Introduced by Councillor Jo Rayner, the 2020 Bury St Edmunds Festival was launched last night at The Apex. Festival Manager, Nick Wells, presented us with a brief overview of what he and his team have organised to entertain us over the ten days of the festival which runs from 14th to 24th May this year.
The festival will pay homage to it roots in the 1980s by featuring a Words Weekend to celebrate words, stories and the art of conversation. These events are being run in partnership with Fane Productions.
The festival is as much about celebrating words and music as it is about highlighting the wide range of venues which Bury St Edmunds has to offer. Two of these are celebrating significant birthdays this year from the newest, the ten-year-old Apex to the oldest, by quite some margin, The Abbey of St Edmunds which was founded one thousand years ago.
Nick enthusiastically highlighted some of his personal favourites from a festival which features classical music, jazz, folk and other styles which just refuse to sit in any one genre.
Wine writer Oz Clarke will return to the festival with Armonico to investigate the relationships between drink and music. This was a very successful event when last Oz visited the festival at which time the drink in question was wine. The year’s featured tipple is gin!
Opening the festival at The Apex on 14th May will be the Aurora Orchestra who perform “Erotica by Heart”. Their take on classical music is that their performances are all from memory, not a sheet of music in sight:
Folk will also feature in proceedings with none other than our friends Alden, Patterson and Dashwood getting things underway at The United Reform Church on 17th May. The Milkmaid Folk club will be hosting a Festival Ceilidh at Risbygate Sports Club on 23rd May.
There will be Jazz too, featuring American Stacey Kent whose mezzo-soprano voice and five-piece band will grace the stage of The Apex on 19th May.
There is a sensational gospel-blues double bill to look forward to when the ambassadors of Malian music, Amadou & Mariam, join forces with the Blind Boys of Alabama to perform not just contemporary spiritual material but also works by Eric Clapton, Prince and Tom Waits.
At last night’s launch we were given but a flavour of the events which are coming our way in May. In addition to music and spoken word the festival will feature ballet, a festival walk and an exhibition of photographs by Geoff Price who spent twelve months at The Apex documenting the everyday life of the venue.
To find out more visit https://www.buryfestival.co.uk/