Guide to the Fete de la Musique in Saffron Walden

SWS 25 Fete Pure Sax

SWS 25 Fete Pure Sax - Credit: Archant

The final countdown is on until the streets of Saffron Walden are turned into one big dance floor. ANGELA SINGER rounds up more acts performing in the town’s largest music festival.

Mortal Tides

Mortal Tides - Credit: Archant

There are now 72 bands who have stepped forward to play at Saffron Walden’s Fete de la Musique, the free festival of music to take place all over the town on Sunday, June 21.

The festival will coincide with similar festivals in more than 100 countries on summer’s longest day. The first fete was launched in 1981 by the French Ministry for Culture.

Saffron Walden’s has been organised by the Saffron Walden Arts Trust, by three women on the committee, all musicians themselves: Pat Lodge, Louise Turner and Isabella Warren. Like the 2012 Olympics, the day will be run by volunteers including teams acting as stewards and sound technicians.

Musicians from Saffron Walden County High School will be well represented as individuals and ensembles. Band Friday is a 20-piece big band which meets after school on Fridays.


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Aged from 12 to 18, they play funky, up-tempo music. The school also has Pure Sax, a saxophone quartet with pupils Adrian Ramirez-Valdes, George Withers, Sasha Molloy and Oscar Wilson-Toy.

At the Fete expect from them such numbers as Greased Lightning, Putting on the Ritz and It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing). The quartet will also play theme tunes from The Muppets and Benny Hill, otherwise known as Yakety Sax.

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It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got some strings. Viva Violas is the six-piece viola section of Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra. They will play a mix of classical and jazz including Handel’s Entrance of the Queen of Sheba, a jokey version of Pastime and Good Company written for the court of King Henry VIII. These will be interlaced with numbers including Blue Moon, Chattanooga Choo Choo and Hoagy Carmichael’s Starlight.

A Few Too Many are a pop/punk band based on the rural outskirts of Saffron Walden. They were founded in 2009 during The Croft’s Youth Music project by rhythm guitarist, vocalist and writer Danny Freeman, lead vocalist Michael Achilles and drummer and vocalist Sam Howell.

Their singles Potential and I Always Knew have been played on radio in Cambridge and London.

The programme for who is playing where and when has been drawn up. Each venue will have a timetable on display on the day. The music runs from noon to 8pm. From 7pm, it will all be in the Market Square, ending with dancing to The Reavey Brothers Band.

On the day, there will be an information point in the Market Square with programmes available for 50p. The programme is also available to download free at www.saffronwaldenartstrust.co.uk/fete-de-la-musique.

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