Thousands flock to weekend of fun

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Thousands of people turned out to enjoy themselves at the St Leonards Festival last weekend (July 11-July 13).

Sponsored by family Mosaic and Amicus Horizon, as well as local businesses including Phoenix and Plum, The Italian Way, and Pisarros, among others, the event kicked off on Friday with some spirited seaside songs from McCarron and McSqueeze.

The main stage in Warrior Square was programmed and managed by aspiring young local producers, mentored by local festival production company, 18 Hours.

Local talent on show included singer Damien Soul, the Bengali Forum, The Piercings, Susannah Appleyard, Otti Albietz, alongside acts from across town, including Blakely and Son and the Bourne Valley Male Voice Choir from Hastings and the Frampton Sisters from Bexhill. And 15 lucky pairs of fans won the chance to meet x factor diva, Misha B backstage before her show.

Programmed by local young producer Will Baxter, a new performance tent included performances from local singers and performers, including the Sea View Choir, Karen & Alison, Chris Cowan, Fever Dogs, and Acoustic Castle.

Family entertainments included craft workshops, storytelling, theatre performance, stilt walkers and face painting and visitors enjoyed food stalls from restaurants across town. A buzzing street market on Kings Road completed the mix.

On Sunday, a new ticketed event brought Opera to St Leonards as Warrior Square hosted the Opera Garden Party, featuring Barefoot Opera, Opera South East, George Humphreys (baritone) and Susannah Appleyard (soprano). The predicted rain failed to appear and instead the event was bathed in glorious sunshine with bright flags flying in the breeze.

Event organiser, Mandy Curtis, from 18 Hours, said: “It was great to bring something new to St Leonards Festival this year. The Opera was a very rare opportunity for local audiences to hear quality opera at much cheaper prices than normal and free for under 16s. It showcased local opera talent alongside international performers and was a great way to introduce opera in a more informal, relaxed outdoor setting.”


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