Great Yarmouth’s arts festival enjoys debut success

GREAT Yarmouth's debut arts festival has been hailed a fledgling success after helping to paint an alternative picture of the town.

Organisers of the three week event, which came to a close on Saturday, were keen to showcase the resort's rich artistic talent and historic side, as well as raising the profile of the landmark Minster - one of the town's most important buildings.

And the event was lauded for completing its artistic aims after visitors and locals said the packed programme - of music, art and heritage workshops - had opened their eyes to the town's history and homegrown artists and shown them a different side to the seaside resort.

It also brought scores of visitors into the Minster after the signature exhibition, which was held at the church throughout the festival, attracted 3,000 people from across Norfolk, Suffolk and further afield.

Hugh Sturzaker, festival chairman, said: 'I think it has shown another side to Yarmouth.

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'One of the aims was to raise the profile of the Minster not just as a place of worship and that's certainly been successful. All the visiting artists have said what a magnificent building it is and many want to come back.

'I think it's also helped bring the congregations of churches in Yarmouth together.'

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Mr Sturzaker admitted there had been some elements that had not proved to be as strong as hoped - such as contributions from the town's international population and getting youngsters into performances - but these were areas to be worked on for future festivals, and several people have already come forward to help bolster its position in the town's annual calendar.

He added: 'Getting it started is the difficult thing but hopefully it has got a little bit of a reputation, which might help it do better in future.

'It's been good but I'd like to build on it. If you look at the Out There festival; five years ago it was tiny and now it's an amazing, vast organisation.

'We're now going to sit down and decide how we could do better, what were the good points and what should be the future.'

Mr Sturzaker wished to thank all the individuals, firms and groups that had supported and sponsored the festival, including Gardline and the Mercury.

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