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Packed programme for Southwold Arts Festival, which starts on Saturday, includes Rick Wakeman, Courtney Pine and Sir Bill Beaumont

The ninth Southwold Arts Festival kicks off on Saturday, with a packed programme including music, drama, poetry, visual art, photography, dance, talks and literature.

Aimed at all ages of residents and visitors, the festival includes eight days of arts events featuring national and local performers.

This year’s event will be opened by Courtney Pine and Zoe Rahman and closed by Rick Wakeman.

Southwold beach huts
Southwold beach huts

The programme also features Sir Bill Beaumont, Clive Anderson, a young musician’s showcase, the ‘Slaughter in Southwold’ crime writing festival, the Mark Flanagan Trio and Alfie Moore – A Face for Radio.

Organisers said: “When we stared at blank sheets of paper planning the first festival in 2014, we did not dare to dream it would be such a successful part of Southwold’s annual calendar.”

For the full programme and ticket details, visit https://www.southwoldartsfestival.co.uk/

Southwold. Picture: iStock
Southwold. Picture: iStock

The festival is a charity, with all proceeds from ticket sales used for the next festival.

Meanwhile, a colourful carnival returns to Southwold to celebrate the closing day of the festival, on June 29.

Southwold Street Festival will transform the high street into a colourful carnival atmosphere, attracting as many as 3,000 revellers.

It will form the fabulous finale to the arts festival, complete with a procession of performers alongside a rolling programme of music, dance and family fun, from noon-5pm.

Matthew Townshend. Picture: Alex Hermon
Matthew Townshend. Picture: Alex Hermon

Its return is thanks to director Matthew Townshend, of Matthew Townshend Productions (mtp) and its Theatre on the Coast summer season.

Matthew said: “The Southwold Street Festival has always brought a bright injection of colour and fun to the high street, so I am delighted to help bring it back this summer.

“The team at Southwold Arts Festival have had lots of messages asking if it will be back on this year. We have so much planned for a spectacular return that includes musicians and dance troupes that celebrate everything great about this seaside town.

“This is free family fun at its very finest and will form the perfect send off for what I’m sure will be another incredibly successful Southwold Arts Festival.”

For more information on Southwold Street Festival, go to www.totc.co.uk.

Also taking place in the town on June 29 are Southwold Harbour’s celebrations for the 75th Sailing Club anniversary and the 200th birthday of the RNLI.