As is the tradition Romsey Festival came to an end at Choral Evening Song in Romsey Abbey on Sunday 16th July, when the Abbey Team formally handed back the Festival Flag that had flown over the Abbey for the duration of the Festival.
What an amazing sixteen days. This, the thirteenth Festival, had over 250 separate events at numerous venues across the Town and adjoining district. The Festival is a triennial cultural wrap around the wonderful annual Romsey events of Mayor’s Picnic, Beggars Fair and Romsey Carnival with events and activities for all ages and interests, the majority free to attend or participate in.
The introduction of extra lunchtime recitals at Romsey Abbey, United Reformed Church and St Denys Chilworth was well received by enthusiastic audiences. The Ivan Hovorun recital attracting around 200 to the Abbey, the newly formed Test Trio filled the URC with the magical sounds of the bassoon, oboe and piano and the folksy “Music of the Heart” was a truly amazing sound of alto voice and harp at St Denys Chilworth.
The FlackFest at Festival sponsor Flack Manor Brewery alternated between rock and acoustic, a mix much appreciated by the audience who could guarantee this was one music festival that would not run out of beer! The Brewery Team also ran a number of Brewery Tours, with a behind the scenes look at how beer is brewed by the double drop method.
Michelmersh Silver Band had a busy Saturday with two ensembles playing sets at the Beggars Fair before the band came together in the evening with the Spitfire Sisters for a programme focused on the music of the ‘30s and ‘40s.
Sir Harold Hilliers Gardens was the base for the Romsey Festival Gala Concert with Southampton Concert Orchestra, conductor Paul Ingram; a change to damp weather did not deter the outdoor audience, brave souls every one.
A series of trails in Churchyards and around Romsey Centre kept families busy, the on-line Nature Trail from Romsey and District Society Environment Group tested IT and nature skills.
For those who liked a guided tour the local history group led tours of the historic town centre and King John’s House gardeners explained the delights of their garden, developed over several years from an area that had contained slum housing. Many local shops displayed posters of their building’s history through the ages.
King John’s House Team really got involved in the Festival, with a delightful sculpture trail in the garden, a super setting for the works of Paul Bull. They also provided a series of history related talks and were a Beggars Fair venue.
This Festival set out to be “for the community by the community” and truly delivered that objective. News of the next Romsey Festival will be released in September after discussions with all the 2023 participating organisations and individual artists.
Liz Wagner, Chair of the 2023 Romsey Festival said “I am delighted with the brilliant community support for the Romsey Festival as this has shown a real appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the event organisers and participants, many of whom are volunteers. The vast range of Festival events, something for all ages, has celebrated the wonderful range of talent and skills within our local community and has entertained, informed and enlightened those attending. A great Festival and thanks must go to all participating and all attending.”
For further information please contact Mark Edgerley Romsey Festival 2023 Vice Chair – 07710 326155, firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of all the 2023 Festival events are still available on www.RomseyFestival.org where a photographic record of events can be found in our open access Flickr account, use link top right hand corner of the home page