Curtain falls on town’s arts festival events

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Belper Arts Festival drew to a close this week with visitors insisting that the popular event returns in 2015 for a third consecutive year.

The final day had a sell out recorder workshop, a ukelele workshop that attracted 35 players and a ukelele concert organised by Phil Doleman.

That event featured Ella Juster, the 15-strong Derby Ukelele Club, Mr Doleman and the sensational Canadian musician Manitoba Hal.

The night ended with more than 40 ukelele players performing and singing “Bring Me Sunshine.”

“It was a great way to close the festival,” said Festival Chair George Gunby.

“Everybody went away smiling and happy, especially the people who had travelled from Cwbran and Surrey to see and hear Manitoba Hal.”

Although final figures are still being collated, the festival attracted more visitors than the 11,000 recorded in 2014.

Overall, Belper Arts Festival featured 190 events, had in the region of 250 performers and artists in over 90 venues and sites across the town.

“I want to thank the sponsors and the team of voluntary organisers for their iniatives, their hard work and their dedication.

“Without their will to make things happen it would be impossible to achieve anything,” said Mr. Gunby.

“I’m sure the town has benefitted from the Arts Festival and I expect people to return for events later in the year such as the Open Gardens and the Belper Food Fair.

“What the festival has done is to expose the wealth of artistic talent in Belper and also given people the opportunity to shine and try new things.”

The organisers are set to meet early in July to begin work on planning next year’s event.

Mr Gunby continued: “I’ve already received interest from artists and performers who want to take part in 2015. An announcement will be made in July regarding dates and how to get involved.”

The charity art auctionwhich was postponed, will now take place onFriday, July 4 at Number 28, The Market Place from 7.30pm.

The evening will also see the presentation of prizes in the Linda Wain Art Competition.

It is intended to feature the lots in the auction on the Arts Festival web site ( .

Interested parties will be able to register bids by email in advance, as well as on the night.

The Arts Collabortive interpretation of Picasso’s “Guernica” (measuring 8ft x 5ft) will be amongst the lots available.