Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

The Buxton Festival

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 26th July, 2015

Lucia di LammermoorOne of the most encouraging developments on Britain’s cultural scene in recent years has been the upsurge in festivals, not just the well-established ones like Edinburgh’s but dozens of other cities, towns and venues now offering a variety of cultural events, some predominantly literary, others more diverse. Among those, one that has been receiving increasing attention internationally as well as nationally is the Buxton Festival, held in that Derbyshire spa town, which has just completed this year’s event with an overall attendance equalling its best ever. I was honoured to be part of the final event: a literary lunch sponsored by the Oldie Magazine with fellow speakers Prue Leith and Kate Mosse. We were a heterodox trio but the mixture worked well and the event was sold out well in advance. Thanks to the festival organisers I was able to travel up to Buxton 24 hours in advance, thus catching some of the street theatre that was going on in different areas around town during the afternoon and later attending a performance of Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lammermoor in the lovely Victorian opera house. That was especially memorable for the brilliant command of the title role by the Welsh soprano Elin Pritchard. It was a balmy evening, too (not always a given in the Buxton valley), allowing the audience to spill out onto the forecourt for interval drinks. Some people had travelled long distances to attend the festival’s highlights, which featured dozens of well-known writers and performers as well as newcomers. Indeed, this is something to watch.



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