at The Merlin Theatre, with various clubs, workshops and youth groups and activities taking place at the venue. A packed out programme for this year already includes a January performance by Martin Simpson, described as one of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world.
• The Frome Amateur Operatic Society continues to sell out for its performances. 2009 saw record tickets sales for the group’s take on the cult classic film The Full Monty. This year’s pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has also been hailed a success. The group is now working on their next production, Annie, which will be performed in May this year.
• Frome FM has been broadcasting 24 hours a day and in 2009, the station commenced a service to stream the broadcasts to mobile phones. Phil Moakes, licensee of Frome FM said, “2009 saw the transition from being based in the loft at the Cheese and Grain to having a permanent base.
“This year we are hoping Ofcom will offer us the opportunity to get a full FM licence. We also have a lot of projects in the pipeline which we are hoping to get going with over the next six months, including audio book recordings. There are a lot of writers in Frome who may or may not be too fussed about getting their material published, so this will be a way of pushing their work forward.
“2010 is already opening the door on possibilities of community broadcasting in Frome – it is an exciting time.”
• Last year saw the 132nd annual Agricultural & Cheese Show organised by The Frome & District Agricultural Society. The show boasts one of the biggest exhibitions of cheese in the country, with suppliers travelling from near and far to be a part of it. This year, the show is set to take place on Saturday 11th September.
• 2009 saw Frome Town Football Club promoted from the Western Football League into the Southern Football League. The Robins have taken the move up in their stride, spending most of the season in the top half of the table.
• For the first time ever, the Tour of Britain came to Frome last year sending the local community into a cycling frenzy. This is a major event on the cycling calendar, and thousands of fans came to Frome to see the sixth leg of the race begin in the town. Local schools, organisations, and business got on board with several events being held in the lead up to the major cycling event.

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