Hundreds attend one of Norwich's first big events since lockdown
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
One of the city's first large-scale events to return after lockdown was in full swing on Saturday as hundreds turned out to enjoy a host of exciting performances.
The Norfolk and Norwich Festival kicked off on Monday, May 17, and held the first half of its Garden Party Weekend in Chapelfield Gardens and also at an enclosed site outside The Forum on Saturday.
For most, it was the first opportunity to enjoy some fun with the family since last year, as such performances were only allowed to go ahead after the most recent easing of lockdown.
And that was enough to attract lots of happy, smiling groups to visit despite the gloomy weather.
The challenges of putting on such an event which co-operates with government guidelines and lockdown rules "have been endless, according to festival director Daniel Brine.
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He said: "We couldn't have international artists because they couldn't get here, but it's been an opportunity to include more local artists this year – we do every year.
"We're socially distanced, which brings a whole set of things that we need to do to keep everyone safe. People have been fantastic with that.
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"There are some things that are missing, but the vibe is still there which is really nice. It's different, it's not as big, but it still has that spirit."
Instead of taking over the whole park as usual, the festival has been split into three zones, allowing organisers to monitor numbers and ensure everyone is contact tracing.
But the additional measures were not off-putting for people like Helen Jackson and Hugh Kemp, who visited to watch hip-hop/circus trio Simple Cypher.
"We came for this particular show – It's brilliant to be out here. We don't have the crowds that would usually be here for the garden party, but it's still lovely, Ms Jackson said.
Mr Kemp added: "Seeing all the kids and the families come here and enjoy themselves, it's really good."
For Ruben Jolley, who has volunteered at the festival for a decade, it has given him a reason to visit Norwich again.
He said: "I've come into the city five times this week now, but before that I hadn't been in the city for a year.
"It's a whole new experience for all of us. It's something to get used to again."
• The Norfolk and Norwich Festival continues until Sunday, May 30.