Belfast Telegraph

Music festival chiefs forced to pull strings

by Natalie Irvine

The Holywood Music Festival has ‘orchestrated’ an uplifting return this year, despite earlier fears that a main sponsor would not be found due to the recession.

The festival, which begins on Friday, is set to attract 2,500 people to the town over the course of its 10-day programme. Events are planned to reach a ‘crescendo’ on the last night of the festival (Saturday, November 27) with a gala concert in the Queen's Leisure Complex.

Linda Alexander, festival secretary, told the Community Telegraph: “It has been a struggle to gather sponsorship this past year. The banks, which have previously sponsored us in the past, are a funding no-go area now as a result of |the recession.

“I am delighted though to say that we have found a way through the present funding climate and have had a great response from local businesses as well as committed advocates in the local community who wish to see this |continue.

“We received over 620 entries to this year’s festival competitions, the entries coming in from all over Northern Ireland — in the past we have also had entries from the south too.

“For those who have never visited a classical music event before I would say come down and give it a try. It is ideal for those perhaps of pension age to pop down to the festival on a morning or |afternoon session — at the very least it provides everyone with a few hours worth of quality entertainment at the cost of only £1.

“There will be many young people competing in the event so of course it is a festival for all ages to enjoy.

“There will also be traditional Irish music as well as classical — at our launch event this Friday expect to hear music from the traditional instruments such as the tin whistle.

“The traditional music event begins at 9.30am and continues until 6pm in the evening at St Patrick’s Hall on Church View in Holywood.”

Independent MP Lady Sylvia |Hermon, who ensures she attends the festival every year, has stated that she puts the event “in the top league of |festivals in the country”.

Michael Alexander, president of the festival committee, said: “It is remarkable that it is now seven years since |we successfully re-launched the music |festival.

“The success that we have enjoyed so far is in no small measure attributable to the support of the teachers and parents who have encouraged their pupils and children to participate in the festival, so many thanks is due to all of them.”

For a copy of the festival programme, visit www.holywoodmusicfestival.com or drop in to any of the following |festival venues to pick up a copy:

Queen's Leisure Complex, Holywood; St Patrick's Hall, Church View, Holywood; or St Martin’s Church, Kenilworth Place, in east Belfast.

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