Musical fest to go solo

A Fylde performance festival is lined up to go solo - and it is hoped it will attract thousands of visitors.

Thursday, 22nd September 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:04 pm
Cornelius Crane performing at the St Annes Music and Arts Festival in Ashton Gardens

The plans for the St Annes Music and Arts Festival, which has previously been held in tandem with the town’s booming Kite Festival, have been welcomed by traders’ representatives, delighted at the prospect of an extra self-contained event being added to the annual calendar.

This year’s festival, involving more than 20 acts on the Ashton Gardens stage through a Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday from 1pm in late July, attracted more than 1,000 people for the headliners each evening, while at least 5,000 are estimated to have been in the Gardens for at least part of the event.

Interest in the event from the public and performers alike delighted the organisers - and the fact that next year’s Kite Festival has been put back to September because of tide considerations clinch the idea of giving the Music and Arts Festival a slot of its own in the calendar.

The 2017 event will again cover three days, from Friday, July 21 to the following Sunday and organisers’ spokesman John Bentham said: “We’ve decided to leave the Kite Festival, as it is getting too big, and its need to find a suitable tide clinched it. We are better off within a couple of weeks of St Annes Carnival weekend.

“This summer’s festival went really well with 
good weather, and a nice smattering of food stalls and 

“We reckon we had more than 1,000 people in the park for the headliners, and at least 5,000 people walked through. We learned a lot and acts such as Robusta, Blaney, Tom Vernon, Mardigras Bombers, Cornelius Crane, April Moon, Tony Benedict and The Coustics, among many others, were all excellent. The aim is to concentrate on music and arts and we’ll get it better all the time as we concentrate our minds on the main thing.

“We want to bringing people in together to have good time, in good surroundings, listening to good music and we are really looking forward to the 2017 festival.”

John and his fellow organisers are currently looking for funding for the event, which last year received £1,500 from St Annes Town Council as well as a further £2,000 in total from various other donations.

“We made it happen with what we had but it would be good if we could generate five or six thousand pounds and we are looking into funding sources.” added John.

St Annes-based band The Coustics topped the bill on the final evening of this year’s festival and are keen to be involved again in 2017.

Band co-founder Liam McKenzie said: “It was great to be a part of such a fantastic event to see the whole of St Anne’s come together like that 
singing and dancing in a amazing location like Ashton Gardens.

“The feedback was great and it proves that people want more of these events in St Annes. We are really looking forward to next year.”

Arnold Sumner, co-ordinator of St Annes Chamber of Trade, said: “It is good to hear that the Music and Arts Festival is going out on its own and providing an additional attraction for the town along with the Kite Festival.

“Such events all help to bring business to town and the fact the musical performances are in the heart of the town centre is a real bonus.

“Ashton Gardens is a natural arena and it is the ideal setting for such an event.”