Sun set to shine on mu­sic fes­ti­val

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By MARK PEAR­SON mark.pear­son@pe­ter­bor­oughto­ @Et­guide

WITH the city ex­pected to bask in a week of sun­shine, the re­turn of The Wil­low Fes­ti­val looks set to mark the of­fi­cial start of the sum­mer in Peter­bor­ough.

Fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers have been over­whelmed by a “colos­sal amount of in­ter­est” from bands, spon­sors, traders and the public, ever since it was re­vealed the mu­sic fes­ti­val would be back af­ter an 11-year break.

It opens its gates at The Em­bank­ment on Fri­day af­ter­noon and hopes are high the free en­try and fore­cast sun­shine will at­tract bumper crowds all week­end.

Mark Ringer came up with the idea of The Wil­low Fes­ti­val and will once again be in charge of 2012’s three­day event.

Last held in 2003 af­ter a six-year run, the last fes­ti­val was at­tended by 53,000 peo­ple, at the time mak­ing it the largest free live mu­sic event in Europe.

He told The Evening Tele­graph he could not wait for the gates to open as it will be the largest-scale Wil­low yet - with the big­gest num­ber of bands play­ing on the most stages.

He said: “I have been over­whelmed with in­ter­est ever since news broke that the fes­ti­val was re­turn­ing. The re­sponse to the fes­ti­val has truly been colos­sal.

“In a way it had built up a kind of cult sta­tus over the years. There was an in­ter­net cam­paign to bring it back and thank­fully the op­por­tu­nity came around. “There will be 135 acts play­ing on seven stages and we will also have the fes­ti­val’s first-ever com­edy tent. We have the most spon­sors back­ing us as well as the su­perb sup­port from Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil.

“The al­lo­cated on-site camp­ing has also sold out, I’m now hav­ing to di­rect peo­ple to pri­vate sites in and around Peter­bor­ough.”

The full line up, in­clud­ing set times, will only be avail­able in the of­fi­cial pro­gramme, at a cost of £3. How­ever, the list of all the bands ap­pear­ing over the week­end is avail­able on the fes­ti­val’s web­site, www.wil­lowfes­ti­val.

Mark added that this year’s high­lights are likely to come from The Ed­win Starr Band on Sun­day af­ter­noon; Whisky H.A.P.P.Y: The Ed­win Starr Band will be one of this

year’s high­lights Jax on Fri­day evening and Won­der­lush and The David Goo Va­ri­ety Band, who both per­form on Satur­day.

He said: “There is such a wide va­ri­ety of mu­si­cal tal­ent ap­pear­ing over the week­end. My ad­vice is to get down there, pick up a pro­gramme, and see where it takes you.”

It’s not just about the mu­sic, as the fes­ti­val will have a fair­ground, face-paint­ing, sto­ry­telling and an arts and craft area to keep chil­dren en­ter­tained.

Head of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions at Peter­bor­ough city coun­cil, An­nette Joyce said: “The coun­cil is thrilled the fes­ti­val is com­ing back to the city this year. Live mu­sic is some­thing we want to see more of in the city. I’m pos­i­tive The Wil­low Fes­ti­val will run for years and years now that it’s back on the city’s cal­en­dar.”

As en­try to The Wil­low Fes­ti­val is free, it re­lies on the sup­port of vol­un­teers and busi­nesses.

Vol­un­teers are still needed to take part for the whole day or for just a few hours. Peo­ple in­ter­ested in help­ing out can send an email to twfvol­un­teers@peter­bor­ough.

The sum­mer sea­son at Peter­bor­ough’s Lido also kicks off with a free swim of­fer, open to all the public, this Satur­day.

The Lido is sit­u­ated next to the fes­ti­val site.

A full pre­view of this year’s fes­ti­val will be in this Fri­day’s ET.

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