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Crowds make a really big festival song and dance

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: September 22, 2011

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Record audiences, great music, and a wonderful atmosphere all helped to make the fourth Priston Festival the most successful yet.

Organisers are delighted at the feedback from residents and visitors and are already planning next year's festival, which is scheduled to take place from September 14 to 16.

A huge range of music was on offer this year - choral, folk, jazz, blues, rock, Latin, world and classical – as well as other activities for adults and children.

An impressive line-up of performers provided free music from an open-air stage throughout the Saturday and Sunday, including Harriet Pimm, Home Fires, Horizonto, Beth Porter and The Availables, Sarah Clough, Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, K'Chevere, Mendip String Band, Issy Emeney and the Bristol Shanty Men.

The children's art project this year focused on the building of an enormous Somerset dragon, paraded by the children around the village green.

Other events over the weekend included singing and street dance workshops and a talk by author Susan Chivers. Festival-goers were also entertained by the Priston Jubilee Morris, as well as other visiting Morris sides.

The festival kicked off on Friday night in the village hall with a concert from Three Piece Suite, which also featured two accomplished newcomers: Alex Mayhew on jazz piano and Arthur O'Hara on bass.

Saturday evening included an evening of performance poetry on an Olympics theme in the church by Live Canon, followed by Adam Purnell on acoustic guitar.

On Sunday, audiences were treated to a performance on guitar and harp by Mike Dawes and Amy Turk.

Jo Sercombe, the festival's president, provided a singing workshop in the village hall, which concluded with the participants demonstrating their newly-acquired skills in front of the audience.

The festival ended with a supper to the guitar music of Benji Bartlett.

The Cooperative Group's Community Fund and Bath and North East Somerset Cultural Olympiad Fund and other donors helped make the festival the success it was.

Organisers are keen to hear from local musicians who would like to take part in next year's event. Anyone interested can contact the organisers on pristonfestival@googlemail.com. More information is also available at www.priston.org.uk/festival.

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