Cromer music festival comes of age

Folk on the Pier music festival with performances on Cromer Pier and around the town. Blair Dunlop T

Folk on the Pier music festival with performances on Cromer Pier and around the town. Blair Dunlop Trio in the Pavilion Theatre. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Cromer's annual music festival Folk on the Pier came of age this year as it celebrated its 18th anniversary.

And organisers revealed this year's event was the hottest yet.

BBC Lifetime Achievement winners Fairport Convention brought the three-day festival to a close with their headline concert on Sunday night.

And now more than half the tickets have already been sold for next year's event – before a single act has been booked.

Scott Buttler, who produces the festival, said: 'I can't actually remember one where we've had fine weather from beginning to end before, which has been a massive bonus for the general feel-good factor both with the crowd and the artists.

'It also helps attract extra people coming into town to enjoy the fringe events as well.'

The festival was hosted by the pier theatre and venues around the town over the weekend.

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'Quite a lot of the acts have played the pier and just love coming back, as the audience who follow them do,' Mr Buttler said. 'But you are looking at top players taking time out to come and play to a much smaller audience than they normally would because they absolutely adore the very special venue that it is.

'I did manage to get away a bit this year and have a quick look at the fringe and I did feel a buzz around the town, there were certainly more people about than I expected.'

A plethora a BBC Folk Award Winners made their first appearances at this year's festival. Fiddle/guitar duo Philip Henry and Hannah Martin won the 2014 best duo award, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar won the BBC Young Folk Award in 2013 and the Horizon Award in 2014 and Nancy Kerr won the award for Folk Singer of the Year in 2015.

Other new artists making their first appearances at the festival included the energetic blues, roots driven talents of the Jigantics and Nick Barraclough's Brokedown Palace, the John Ward Trio and Ruth Angell's new group the Froe. Suffolk based duo The Broadside Boys - who have spent many years entertaining audiences at the festival fringe events around the town - finally made it to the mainstage in 2016 to open the final evening concert.

Mr Buttler added: 'The general feedback is yet again this is one of the best ones ever and around 50 per cent of our audience have already booked their tickets for next year - before an act has been booked, which is a real compliment to me that they trust me to make a great show again.'

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