Norfolk and Norwich Festival hailed a “tremendous” success

The finished People's Tower stands next to St Peter Mancroft Church, ready to be toppled over. Picture: Denise Bradley The finished People's Tower stands next to St Peter Mancroft Church, ready to be toppled over. Picture: Denise Bradley

Monday, May 26, 2014
4:54 PM

From a mass community project to build a giant cardboard church to a feast of fun in the Adnams Spiegeltent, audiences have had a great time enjoying the eclectic mix of entertainment in this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

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NNF14 - Safe House at St James Development Site, Norwich. Photo: Mark Wernham.NNF14 - Safe House at St James Development Site, Norwich. Photo: Mark Wernham.

The 17-day arts extravaganza opened on May 9 with a weekend of musical treats ranging from the Philharmonia Orchestra to New York jazz, funk fusion band Snarky Puppy, and Norwich’s newest landmark - The People’s Tower - was built outside the Forum before the 20 metre high structure was toppled over in front of excited crowds.

Two weeks full of all things cultural followed, and the closing weekend saw a mysterious 12 metre high house spring up for the free festival finale Safe House, and more that 450 Norfolk performers took to five Norwich stages for It’s Your festival, a celebration of local talent that closed the 2014 festival.

William Galinsky, the festival’s artistic director, said: “What a tremendous festival this has been.

“Within Norwich there has been a real festive atmosphere and I’m pleased that we have also been able to put some wonderful events around the county. We aimed to inspire and delight, and from the audience reactions I’ve seen and the comments on social media I think we’ve done just that.”

Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2014. Wet Picnic - The Lift. Photo: Steve AdamsNorfolk and Norwich Festival 2014. Wet Picnic - The Lift. Photo: Steve Adams

Almost 1,200 performers from 30 different countries were involved in around 150 events, and outside Norwich the festival hosted events stretching from King’s Lynn to Diss, via Holkham, Loddon, Great Yarmouth and Wymondham.

Among the highlights was the free Garden Party in Norwich’s Chapelfield Gardens that took place on the sunny middle weekend of the festival and filled the city park with a kaleidoscope of weird and wonderful acts that delighted the crowds.

The 150-strong Voice Project presented their latest show, Souvenir, in the glorious surrounds of the Holkham Estate, and other musical highlights included sold out concerts by jazz stars Madeleine Peyroux and Hugh Masekela, and Norwich Cathedral Choir’s Candlelit Concert.

In terms of theatre, Norwich-based company Curious Directive premiered their new show Pioneer - about the first mission to Mars - at Norwich Playhouse, and part of the UEA Sportspark was transformed into a stage for Opus No 7, a spectacle featuring duelling pianos and blizzards of newsprint by Russian director Dmitry Krymov.

The Voice Project's performance of Souvenir at Holkham Hall. Photo: Phil Sahyer.The Voice Project's performance of Souvenir at Holkham Hall. Photo: Phil Sahyer.

The City of Literature strand, in association with Writers’ Centre Norwich, featured everything from a Literary Death Match to events with Ray Davies from The Kinks, Norwegian literary sensation Karl Ove Knausgaard and novelist Kate Mosse.

The Adnams Spiegeltent thrilled audiences with its array of shows which included everything from beautiful performances by singer Camille O’Sullivan to the flamboyant sounds of Molotov Jukebox, and for the under fives, the fun-filled Baby Disco Dance Hall.

William Galinsky said: “I have to say I feel very proud of what has been achieved in this year’s festival. Its success is a great testament to the hard work of all the staff and volunteers. I would also like to add that it has only been possible to present a feast of the arts on this scale with the immense help and support we have had from our funders, a tremendous partnership between Arts Council England and Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council.

“Our principle sponsors have also given generous support that has enabled us to present so much world class activity so I should like to extend heartfelt thanks to Lafarge Tarmac, Adnams, Abellio Greater Anglia, East of England Co-op and Norwich BID. This has been a fantastic year – but we’re already working on plans for 2015!”

Baby disco dance hall in the Spiegeltent at Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: Bill SmithBaby disco dance hall in the Spiegeltent at Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: Bill Smith

In 2013 the festival generated almost £2,500,000 of economic activity to Norfolk (excluding ticket sales), a similar amount is expected to be injected to the economy this year.

• The 2015 Norfolk and Norwich Festival will run from May 8 to 24 next year.

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