King’s Lynn Festival ended with a sparking concert by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra rounding off two weeks of top quality events.
The pulling power of the festival was certainly proved by the size of the audiences, the biggest in the event’s 66-year history.
Artistic director Ambrose Miller said the calibre of performances was very high and put Lynn Festival on a par with Edinburgh and Cheltenham.
There were more than 7,000 ticket buyers – a record number – for the especially wide-ranging programme. In addition there were more than 1,000 visitors to the exhibition of works by artist Alfred Cohen staged in partnership with the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, and sculpture by Susan Bacon.
A record sum had been invested in the exciting programme and the box office takings achieved the ambitious target set by the Festival Board.
“When we get the final figures we should have covered all our costs and we hope to break even,” said Festival chairwoman Alison Croose.
The programme proved very popular and attracted audiences from all over Britain and abroad, including Australia, America and Cyprus.
Mrs Croose said a professor from Stanford University in the USA bought a ticket for Thursday’s performance featuring T S Eliot’s Four Quartets with Rowan Williams, Niamh Cusack and Guy Johnston and then built a visit to Britain round the event.
“The Festival has always attracted visitors from far and wide but this year we have encountered even more people who have made the festival a focal point of a visit to West Norfolk. It certainly puts Lynn on the national map,” Mrs Croose said.
She said the opening concert by the high-profile Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra was intended to give the Festival a flying start. “It was a huge success and the audience came out really buzzing.
“They have continued to use superlatives to describe their enjoyment of events including concerts by clarinetist Emma Johnson with the Piatti Quartet, soprano Lesley Garrett, the jazz quintet from Ronnie Scott’s Club and the talk by historian Suzannah Lipscomb.
“It has also been a delight to hear feedback from artists who have so enjoyed visiting Lynn and appearing in our lovely venues.
“They have spoken of the warmth of the reception they receive from audiences here.
“Particular mention has also been made of the excellent acoustic in St George’s Guildhall and St Nicholas’ Chapel,” Mrs Croose said.
She thanked the borough council, business and private sponsors, Festival friends and patrons and the army of volunteers who all contributed much to the Festival’s success.
Planning is well under way for the 2017 Lynn Festival which will be staged on July 16-29.