Sophie Ellis Bextor confirms Chichester return for 2017

Sophie Ellis Bextor

Sophie Ellis Bextor

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Singer Sophie Ellis Bextor has been confirmed to return to next year’s Priory Park Festival, which will be one of the highlights of the 2017 Festival of Chichester.

Organiser Robin Bextor – Sophie’s father – is expecting to announce further artists in the New Year, with the full line-up being revealed by Easter.

But Sophie’s name is already on the list. She will be playing a special acoustic set.

Seth Lakeman is also confirmed. Robin also hopes to include performances from the ‘best of the Festival’, acts selected from the roster of the ever-growing Festival of Chichester.

Robin pledged the Priory Park Festival (July 7, 8 and 9) would be bigger, better and back for more.

“It was great last summer but 2017 is going to be even bigger and better. We are delighted to be back, and so are some of the stars who came to Chichester last year, but there are more big names to come."

And it is going to be cheaper for local residents who attended last year, according to plans released by Robin and his team this week.

“As a thank-you for their support, previous bookers will get the first chance to buy exclusively-discounted tickets, particularly weekend tickets that will be available at a special low price of £70 for all three days. Including both stages and all other Festival events and activities, this is a saving of £30 over the on-the-door prices in July 2017. All previous bookers are being contacted individually by email with the offer. General Early Bird tickets will then be on sale just before Christmas.

“But weekend tickets will be limited in total to just the first 400 hundred people who purchase,” Robin said.

“Family tickets also represent particularly-good value, with a charge of just £150 for two adults and two 11-18s, effectively a half-price offer, and all under-11s will be admitted free of charge. Anyone requiring special assistance will also receive a free carer ticket.”

Last summer the three-day July Festival saw the return of live music to one of the UK's favourite public parks, with over 2,000 people coming to see acts ranging from Sophie Ellis Bextor and The Feeling to folk star Seth Lakeman, jazz supremo Courtney Pine and the Brighton-based Kate Bush-inspired orchestra The Hounds of Love.

“There were also appearances from local Chichester acts such as Zoe Rahman and long-time favourites the Manfreds, PP Arnold and Martin Simpson, and stars of the future who will be returning such as Ella Davidson and Daniel Coates.

“We have decided to keep a lot of the things people seemed to like and enjoy, like the children's entertainers and the star bands like The Feeling, but we have listened to what people would also like to see. We are having a large second stage in a big top, where not only music acts but comedians and family entertainers will perform, and we are improving the catering.

“We will welcome back some old Chichester favourites from the Real Ale Festival days, will up the choice of ales, and make the ticket prices much simpler and better value. Summer 2017 will see more acts of last year's calibre.”

Early bird booking opens online from December 12: www.prioryparkfestival.co.uk.

Weekend tickets including both stages and access to all entertainment events are £70 per person, with day tickets from £25.

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