Byron Festival ready to roll

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WORLDWIDE fans of Lord Byron are set to turn their gaze in the direction of Hucknall again as the town prepares to host the 13th annual international festival to celebrate the life and times of the infamous poet.

The theme this year is ‘Byron And The Theatre’ and organisers are hoping the event will prove a real showstopper that also provides a boost to the local economy during the recession.

The week-long attraction, which starts on Friday June 3, is not only likely to attract visitors to Hucknall from all over Nottinghamshire and the rest of the UK but also from parts of Europe and even possibly the USA, where Byron has a dedicated following.

In a mission statement, Ken Purslow, chairman of the committee organising the event, said: “We will be pulling out all the stops to make this year’s festival one of the biggest successes ever.”

Also among the aims of the organisers is to make the festival as appealing as possible to locals of all ages, particularly children.

Things kick off next Friday with a spectacular Byron Ball at the John Godber Centre on Ogle Street.

But the opening attraction on the first day of the full programme, Saturday June 4, allows young people to take centre stage.

For it is a summer showcase featuring dance, drama and musical performances, including some by pupils at Holgate and National Comprehensive Schools in Hucknall.

There will also be two stage performances from Byron Festival stalwarts, Ian Frost and Bill Studdiford, on Monday June 6 and Wednesday June 8.

And returning favourites include ghost tours of Annesley Hall, a heritage day, golf tournament and a poetry competition in honour of one of the festival’s driving forces, the late Maureen Crisp.

“We are trying to put on the kind of events which people of Hucknall would like to see, and we are hoping there will be wholehearted support from the local community,” said Mr Purslow.

“The summer showcase will be a good way of getting young people involved. It should be noted that admission to most of the events is free.”