Thousands congregate in Southwold as annual Arts Festival gets under way

This year's street parade theme was 'Take Flight'. Photo: Chris Ure

This year's street parade theme was 'Take Flight'. Photo: Chris Ure - Credit: Archant

Locals and visitors alike have been flocking to Southwold for the town's annual Arts Festival.

Particpants in Southwold Arts Festival's street parade. Photo: Chris Ure

Particpants in Southwold Arts Festival's street parade. Photo: Chris Ure - Credit: Archant

Now in its fourth year, this summer's festival was opened by its patron, writer and broadcaster Emma Freud on Saturday, June 24, in the presence of Southwold's new mayor, Matthew Horwood.

Proceedings got under way with a vibrant street parade based on the theme of 'Take Flight', before visitors were treated to a range of market stalls, musical numbers and street performances.

Saturday evening culminated in a stunning performance from 'The Simon and Garfunkel Story', and the festival is continuing this week with a series of events hosted by poets, performers and presenters.

Festival director, Lin Le Versha, said the festival has been growing in popularity since first being held in 2014.

The street parade featured a huge variety of fancy dress. Photo: Chris Ure

The street parade featured a huge variety of fancy dress. Photo: Chris Ure - Credit: Archant


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'This festival has been the best yet and has been so well supported by local residents and visitors,' she said.

'The two standing ovations for the Simon and Garfunkel Story on opening night have set the scene for other sell-out evenings with Pam Ayres, Lucy Worsley and Ronnie Scott, amongst others.

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'Congratulations should go to the team of volunteers who put together this outstanding week of over 30 events.'

Now a staple part of Southwold's calendar, the festival relies on the local community coming together and creating an atmosphere which attracts talented performers and eager visitors.

Crowds have gathered all week for the festival's entertainment. Photo: Chris Ure

Crowds have gathered all week for the festival's entertainment. Photo: Chris Ure - Credit: Archant

The opening parade is organised by the My Southwold team, comprising of many local businesses, whilst members of the public also contribute to the festival's planning process.

'As soon as the festival finishes, My Southwold will start planning for next year,' said the festival's publicity co-ordinator, Chris Ure.

'People have come to know that the Southwold Arts Festival is going to be the last week of June, so they book it off work to come and join the festivities.

'Without the local community, the festival wouldn't be the success that it is.'

Window displays follow the 'Take Flight' theme. Photo: Chris Ure

Window displays follow the 'Take Flight' theme. Photo: Chris Ure - Credit: Archant

The festival will conclude on Saturday with a thrilling performance from Mike d'Abo, former vocalist of 1960s rockers Manfred Mann. Tickets for some of the remaining events are still available from the box office on 01502 722572 or online at ticketsource.co.uk/southwold-arts-centre.

Patron, writer and broadcaster Emma Freud opened the festival. Photo: Chris Ure

Patron, writer and broadcaster Emma Freud opened the festival. Photo: Chris Ure - Credit: Archant

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