MIDHURST town crier John Backshall and the music of The Stoned Crows and Musical Mayhem heralded the opening of the 2014 MADhurst box office in the former library on Knockhundred Row.
It was the first event to be held in the building since it was taken over by Midhurst Town Council for community space and as a new home for the council.
And among the guests were Midhurst Town Council chairman John Etherington and his deputy John Quilter.
Business was brisk at the box office for tickets to some of this year’s MADhurst events where there is a strong focus on young talent.
Events co-ordinator Trina Duncan said: “We are very happy that altogether there are more than 100 events during MADhurst this year and more talented young performers than ever.”
Inspirational Midhurst Rother College pupil Sophie Bosley has organised another of her blockbuster youth concerts, Rosie Hodgson is back with a lunchtime concert in the Glasshouse at Rotherhill nurseries and a set at the grand finale concert along with The Stoned Crows, while a series of lunchtime concerts at Cowdray Farm Cafe features more young artists.
In addition, two of the seven main ticketed events showcase the youthful talent of the Camilli String Quartet – four classical musicians – while the Milestone Collective Swing Band is back by popular demand, led by Easebourne’s Alistair Gibson.
Among other new events on the MADhurst calendar is a MADhurst Tea Dance at Cowdray Hall.
The hilarious Dawn Gracie will bring Starlet Daze and Alex Watts for a lively evening of ‘Burlesque, Banger and Beer’ at the Royal Oak.
The Walled Garden at Cowdray will be opened for MADhurst, while the FB Pocket Orchestra will play jazz, blues, ragtime and popular songs of the 1920s and 30s for picnickers against the backdrop of Cowdray Ruins.
And the MADhurst ‘fringe’ includes more than 20 events organised by Midhurst clubs and businesses.
For the first time ever there will be a MADhurst cocktail by Olive and Vine, and MADhurst cup-cakes by the Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tea Room and the Seven Fish restaurant will have a painted street piano.
Bank holiday Monday’s grand finale procession will feature more than 20 bands, floats and marching groups.
David Coote, organiser of the procession said there would be a community coach and a horse-drawn carriage in the procession.
“If any individuals or groups would like to ride in either of these, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org”
The entertainment afterwards on Midhurst Sports Association’s ground includes stage acts, demonstrations, beer tent courtesy of the Midhurst Sports Association, tea tent catered by the parish church and more than 40 stalls. Excitement in the air will be a display by the Tiger Club Turbulent Display Team, supported by Midhurst Lions Club.
The box office is open 10am-4pm in the Old Library on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays this week and next week and all MADhurst week, August 18-22. Bookings and payments can be made in person or by phone (07582 959 440). Check out the MADhurst website www.madhurst.co.uk