Fete de la Musique may return to Saffron Walden

Fete de la Musique. Picture: Joe Higham Reportage

Fete de la Musique. Picture: Joe Higham Reportage - Credit: Archant

Play it again Sam. Last month’s eclectic Fete de la Musique in Saffron Walden hit such a successful note that that the musicians who organised it are now hoping to reprise it every three years.

The free festival of music, on June 21, summer’s longest day, with 300 artists playing at 10 venues across the town, was run by Saffron Walden Arts Trust. The trust holds its annual general meeting on Monday and is calling for new people to join various committees to help run the triennial Fete as well as the Arts Picnic, and The Maze Festival which also run every three years.

The Arts Picnic is a musical picnic on the Common and the Maze Festival celebrates the town’s mazes including The Labyrinth on the Common and the Hedge Maze in Bridge End Gardens.

Trust committee member, Isabella Warren suggested a Fete de la Musique for the town after happening to come across the French Fete last year while on holiday in Paris, where the idea began in the 1980s.

She said: “So many people have said how wonderful it was. People said it was a triumph and one visitor who didn’t know it was happening said Saffron Walden was a paradise. We think every three years will still keep it special and it will fit in with the other three-yearly events. The town carnival is also every three years.”

Fellow organiser, Pat Lodge said after the Sunday event, which drew over 2,000 people into the town that all the food venues had sold out and the town’s public houses had enjoyed a roaring trade all day.

“Some of the clothes shops said they were quiet but then people new to the town would have seen where they were and taken note when they were out shopping for clothes. Because the venues were spread all over the town, it was a great way for visitors to get to know what was here.”

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The event celebrated every kind of music including classical, swing, jazz, folk, blues, Indian, indie and rock, played by musicians of all ages including prize-winning prodigies and seasoned stars. It was stewarded by 60 volunteers and sponsored by the town’s businesses.

The three lead organisers, Isabella Warren, Pat Lodge and Louise Turner all performed at the Fete. However several senior members of the Saffron Walden Arts Trust, including the chairman, guitarist and singer Miranda Pender, who also played, are stepping down.

The AGM is open to all and will be at The King’s Arms, Market Hill, off the Market Square from 7.30pm to 9.30pm on Monday, July 6.