From John Cooper Clarke to The Puppini Sisters to John Lill: Our guide to Bury Festival 2019
PUBLISHED: 17:53 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:53 13 May 2019
There's a bewildering array of talent offering to entertain us in Bury Festival 2019. We have asked artistic director Nick Wells to guide us through his top picks for a rich, diverse Festival experience
Now in its 34th year, the Bury St Edmunds Festival continues to bring a world class celebration of culture and entertainment to Suffolk.
Featuring 50 events, over 11 days, across 13 venues, the Festival will take in some great music, song, dance, comedy, film and other art forms with top performances by international artists alongside home-grown talent.
The Bury Festival works best when it combines contemporary arts with its historic cultural heritage, The Apex plays host to many of the events but the Theatre Royal Bury, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, will be playing a major role alomng with St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the Abbey Gardens, Moyse's Hall Museum and The Guildhall.
As with most year's, you take a look at the line-up and it is easy to become overwhelmed by the range of events on offer. We are spoilt for choice, so we asked artistic director Nick Wells for a personal guide through the bewildering array of events which make up this year's Bury Festival.
"Of course it is hard not to be excited about welcoming the likes of Nigel Kennedy and Rick Wakeman back to the festival and, of course, they are going to be special occasions. But, away from those, there are many events which are going to be simply wonderful:
John Cooper Clarke (May 21): "Poet, movie star, rock star, TV and radio presenter, comedian and social and cultural commentator, John Cooper Clarke shot to prominence in the 1970s as the original 'people's poet'.
Today, JCC is as relevant and vibrant as ever, and his influence just as visible on today's pop culture. Aside from his trademark 'look' continuing to resonate with fashionistas young and old, and his poetry included on national curriculum syllabus, his effect on modern music is huge.
John comes to the Bury Festival following publication of his new poetry book 'The Luckiest Guy Alive'. With a mix of classic verse, extraordinary new material, hilarious ponderings on modern life, good honest gags, riffs and chat, this is a chance to witness a living legend at the top of this game."
James Campbell (May 25): "One for rather younger people and their grown-ups. A stand-up comedy show for children over six, their parents and anyone who likes comedy without the rude words.
Hold onto your socks, take the banana out of your ears and enjoy the best comedy for kids from the man who invented it.
A comedian and author, he was the man who started Comedy For Kids. He has written the hilarious Boyface books, has appeared on TV programmes such as Blue Peter and at the Royal Festival Hall, The Royal Albert Hall and on Broadway."
The Puppini Sisters (May 17): "I am really looking forward to with their wonderful close harmonies. Regarded as the world's leading close-harmony group, The Puppini Sisters count Prince Charles, The Manhattan Transfer and Michael Bublé amongst their fans. They combine gorgeous close harmonies, impeccable fashion sense and trailblazing re-workings of pop and classic songs.
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"Often copied, never equalled, this truly original trio, founded in 2004 by Marcella Puppini and featuring Kate Mullins and Emma Smith, seamlessly blend elegance and sophistication with a touch of retro and turn it into a must have lifestyle."
Clare Teal (May 18): "Clare is no stranger to the festival but it is always a delight to welcome her back. Celebrating the Great American and British Songbooks, as well as contemporary writers, Clare and her BIG Mini Big Band are creating the standards of today. Promising a rich jazz infused repertoire in its many forms and eclectic song list, with arrangements crafted by world renowned trumpeter and composer Guy Barker and pianist extraordinaire Jason Rebello, Clare and her BIG Mini Big Band guarantee an evening of inspired music and unbridled entertainment performed by the very best.
Quintet-a-tete (May 24): "This is another jazz gig that I'm really looking forward to - a lunchtime set from a new quintet is led by two highly regarded young jazz musicians, trumpeter James Davison and trombonist Callum Au.
Inspired by the revered 1960s group, the Clark Terry/Bob Brookmeyer Quintet, the band plays a mix of Terry/Brookmeyer material and their own compositions. The emphasis is on fun, swinging music, bringing the atmosphere and vibe of 50s and 60s jazz to life for the modern day.
"James will be familiar to Bury Festival audiences who have seen him fronting The Dixie Strollers while Callum appeared at The Apex recently with the Joe Stilgoe Mighty Big Band."
John Lill (May 23): "On the classical side of things, John Lill's piano recital is not to be missed, in the year that he celebrates his 70th birthday. Described as one of the leading pianists of his generation, Lill has given over 4,000 concerts during the last 55 years.
"His rare talent emerged at an early age, giving his first piano recital at the age of nine. Since then he has given concerts in over 50 countries, both as a recitalist and as a soloist with the world's greatest orchestras. He will be playing works by Haydn, Schumann, Chopin and Beethoven."
George Harliono (May 21): "Two days before John Lill performers, we will be showcasing a young pianist at the other end of his career. George Harliono is young British pianist who just two years ago, aged 16, was invited by Valery Gergiev to perform Rachmaninov's 2nd piano concerto in Vladivostok.
"George gave his first one-hour solo recital aged nine and he has since performed at prestigious venues in the UK, America, Europe and Asia. He comes to perform for us with a programme that includes Beethoven's Appassionata sonata, as well as works by Liszt, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Chopin."
Chineke (May 26): "Rounding the festival off is the first performance here by Europe's first orchestra to feature a majority of black and minority ethnic musicians who will be performing a wonderful jazz-inspired programme.
"Founded by the pioneering double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, the orchestra performs throughout the UK and abroad to great acclaim, fulfilling its mission to champion change and celebrate diversity in classical music."
The Bury Festival runs across various venues in Bury St Edmunds between Thursday May 16 and Sunday May 26. See the full line-up and book online at www.buryfestival.co.uk.
Tickets are also now on sale and brochures available from The Apex and other venues around Bury St Edmunds or call the Box Office on 01284 758000. Follow on Twitter and Instagram @buryfestival and Facebook.