More than 2,000 shine at town’s musical festival

Molly Moyse with Dame Beryl Grey and adjudicator Lynne Chilver
Molly Moyse with Dame Beryl Grey and adjudicator Lynne Chilver

MORE than 2,000 talented performers took to the stage at this year’s Hastings Musical Festival.

With more than 3,000 acts, ranging from song and dance to speech and drama, organisers said the three-week annual event, which was in its 104th year, was more upbeat than ever.

Highlights this year included street dance performances, which were a first for the festival’s long history.

Molly Townson, chairman of Hastings Musical Festival, said: “We also had a primary schools music day, again a wonderful first for the festival.

“The auditorium was full of happy children making music under the watchful and expert eye of Warwick Potter, now conductor of the top symphony orchestras in Australia, who started his own career as a young pianist and bassoonist in the Hastings Musical Festival.

“It will be returning next year and is expected to see twice the number of children taking part.”

Visiting celebrities this year included Paul Roberts, of The Stranglers, Roger Daltrey, of The Who, and Sir Philip Ledger CBE, chairman of the Jury of the International Piano Concerto Competition.

Dame Beryl Grey, England’s own prima-ballerina of the 40s, 50s and 60s gave her advice and encouragement to young ballet dancers, who performed this year, and awarded Molly Moyse the Phyllis Godfrey Championship Trophy.

Petula Clark CBE, the festival’s new president, presented trophies on the last night of the festival at the Finals Concert.

Miss Townson said: “She had something to say to every winner as they came on stage to receive their awards, offering congratulations and encouragement to all from the littlest dancer upwards. The audience loved her.

“She stayed on to enjoy the concert, applauding with enormous enthusiasm her favourite performances.”

Organisers are already planning next year’s festival.