Saturday, 19 June 2021

Soul singer helps make village festival Ella-F success

Soul singer helps make village festival Ella-F success

THE artistic director of Goring Gap Festival has thanked visitors and fellow organisers for making it a success.

Thousands of people attended the third biennial arts and culture extravaganza, which took place at dozens of venues in the village and neighbouring Streatley from Thursday to Sunday last week.

Dozens of events sold out in advance, including the headline performance by jazz and soul singer Mica Paris in a marquee on Gardiner recreation ground in Goring on Saturday evening.

She sang a mixture of original songs and numbers from her latest album, Mica Sings Ella, in which she covered the music of Ella Fitzgerald and had the audience dancing.

Other sell-outs included a performance by Goring rock band The Lightyears at the village hall on Friday night and a family concert by children’s singer and entertainer Nick Cope, which was followed by afternoon tea.

The hot weather brought a larger number of visitors than expected on Sunday so organisers arranged extra heritage trails and art walks around the village.

Another popular event was a concert with a Twenties and Thirties theme by the Pasadena Roof Orchestra in the marquee.

Guests were encouraged to wear period costume and dance in the styles of the time while enjoying cocktails and a buffet dinner.

Eric Knowles, a regular expert on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and Bargain Hunt, carried out valuations and told anecdotes.

Bestselling crime writer Val McDermid gave a talk called “Killing people for fun and profit”.

Heather Dunthorne, who took charge of the festival programme from co-founder Patricia Williams last year, said: “I’ve had loads of comments, both in writing and by word of mouth, saying it was a great success.

“We were lucky that it was sunny because so many events depend on the weather, especially the trails and open gardens.

“As I was watching the Pasadena Roof Orchestra’s show, I had this feeling of almost disbelief about how well it was going and how much people were enjoying it.

“It was gratifying and overwhelming.

“However, I’d stress that more than 250 people are involved in the festival and they all deserve thanks as we’ve been very busy over the past 18 months. There are so many unsung heroes who’ve put in a lot of time.

“For two small villages, we achieved an incredibly high standard.” The festival concluded with a series of free events on the Sunday, many of which were themed around Father’s Day.

There were children’s activities on the recreation ground and music by local acts including Dave Holt and band, The Mysteries, Lu Cozma, Gerard Cousins, Claudia Gibson’s choir, Lisa Winship, Andrew Matheson and the Goring and Streatley Concert Band.

Dads were encouraged to join in street dance workshops by Laura Green, who runs a regular class in Streatley, before drum teacher Tony Lyons led a drumming group.

The drummers then joined rock covers band Rush Keeper for a concert before festival patron Gyles Brandreth led a countdown to declare the event closed.

Ms Dunthorne said: “Gyles had some very kind words for us and has since emailed to congratulate us on how well it went.”

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