Watton Festival back with a bang next month

Music hall, art and local talent will on show at this year's Watton Festival which promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

The event, which happens every two years, is in its 10th year and will include a tribute to Flanders and Swann from Gordon Peters, who acted in the television sitcom Dad's Army, and David Carter, Danny La Rue's former musical director.

This year's festival finale will be a performance from Chris Smith's Big Party Band. Chris Smith played for famous artists, including Frank Sinatra and Lulu.

Margaret Denempont, who is on the festival organising committee, said: 'It used to be about local talent but it has grown. The public has been itching for other acts to come to the town. We have cast the net quite wide this year. There are more professional acts this year, compared to last year. It is more diverse.'

She added that the event 'pulls the community together' and attracts people from the surrounding areas to different types of art.

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The festival starts Saturday, October 22, finishes on Saturday, October 29, and the majority of performances will take place at the Queens Hall, Norwich Road.

A Breckland photographic exhibition will be displayed at the Dragonfly Gallery, in Wayland House on the High Street, and musical and Moroccan-inspired events will be held at the library, in George Trollope Road.

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The popular Junior Startime - showcasing local talent - will return where young performers, aged between five and 16, have the chance to win cash prizes.

Some 42 people from the town and surrounding villages have also contributed to the Big Picture exhibition at the Queens Hall - a piece of art inspired by Hazel Ashley, from Wells.

Derek Smith, treasurer of the festival committee, added: 'Every year it has improved. The mixture is events is pretty good. We always have the Junior Startime event, which allows the kids to prance around on stage and do what they want. It appers to be going well.'

When the festival was launched in 1993 it raised �2,000, compared to the last festival in 2009 which raised �10,000 and attracted about 2,500 people.

Festival programmes can be picked up from Wayland House, in the High Street. For more information contact Mr Smith by ringing 01953 884044 or Brenda Davis on 01953 881792, or visit http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/wattonarts

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