Box-office records smashed at Petworth Festival

Petworth Festival, Jazz in the Stables at Petworth House
Petworth Festival, Jazz in the Stables at Petworth House
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Bumper audiences which again broke box office records made the 2011 Petworth Festival something to remember, festival chairman Michael Till said this week.

And the festival has announced it is to organise its first literary weekend, to be held from November 11-13. Details will be announced in September.

Mr Till described this year’s festival, which ended on July 30, as ‘a cracking good one’.

“We were well up on seats and the festival has shown it is thriving. I think we shall have a bit to add to the kitty for the future.

“I am delighted that in my first year as chairman, I could not have had a happier experience. We are already planning for next year,” Mr Till said.

He added: “People have been very generous in their sponsorship. Funding from the district and county councils has been cut, as with everything else, but that has been covered by generosity from elsewhere.”

He confirmed that Stewart Collins, who has completed his second year as artistic director, is staying on, which comes as a relief to the festival organisers after two previous post-holders left after a year.

“I think the Petworth Festival was something he had wanted to do when he was able to. Now he is here and we are very happy with him,” Mr Till said.

“He has his ear to the ground, really knows who is out there and can get ‘yes’ for an answer if he asks them to appear here.”

In his own message on the festival website, Mr Collins says: “It felt as if we were truly mining gold this year!”

He told supporters, patrons and sponsors: “It was a hugely successful fortnight, box office records having been broken yet again, following already several years of ever burgeoning figures.

“And of course those box office sales came on the back of some truly magnificent performances.

“One of those successes was unquestionably the brand-new jazz event in The Stables of Petworth House, while other performances that will remain long in the memory included the magnificent double bill of Dido and Aeneas and Jephte given by the Armonico Consort, the remarkable Champs Hill concert featuring Mark Padmore and Morgan Szymanski, and the absolute laugh-athon delivered by Gyles Brandreth.”