Under the dullest of skies, the seventh Festival of Chichester got off to the brightest of possible starts on Saturday afternoon.
The rain held off long enough for a packed programme of speeches and performers – all to whet appetites for a fabulous line-up ahead, a month-long arts and community extravaganza. Running from June 15 to July 14, the Festival will offer more than 200 events for summer 2019, combining a brilliant programme of classical music with the best in jazz, blues, folk, rock, pop and world music. Add thrilling theatre, book events, talks and poetry, exhibitions, walks, tours, cinema, open days and galas and there really is something for everyone,
Mayor of Chichester Richard Plowman praised the Festival of Chichester committee for creating the city’s new and flourishing festival – which he then declared open. Chichester novelist Kate Mosse praised a festival which attracts big international names but which still remains firmly rooted in Chichester and in the people of Chichester.
The afternoon began with a lively performance from the Get Vocal Choir; it continued with Chichester City Band and the St Richard Singers before closing with Dawn Gracie and the Chichester Drag Stars Cabaret Club.
Earlier, actor James Nesbitt judged the Festival shop window competition. The winner was Drapers Yard/Cloth-Kits; with joint runners-up Cats’ Protection in Crane Street and Hedgerose Florists in The Hornet.