Special Invitation band helps first festival to rock Fakenham market square

Tony Edwards - who is also a town councillor - performing as lead singer and guitarist with the Fakenham Invitation Band.
Tony Edwards - who is also a town councillor - performing as lead singer and guitarist with the Fakenham Invitation Band.
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Tony Edwards who is also a town councillor performing as lead singer and guitarist with the Fakenham Invitation Band.

This inaugural event was a great success, crowned for me by the Fakenham Invitation Band which really rocked the market square on that first Saturday night.

Leading the way were a couple of outstanding players whose talents deserve much wider exposure on the local scene.

They were lead singer and guitarist Tony Edwards and keyboard instrumentalist Andy Cooper, both of whom live in the town.

Between them and backed up by bassist John Lawson and drummer Tim Mason this foursome, after minimal rehearsals, produced a cracking programme of mostly familiar numbers from Dylan to The Beatles to Queen to Otis Redding and more.

On a chilly evening they were red hot and could have held their own in any number of music festivals around the land.

Throughout the day itself a dozen or so combos took to the stage to entertain the crowds and after dark more groups continued the entertainment in the pubs and clubs radiating from the square.

It was a bit disappointing not to have more people attending the open-air presentations but for a first try I reckon this mini-festival was a hit and well worthy of a repeat next year.

n I suggested a few weeks back that sale of the Highfield Road car park for housing was virtually a ‘done deal’ so it came as no surprise to have this confirmed by our district council.

With government grant reductions to cope with, district was always going to eye up its assets to raise additional funds. Plenty of people will be disappointed by the loss of this free facility but at least we are being included in future investment considerations. Benefits for the town from this sale, of whatever description, must be given high priority.

n We rarely get a mention on Radio 4 so I was surprised and delighted to hear the name of Fakenham come up in a programme about art and ceramics.

Roger Law of Spitting Image fame was hosting the half-hour and had found his way to the outskirts of our town, enchanted by the dozens of cockerels and chickens he’d encountered running free alongside a section of the river. Although not mentioned by name he’d obviously stopped off at Goggs Mill where the birds have reigned supreme for decades.

What particularly inspired his artistic self was the vibrant colours and sheen of their feathers. This delightful picnic spot has long attracted all-comers who invariably bring along some scraps which are readily pecked at by the local residents.

My friend Suzanne makes a point of visiting every morning with a bag of grain to spread around so there’s little danger of these wild ones going hungry. They run towards this ‘mother hen’ with much clucking and crowing in obvious anticipation.

From time to time when their number just gets too congested for the adjacent roadway, the local council is requested to carry out a cull.

The other regular attraction here is the annual charity duck race which starts from the bridge. Despite a very slow current and plenty of plant life getting in the way, this year’s race went ahead a few days back with the usual degree of fun and games, and all in a good cause.