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Ipswich: Jessie J and McBusted help draw 170,000 people to town during three-week long Ip-Art Festival

12:30 16 July 2014

Jessie J performs at Blink Box East Coast Live. Photo: Jen O'Neill

Jessie J performs at Blink Box East Coast Live. Photo: Jen O'Neill


More than 170,000 people attended Ipswich’s annual summer arts festival, it has emerged,

McBusted play Ipswich's Chantry Park. Photo: Jen O'NeillMcBusted play Ipswich's Chantry Park. Photo: Jen O'Neill

Bryony Rudkin, portfolio-holder for culture and leisure at Ipswich Borough Council, said Ipswich can now be known as a “festival town” after hailing the success of this year’s Ip-art festival.

Jessie J headlined the Blinkbox Music East Coast Live gig at Chantry Park while thousands of people packed out Christchurch Park for the annual Music Day and Indian Summer Mela.

Open air, visual art and comedy events were also performed, while comedy gigs, a Writers’ Café and guided walks showcasing the town’s historical artefacts also proved popular.

In total, more than 50 events were held at a string of venues across the town during the three-week festival – which included four weekends.

Sweta Jain draws henna on Mary Lowe at the Indian Mela event in Christchurch Park on Sunday, 13 July.Sweta Jain draws henna on Mary Lowe at the Indian Mela event in Christchurch Park on Sunday, 13 July.

Mrs Rudkin said: “The rain seemed relentless at times but it is a tribute to the variety of the events that we still clocked up a huge audience, certainly in the region of 170,000-plus.

“To attract an audience bigger than the entire population of greater Ipswich takes something pretty special.

“Ipswich is now seen as a festival town, with promoters wanting to bring the biggest names in pop here. And we attracted thousands more to our free events such as Music Day, Global Rhythms and the Mela.”

Ip-art has been the town’s annual summer arts festival since 2003, and is designed to boost the town’s economy and encourage cultural growth.

Mrs Rudkin added: “It is not just about festival audiences; it is about bringing people into the town and boosting the local economy.

“In addition, this year saw a host of town centre events such as the March of 1,000 fairies, speciality markets and celebrations.

“We also welcomed Suffolk Pride, dance events, theatre, open-air cinema and a continual programme of cabaret and comedy in the Big Top in Christchurch Park.

“Ip-art is special and I would like to thank Archant and our other sponsors, volunteers, events team and performers who make the festival what it is.”

This week DAVID KINDRED takes a look at the early days of local radio in Ipswich and Suffolk.

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