A real culture club as show makes return

Nico Norton-Henson, aged three, gets ready for last year's Arts and Music Festival taking place in St Annes.

Nico Norton-Henson, aged three, gets ready for last year's Arts and Music Festival taking place in St Annes.

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A popular festival is to be expanded after its three-day debut proved to be a colourful success.

The St Annes Music and Arts Festival, which covered three days when it made its bow in 2012, will last nine days when it is staged again in September - and the organisers aim to make it a firm fixture on the Fylde calendar.

Former St Annes town mayor Barbara Mackenzie is one of the main driving forces behind the event organised by St Annes Town Council.

She said: “Just as the Proms and the Wartime weekend have rapidly grown and become synonymous with Lytham, we want the Music and Arts Festival to be a regular prime attraction for residents and visitors to St Annes.

“We were delighted with how the first year went and it just showed how much potential there is for a Festival such as this.”

Specific aspects of the Festival are still being finalised but it will run from Friday, September 6 to Saturday, September 14, with the latter date intended to tie in with the national Heritage Weekend.

That is when public buildings are open to the public for tours and the town council is keen to incorporate the chance to visit local attaractions into the Festival calendar, in conjunction with Lytham St Annes Civic Society.

Already firm on the Festival list of events is a concert in the RNLI Lifeboat House on St Annes seafront, which proved one of the prime attractions of the event last year, while art displays, poetry readings, concerts and family events are all in the pipeline.

“Holding the event over a full week gives us so much more scope and we are still open to ideas as well as being grateful for any backing from business we might be able attract,” said Coun Mackenzie.

“I know people will say that the schools have just gone back at that time of year but there is still plenty of potential for a whole programme of events which can attract residents and visitors alike.

“We aim to arrange evening concerts and readings during the week and get the library involved as well as hopefully using Ashton Gardens as a venue for outdoor events, particularly at the weekends”

St Annes Mayor Coun Angela Jacques, who is also chairman of the town’s Carnival Committee, said: “It is good to see the Festival growing so quickly, It is rather like the Carnival in terms of potential.

“That grew from one day to two a couple of years ago and we are so glad that that decision was taken.

“If people behind such events have the enthusiam, it is important to encourage it and make the most of the potential.

“Hopefully, the Festival’s reputation will grow and grow and attract plenty of visitors as well as having wide appeal to residents.”

John Moxham, chairman of St Annes Chamber of Trade, added: “I am so glad to hear that this event is to grow in size and appeal.

“It was clearly a success last year and anything which brings more people into town and boosts business is to be welcomed.”

Anyone looking to find out more about the Festival or get involved should contact either Coun Mackenzie on (01253) 711584 or the Town Council’s Community Development Officer Sarah Dunn on (01253) 788579.

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