Midhurst’s Madhurst is set to be even bigger this year

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‘For the community, by the community’ is their motto and members of Madhurst are preparing to do it all over again.

After the success of last year’s summer festival of music, art and drama committee members vowed to make it even bigger and better in 2011.

And now they have launched their new programme which will take place from August 21 to August 29.

Chairman Father Marcus Ronchetti, together with treasurer David Duncan, secretary Jane Reeder and events co-ordinator Marco Frankland were out with their banner last week letting the town know the festival was back in town.

“We already have many events in place,” said Father Marcus, “we are a lot further on than last year, “and we hope to have the final programme confirmed in the next few weeks. As it was last year the festival is designed to celebrate creativity and develop a sense of community.”

It will kick off as before, with a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Cowdray Ruins on Sunday August 21, when it is hoped families will gather for picnics and musical entertainment.

There will be concerts, recitals, arts and crafts workshops and concerts featuring everything from classical to jazz.

And one of the highlights will be the Midhurst Town Council carnival procession through North Street to the Cowdray Ruins for a grand finale of afternoon and evening entertainment.

The festival will also once again feature the popular River Rother Raft Race which takes place on Sunday August 28.

Organisers of the race are hoping this year to include an after-race barbecue with live music to celebrate the achievements of the winners.

Throughout the week there will be events at a host of different venues including Woolbeding Church where an intriguing combination of harps and poets is planned.

There will be a festival eucharist at St Mary’s in Midhurst, music courtesy of Good Gracious Music at Caffe Verdi and garden recitals at The Wheatsheaf pub, where the landlady is founding Madhurst committee member Ruth Benton.

West’s Sawmills at Selham are hoping to provide more musical entertainment and the fun will carry on with evening and lunchtime concerts in Midhurst’s Market Square.

New this year, organisers are planning a real ale beer festival at The Swan.

Among the musical treats it is hoped to offer this year are the rock sounds of Midnight Pearl and Boomslang, The Madhurst Band, The Jazz Smuggler, The Hallways, The Missing Piece and Equalise.