Oakham Festival returns with a bang!

Oakham Festival'Photos: Alan Walters EMN-150629-164633001

Oakham Festival'Photos: Alan Walters EMN-150629-164633001

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Oakham Festival returned with a bang this year offering something for everyone.

Organisers of the new-look Oakham Festival were delighted with the response to the event, which ran from Wednesday last week to Sunday.

Last year’s event was cancelled after organiser Joy Everitt stepped down but a new committee came together to put on this year’s event, which was the 25th.

The festival ran in tandem with the Rutland branch of Camra’s Ale Festival and Ale Trail.

Michelle Begy is one of the new committee members.

She said she was delighted everything ran so smoothly.

Michelle said: “The whole festival went better than any of us could have expected. We were really pleased.”

Highlights of the event included comedian Gary Delaney, who performed at The Grainstore on Thursday night to a sell-out crowd.

On Friday, there was Hip H’Opera at Oakham Castle, which was a unique mix of opera music from Rutland’s Caroline Trutz combined with hip hop street dance led by dancer and choreographer Sarah Bell.

Michelle said this event was one of her personal highlights, because it was so unique.

On Saturday, Proms in the Park at Cutts Close proved particularly popular with more than 450 people making the most of the beautiful weather to enjoy music by Rutland Concert Band with guest vocalist Caroline 
Trutz.

Michelle said: “The weather was so beautiful for the Proms in the Park event and the set they did was just incredible. It really did provide something for everyone.

“I just can’t believe how many people showed up for that. We were blown away by the support.”

There was also a special treat for music fans with five-piece Balkan folk, gypsy and jazz band Sheelanagig making their way back from Glastonbury Festival to perform at the Grainstore.

Tenor John Graham Hall gave a recital at Oakham School chapel to close the festival on Sunday, which Michelle described as an amazing event.

Other events during the four days included lunchtime recitals at All Saints’ Church, tai chi workshops, theatre workshops for children and a spooky ghost walk.

The committee is already looking ahead to next year’s event to ensure the Oakham Festival remains a crucial part of the town’s social calendar.

Michelle said: “We learnt a lot and there are a few things that could have been done better.

“We’ve done all the groundwork in terms of the website and the branding so we can focus on making next year’s event even better. Watch this space for more details.”