Watch out for Bob Marley at Gig in the Park

Victoria Leggett A giant Bob Marley balloon hovering above Halesworth marked the beginning of a weekend of music in the town.Gig in the Park kicks off today and will treat a small but enthusiastic audience to three days of bands and solo artists.

Victoria Leggett

A giant Bob Marley balloon hovering above Halesworth marked the beginning of a weekend of music in the town.

Gig in the Park kicks off today and will treat a small but enthusiastic audience to three days of bands and solo artists.

Now in its 11th year, the event may only have a capacity of 3,000 - dwarfed by Latitude which took place two weeks ago near Southwold - but it still attracts a top line-up.

Headlining this evening is 1960s American soul-star Geno Washington, who is returning to the park after appearing in 2006; main support is from Pauline Black, who as lead singer with the Selecter was alongside the Specials AKA at the forefront of the Two-Tone scene. Also on tonight's bill are art-rockers Audioporn - making a popular return after a storming set last year - the Fuzz and the Amplifier Project Showcase.

The Blockheads and Hugh Cornwall both take centre stage on Saturday; other bands include the Bollywood Brass Band, Six Degrees of Separation , Canine Feline and International Trust.

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On Sunday, Lee Vasey and his big band hope to get people dancing as they round off the festivities in Halesworth town park. Support including John Ward and Mario Price and Sam and Daisy.

As well as the main stage, intermediate stage and jungle stage - featuring music, dance and comedy from some home-grown talent - Gig in the Park is introducing a new arena which will entertain the audience during breaks between acts on the main stage.

Throughout the weekend, a helium-filled hot air balloon will float 200ft above the site. The balloon, which first appeared in the Halesworth sky yesterday, has a huge picture of reggae-icon Bob Marley on it and was made for his last tour in 1980. It has not been used in public since his death.

Andy Graham, from Gig in the Park, said: “It's probably about the size of a small touring caravan. It takes quite a lot of expertise to fill it with helium and tether it down so it can't fly off.”

A few tickets for this weekend are still available and can be bought on the gate. Weekend tickets cost £38 for an adult, £23 for under-14s or £90 for a family. Tickets for individual days are also available.

Tickets from Halesworth Bookshop and Ipswich Building Society (Halesworth), Morlings (Lowestoft), Saxon Alternative Therapy (Beccles) and the UEA box office (01603 508050, www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk).

t www.giginthepark.co.uk