Sun set to shine on music festival
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. org.uk
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. gov.uk
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.