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Southwell Music Festival : Town on the national stage

Festival performers include pianist James Baillieu, left, andcomposer and organist Matthew Martin
Festival performers include pianist James Baillieu, left, andcomposer and organist Matthew Martin

Pubs, cafés and restaurants in Southwell are set to benefit from an influx of visitors to the town’s five-day music festival, which begins today.

More than 70 performers will take part in Southwell Music Festival.

The event, founded by Mr Marcus Farnsworth, attracts world-class musical performers from the UK and Europe.

Festival president Mr Geoffrey Bond said: “The festival is in its fourth year and it has got a national reputation.

“It has been described by critics such as Hugh Canning, music critic at the Sunday Times, as already equalling more established modern festivals.

“Apart from that, it is hugely welcomed by the town as a community event.

“It brings people in from all over the country, which has to be good for the shops, cafés and restaurants. The town has an enormous buzz to it.”

Mr Bond said the festival would appeal to audiences of all ages.

“It brings the top young musicians from London who are on their way to fame and fortune,” he said.

“We have a concert by the now-famous Sheku Kanneh-Mason, from Nottingham, who was BBC Young Musician Of The Year last year.

“The festival’s reputation has spread and for this small country town it brings in huge benefits commercially.”

'A big occasion for the town'

Mr Bond said the festival could go on to gain an international reputation.

Town council vice-chairman Mrs Lyn Harris said the festival was great for Southwell’s businesses.

She said: “It is a big occasion for the town and brings in a lot of people.

“We are so privileged to have this music event in Southwell. The quality of musicians and singers is incredible.

“We have people locally who come and support it, we have people who come for the day, and people come to stay too.

“For some people coming to the festival, it might be their first time in Southwell and they might think it is a lovely place and come back again.

“It benefits Southwell in so many ways.”

The centrepiece of the five-day programme is an all-Mozart concert on Saturday at 7.30pm.

Half of the 28 events this weekend are free to attend.

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