Thousands party in the park

PUNK rockers and pensioners, families and fans stood side by side in Christchurch Park as the sound of music filled the air. After a damp start crowds in their thousands turned out to celebrate Ipswich Music Day yesterday's.

PUNK rockers and pensioners, families and fans stood side by side in Christchurch Park as the sound of music filled the air.

After a damp start crowds in their thousands turned out to celebrate Ipswich Music Day yesterday's.

Set against the backdrop of ancient oaks and the 16th century Christchurch Mansion the park was teeming with people enjoying entertainment from seven stages.

The Youngs family from Colchester summed up the atmosphere. Dad Simon Youngs, 36, said he brought his wife, two daughters and neighbour along to see what the event was all about.


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"Its free, its relaxed and its informal. It's a great atmosphere. It's easy if you have got kids. They can run around and see things. There are no restrictions.

"There is also a fairground which they just love."

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More than one hundred bands and performers strutted their stuff providing a non stop musical experience.

Organiser Craig Oldfield, operations and events manager for Ipswich Borough Council, said about 40,000 people were enjoying the day.

"Its great to see everyone enjoying the music. The whole idea is to have a varied programme and cater for every musical taste."

Mr Oldfield said the event gave local bands and performers a chance to show the people of Ipswich their skills.

"Hundreds of bands applied to perform. We have very high quality musicians. It is the same as going to a festival."

Glastonbury maybe bigger and muddier but as part of the Ip-art festival 04 the Ipswich Music Day is now in its 13th year and is an established date on the calendar.

Music fan Debbie Villiers of Rendlesham is a regular.

She said: "We come every year. It makes a good day out and its something different to do. I have come to see Salt Dog, I thought they were good last year."

Performers ranged from jazz to brass band, rock to reggae. Among those performing on the Classical stage, sponsored by the Ipswich Arts Association, was the Ipswich Choral Society. Member Jane Burn took a few moments out to speak to the Evening Star shortly before performing

Mrs Burn said: "We shall be singing Djvorak's songs of nature, the Hallelujah Chorus, and some gospel. Its wonderful to perform here."

The day is also a chance for community groups to showcase their organisations and raise some money.

Guide Captain of the 10th Ipswich Guides Cheryl Polley said she hoped to raise £200 from their Prize-Every-Time stall.

Mrs Polley said the money raised would go towards the guides' summer camp.

She added: "We come every year. Its important for us to show we are still gong strong."

Costing the taxpayer nothing the event is self-financing.

Mr Oldfield added: "It is something good for the county, it's the largest free one day music event in East Anglia. It is Ipswich's day."

What did you think of the day? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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