Spectacular line-up for Norfolk and Norwich Festival revealed
Kate ScotterCity youngsters and ice cream vans will combine with international stars and musical greats at this year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival.Just 24 hours after it was announced that Norwich was shortlisted to become the first UK City of Culture, organisers of the 238-year-old festival unveiled the line up for this year's event.Norfolk and Norwich Festival official siteKate Scotter
Hair-cutting city youngsters and ice cream vans will combine with international stars and musical greats at this year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
Just 24 hours after it was announced that Norwich was shortlisted to become the first UK City of Culture, organisers of the 238-year-old festival unveiled the line up for this year's event.
Billed as the most inclusive festival to date, this year's festival will see community groups, schools and rising local stars all contributing to the 16 days worth of events, performances and installations.
Highlights of the festival, which will see the city become an artistic playground from May 7 to 22, include a rare performance by John Cale, co-founder with Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground, three of the world's greatest circuses and a world premiere of Music for Seven Ice Cream Vans.
The popular Spiegeltent, which won the hearts of festival-goers last year, will return to Chapelfield Gardens and will house not only circus, music and dancing but also a daytime programme of swing and tea dances.
Meanwhile, there will be plenty on offer to entertain children, jazz lovers, classical music fans and those with an eye for the visual arts with more free and ticketed events on offer than ever before.
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These include the unusual and bizarre such as the Mammalian Diving Reflex Haircuts by Children event.
Festival director Jonathan Holloway, who launched this year's festival at Epic Studios in Magdalen Street yesterday, said: 'I'm thrilled with the programme we've got.
'And although there's something for everybody, there's not one thing for everyone -we've got really strong children's work, really funny stuff and some really serious things.
'The timing of the news that Norwich has been shortlisted as the City of Culture couldn't have been better. The scale, breadth and sheer audacity of this year's festival is testament to the energy, driver and appetite for performing and visual arts in this region.'
It is Mr Holloway's sixth year in charge of the festival and each year it has got bigger and bigger - last year, 28,000 tickets were sold and just under 180,000 people attended all the events on offer.
This year, there will be 350 performances and 1,000 artists at 50 venues across the city over the 16 days.
Sixty giant flags will be created by community groups and schools to bring a blaze of colour to Eaton Park and Chapelfield Gardens, a Spanish-style Labyrinth will be set up in Chapelfield Gardens and a brand new visual arts programme will take in some of the city's leading galleries and exhibition spaces.
There will also be the biggest firework event ever seen in the East of England at Eaton Park in Norwich.
The festival is funded by Arts Council England, Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council and its principal sponsor, for the 17th year, is National Express East Anglia.
City Council leader Steve Morphew was joined at the launch by Norfolk County Council leader Daniel Cox showing their strong backing for the festival and the historic bid.
Mr Morphew said: 'It's called the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and that shows that there is and always will be a close working relationship and partnership between the city and the county in the interests of the people who rely on the city.'
Mr Morphew said the festival, which runs from May 7-22, could play a key role in the City of Culture bid.
He added: 'It takes on increased importance now. Because of the timescale it's going to be a showcase for the way that Norwich can do things. I'm hoping we will attract the independent panel, national media and bigger audiences to check out how good the festival and its venues are.'
The Evening News is also a media partner of the event and has sponsored one of the free events, Home Sweet Home, at Blackfriars Hall.