Dereham festival launched in a blaze of sunshine

Ian ClarkePlease take it away!With that simple message from town mayor Robert Hambidge, the 2010 Dereham Festival was officially launched in the beautiful spring sunshine on Saturday.Ian Clarke

Please take it away! With that simple message from town mayor Robert Hambidge, the 2010 Dereham Festival was officially launched in the beautiful spring sunshine on Saturday.

Dereham Band kicked off six hours of live music and entertainment in the Market Place and crowds enjoyed the wide range of cultural treats as the day went on.

A young people's performance workshop, North West clog group Fiddlesticks, The King's Morris, 1960s band Polaris, and jazz band Dixiemix also took centre-stage and Razz and Pearl the clowns ensured visitors had colourful headgear.

The festival continues this week at venues around the town, from a concert of songs from the shows to an evening of squit with Sid Kipper.

Mr Hambidge was delighted with the range of events during the festival and hopes it will help to develop the town as a cultural hub.

The town council is embarking on a major redevelopment of the Memorial Hall and that would help attract extra events to the town.

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"We are not used to this kind of continental-style feel of entertain-ment in the town but the more we do, the more people will want it. It will snowball and we can get bigger names to come to Dereham."

Mr Hambidge heaped praise on the organisers of the festival.

"They are Trojans and have been magnificent. They give their time for free and unstintingly."

He issued a rallying call for people in the town to back the festival.

"Come out and support it. The more we support it, the bigger it will get."

Festival secretary Dorothy Sneesby said: "It is an absolutely fantastic day with lots of people about and a great mood. We are really pleased."

Among those in the Market Place on Saturday was new Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman.

"It is fantastic and there is real new vibrancy about Dereham," he said.

On Friday evening, the first festival event was a classical music evening at the Assembly Rooms with soprano Meg Starling, accompanied by talent-ed flautist, Anna Hopkins and class-ical keyboard player, David Morgan.

On Saturday night, the Mid Norfolk Singers performed a world premiere of rock opera Exodus! in St Nicholas' Parish Church. On the same evening, about 150 people enjoyed a gig by Harley Street and Skasouls at Toftwood Scoail Club.

Further information about the festival is available from Dorothy Sneesby on 01362 694654 or via email to

Festival website:

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