Festival launch strikes right chord

Nth Ascension performs on stage in Ashton Gardens for the St Annes Music and Arts Festival.
Nth Ascension performs on stage in Ashton Gardens for the St Annes Music and Arts Festival.

The disappointing weather didn’t stop people coming out in their droves to celebrate the launch of the St Annes Music and Arts Festival at the weekend.

Music, art and entertainment is the order of the week as the festival – which organisers say is bigger than ever – boasts a host of displays and events around the town centre.

And it got to a fine start, despite the rain, on Saturday with a fair, crafts and music in Ashton Gardens and the town council Headquarters, West Lodge, on George Street.

One of the organisers, Coun Barbara MacKenzie, said: “It’s so frustrating and disappointing that the weather decided to change right at this weekend, but despite that everybody who had been around us said they they’d had a good time.

“The fair was reasonably busy and the crafts at West Lodge were very busy.

“Everyone was in good humour and good spirits.”

The festival was officially opened by Town Mayor, Coun Viv Wilder, on Saturday, though festival goers were given an early treat on Friday night as artists Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale returned with their Caravan Gallery, which proved popular in St Annes last year.

The duo have since compiled a book of photographs and memories collected during their previous visit, which was on sale during the evening.

Coun MacKenzie said: “We put on a reception, which was really good as there were quite a few people there.

“It was a coup for us, getting the Caravan Gallery back and it was a real draw to get people coming into town.

On Saturday, Ashton Gardens was transformed into a hub of food, refreshments and music, though craft activities and face painting had to be cancelled because of the weather.

In West Lodge visitors enjoyed a craft workshop, and an art gallery was created at Unique Lancashire on Wood Street. There was also a craft fair at the United Reformed Church hall, St George’s Road.

Coun MacKenzie added: “This is really about giving local people a chance to show what they can do.

“We’ve got local musicians, artists and so on, and we just want to let the community see what there is and what it has got. We also want to bring outsiders in to show that St Annes is a place where things happen and where people can have a good time.”

Yesterday, Lytham Proms Orchestra performed at the Lifeboat House on the sea front. Today A Passion of Poetry will be held at the Masonic Hall on Garden Street, featuring performance poetry and a musical interlude by “Dr Hotfingers”, and the Big Sing of people’s favourite hymns will take place at St Thomas’ Church at 7.30pm.

Throughout the week there will be displays by the Fylde Decorative Fine Art Society and historian Peter Shakeshaft, and on Thursday The Jubilee String Quartet will perform at The White Church in Fairhaven.