Ipswich: Cultural capital sparkles as IP-Art festival brings tens of thousands to the town

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 - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s biggest music festival secured Ipswich’s top spot as the county’s capital of culture.

In terms of visitors and participants the three-week IP-Art festival is by far the largest event in Suffolk. Latitude and the Aldeburgh Festival may attract the national headlines – but their numbers are a fraction of those heading to IP-Art.

Over the two days more than 50,000 music lovers made their way to Chantry Park.

Next weekend that number could well be exceeded in Christchurch Park when Ipswich Music Day, one of the biggest free festivals in the country, takes place.

On Saturday night there’s an open-air screening of the recent version of Great Gatsby in Christchurch Park followed by a 20s-style Gatsby-inspired party at the Big Top in the park.


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With classical concerts, indoor and outdoor theatre productions, and the whole festival rounded off by the colourful Indian Mela in Christchurch Park, IP-Art is really making an impression on the region.

Borough leader David Ellesmere said: “It has been a massive weekend for music and it shows that we are the music capital of East Anglia.

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“We had tens of thousands of fans dancing in Chantry Park to some of the biggest names in the pop world.

“And it proves you don’t have to go to London or other places to see the likes of Jessie J, Jason Derulo, Diversity and McBusted. These are stellar acts and they want to come here to Ipswich.

“Of course, it’s not just one weekend – the summer festival season in Ipswich dwarfs those of other towns and cities.

“Ip-art is by some stretch the biggest festival in Suffolk and includes many free events – we are providing a festival for the people and include music, visual art, cinema, theatre, comedy and dance.

“And there is something for everyone – while Rizzle Kicks were rocking one part of town, we had one of the world’s leading pianists, Noriko Ogawa, playing at the sensational Ipswich Orchestral Society summer concert in the Corn Exchange. We will also have fun trying to spot the next Ed Sheeran at the iconic Music Day in Christchurch Park next Sunday.

“All these events – which carry on through Celebrate Ipswich, the Maritime Festival and the 1 Big Multicultural Festival – not only provide great entertainment for residents, they attract more than a quarter of a million people and provide a huge boost for the local economy, recognising the culture and heritage we have to offer.”

He added:“We are proud of the things we are doing in Suffolk’s county town and are now recognised as the go-to place for a wide range of cultural events.

“I want to thank our events team, sponsors and supporters – and all our festival-goers – for making Ipswich the region’s entertainment magnet.”

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