Royston Arts Festival 2020: Success as virtual event scores more than 5,000 views

Roger McGough performed for Royston Arts Festival 2020. Picture: Roger McGough

Roger McGough performed for Royston Arts Festival 2020. Picture: Roger McGough - Credit: Archant

The first online Royston Arts Festival amassed more than 5,000 views, much to the delight of organisers who worked extremely hard to put on the 10-day virtual event.

Royston Arts Festival 2020 performers, the Royston Town Band. Picture: Roger McGough

Royston Arts Festival 2020 performers, the Royston Town Band. Picture: Roger McGough - Credit: Archant

The Creative Royston management committee organised the event, headed up by chairman Carl Filby.

They planned special events for all ages to be viewed online for each day of the festival, which ended on Sunday – and the chairman was pleased it generated a great amount of despite the coronavirus pandemic preventing people from being able to enjoy the entertainment in person.

Mr Filby said: “For the 10-day festival we had over 5,000 views – and that does not include figures for the Royston Photographic Society Exhibition. The festival would normally get around 5,000 visits to all its events so the online festival seems to have generated a similar amount of interest, and of course it can be viewed online for a while to come!”

All the entertainment was accessed via the arts festival website, including the opening night Baroque Concert by Alison Balsom & The Balsom Ensemble from the Meistersingerhalle, Nürnberg, which echoed last year’s opener at Ashwell’s parish church.

Royston Arts Festival 2020 artwork. Picture:Royston Arts Festival

Royston Arts Festival 2020 artwork. Picture:Royston Arts Festival - Credit: Archant


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The virtual nature of the festival allowed contributions from notable artists such as poets Roger McGough and Ian McMillan, who both wrote poems and recorded videos for the event.

For the very first time the major exhibitions staged by Royston Arts Society and Royston Photographic Society could run throughout the 10 days and beyond. Visitors could also browse around 30 book reviews, around half kindly provided by the town’s library staff and the others from a range of some well-known or active residents of Royston including MP Oliver Heald.

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Royston MusicFest commissioned musicians to produce no less than five concerts – and the finale concert, which was almost two hours long and packed full of performers, included soprano Hannah Long & Friends, pianist Madalina Rusu, bands from Royston’s German and Spanish twin towns, and the Royston Town Band.

Many of the events can still be viewed online at www.creativeroyston.org.

The Steve Winch & The Inception performed at Royston MusicFest. Picture: Royston Arts Festival

The Steve Winch & The Inception performed at Royston MusicFest. Picture: Royston Arts Festival - Credit: Archant

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