Festival Too's new chair ‘thrilled’ to be taking on the role
Festival Too has been a big part of the new chairwoman’s life with it being her earliest memory of seeing music live.
For Abbie Panks, taking on the role after being vice-chair to Mark Stanford for two years, is an absolute honour and one she is eager to embrace.
Mr Stanford is retiring from Festival Too after being involved with the event since he was a teenage steward.
And having seen Festival Too cancelled this year for the first time in 35 years, Miss Panks is under no illusions that these are challenging times to be stepping into the role.
She said: “Everything is so uncertain at the moment but we can only plan as normal as if it will be going ahead.”
Planning is already well under way for the 2021 festival with organisation typically starting six weeks after the conclusion of the previous event.
The line-up is already in place, but it is now a case of sorting out the logistics.
“There are a lot of components to Festival Too,” Miss Panks said. “We always have to have a Plan B and if it came to a virtual festival, we hope to deliver something good.”
Miss Panks believes community is at the heart of Festival Too, not just for promoting local bands but also enabling schoolchildren to take to the stage for the first time.
If these children go on to have aspirations to become musicians, then this can only be a good thing according to the new chairwoman.
Miss Panks, who works at the King’s Arms in Shouldham, said: “Festival Too instilled my love of music from a young age, live music is a big passion of mine.
“To be able to experience a live music festival in your own town is unique and not everyone has that on offer.
“It is great for the town and I am really looking forward to it and thrilled to be taking on the role of chair.”
She added: “I am hoping to continue the good work of every previous chair, carrying on the good work of all these people and working out how we become sustainable for another 30 years.
“The fact I can do something for my home town is fantastic for me as I am very driven by community and supporting my community. I am chair of something I am so passionate about.
“It will be good for the community to keep supporting the festival whether that is volunteering or putting £1 in the bucket, to keep it in their hearts.”
Miss Panks has seven years of experience as the centre manager of Lynn’s Vancouver Quarter under her belt.
On her Festival Too predecessor, she said: “Mark has been part of Festival Too since he was a teenager and during his two years as chair, he navigated some really choppy waters. He is Mr Festival Too.”
Mr Stanford's retirement was announced on Sunday.