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Summer bows out to music

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

  • Alison and Merv Davey performed as Henrici and his wife Johanna, minstrels from the court of the Earls of Cornwall 700 years ago.

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AT LEAST four sold-out gigs at the Guildhall, more than 300 events in all and at least two pubs that ran out of food – the recipe for another successful St Ives September Festival.

The volunteers who organise the town's iconic end-of-summer festival have declared it a winner and are already working on next year's.

Billy Bragg and the Fishermans' Friends were among four acts that sold out the 500-seater Guildhall but many other performances were packed to the rafters.

With venues as varied as the Western Hotel, the Wheatsheaf, St Ives Theatre and even Tate St Ives, there was a huge amount going on.

And although the festival was slightly quieter than it has been in record years, the organisers have declared themselves content.

"When you consider the economic climate it's no surprise it was slightly quieter," said John Hancock, September Festival press officer.

"But the festival was a huge success, we sold at least 5,500 tickets for those events we do keep count of and we think the town has been used by festivalgoers even more than usual.

"At least two pubs completely sold out of food on the last weekend."

Irish folk singer Cara Dillon, who wrote and sang the music for Disney's latest movie Tinkerbell and also provides one of the voices in it, was a big hit, as were Kate Rusby and Albert Lee.

The Beat and Ian Dury's band The Blockheads were also a big draw in the festival that is estimated to bring millions into the town in the shoulder period when visitor numbers in St Ives are traditionally low.

Cornwall was well represented on the bill by the Fisherman's Friends and Penzance youngsters Flats and Sharps among others.

Events ranged from the big musical gigs to performances by smaller, local acts and specialist performances of classical music, literary readings and short plays.

There were also pottery and jewellery-making demonstrations and even an accordion workshop.

"We had started working on the next one even before this one started and we will get back to working on that in November because there's so much to do," said Mr Hancock.

"This year, all that is left is to thank all the volunteers, stewards and people like St Ives Football Club who ran the bar at the Guildhall throughout, and to thank the Guildhall itself because it is the figurehead venue for the festival."

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