FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: The festival starts this weekend!

After months of planning, the third Festival of Chichester goes live this weekend, launching more than 200 events in a month-long extravaganza of arts and community fun.

The festival will launch on Saturday afternoon from around 2pm on the Cathedral Green with music from Chichester Music Academy and Chichester College – the perfect way to usher in four weeks of high-quality entertainment across a range of Chichester venues.

Festival chairman Phil Hewitt said: “We are delighted with the programme which has come together for this year, a fantastic expression of all that’s good about Chichester, all that makes it such a busy and fun place to live and work. Once again, we are delighted at the way everyone wants to take part in this year’s festival, and we are hoping the programme will help us build on attendances which were already up sharply last year.”

Dr Hewitt added: “One of the really terrific things about this year’s festival is the number of mini-festivals within it, such as the Festival Artists which have got together to offer a selection of professional work at a number of venues. We are also really pleased to have, within the main festival, the Amici Concert Series, superbly organised by Meg Hamilton and Amanda Cook. It is going to be a great four weeks. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Chichester Observer for making it all possible and to our principal sponsor Henry Adams. We are also greatly indebted to Chichester City Council and Chichester District Council for their generous financial support.”

Festival co-ordinator Barry Smith said: “We’re really looking forward to a truly-memorable festival this year. There’s a fantastic range of events with brilliant classical music concerts, lots of jazz, blues, folk and world music, exciting talks by some inspirational writers, walking tours all over the city, a cinema season with live transmissions and wonderful art exhibitions in our galleries and local artists’ studios. We thought it would be hard to beat last year, but this year’s festival is all set to be bigger and brighter than ever.

“I’m particularly looking forward to hearing violinist Jack Liebeck playing Mendelssohn’s violin concerto with the BSO in the cathedral, folk legend Martin Simpson, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and novelist William Nicholson, world-renowned Russian pianist Victor Ryabchikov, Chichester-born jazz pianist Zoe Rahman and one of our greatest living poets, Jo Shapcott.”

Tickets are available on www.chichestertickets.co.uk; by phone on 01243 813595; or in person at the Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm).

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