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Keynsham Music Festival

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Keynsham Music Festival


BS31 1HF


Tel: 0117 9868683

Fax: 0117 9866359

Keynsham Music Festival 25th June- 1st July 2018

There is uncertainty about its exact origins, but there is plenty of archive material for 1997’s Festival, and none for 1996. Possibly there was a very small affair in 1996 – and maybe a reader of this can verify it for us!

Keynsham Music Festival began with a fledgling Keynsham Town Council wishing to make its mark on the community.  What a great move for the town: and one that has developed a Festival with both longevity and national acclaim – now attracting performers from worldwide, while at the same time offering superb opportunity for local musicians to perform on a very high quality platform. In 20 years of the Festival it is still the local performers and community groups that are the central focus.

1997’s Festival ran for a week, with a range of events, but there was no big day in The Park. He most active day was the first Saturday of the Week with a range of workshops from 2 – 5 pm in the Scout Hut. The Gala Concert was on the Wednesday evening in Wellsway School, and various other events took place throughout the week in St John’s Church, Keynsham Library, Hawthorns and at the old clock tower.  We note that some of venues and events still carry on today, and credited and thanked on the first ever Festival programme is Mr Steve Drew of Keynsham Orchestra. Steve remains a tireless volunteer and performer at the Festival to this day.

One of the Keynsham bands playing for a dance in the Church Hall in 97 was the Free Spirit Ceilidh band, and they appear again in 2004, this time on the top stage in The Park, together with the likes of Fatman Swings and One Step Below.  In fact the two former both with Keynsham Musicians have performed at Keynsham more than any other bands – and the Keynsham Orchestra.

In 2004 The Bristol Observer reported that the Festival now attracted 10,000 people and was set to rival and perhaps eclipse the late Ashton Court Festival, and the St Paul’s Festival – its only local competitors in the early years.

By now there were four stages in the Park and the pattern that survives to this day was established, with the Keyford Dancing School, KLOGs and Totally Maracas as regular performers and stalwarts of the Community Stage. 2004 also staged the Proms in The Park on the Saturday evening, and a street procession on the Sunday. And then, as now, it was the involvement of local community groups as performers or stall holders that added that special flavour to Keynsham Music Festival, that, despite its size, retains an exclusively local focus.

With a pattern established the Festival has continued to grow and the Festival week is now re-established. High quality week evening performances being subsidised by the donations and sponsorship taken over the main weekend. In recent years around 20,000 people have participated each year, in one way or another, and an Audience Agency survey in 2013 calculated that the Festival brings in nearly £500,000 to the local economy. Not bad for the work of mainly volunteers and for a town with an immediate population of just 16,000.


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