19 Jun The Maldon Festival returns for 2019
The Maldon Festival has launched its 2019 programme of concerts and exhibitions, running from 22nd June to 6th July. This year’s theme is a Festival of Animals and the fortnight starts with a whale of a concert as children from local schools and choirs come together to sing ‘Jonah Man Jazz’. From top to tail, the animal theme continues with owners of well-mannered pets invited to help draw the Festival to a close at St Mary’s Sunday Service on 7th July with a Blessing of the Animals.
In between, the Festival covers everything from drumming workshops to political debates, open-air opera and silent movies with live accompanist. From choral to orchestral, jazz or folk music – the Festival offers something for everyone. It could not be easier for Essex residents and visitors to enjoy a summer of fine art and good music, with all these exhibitions and concerts staged right on their doorstep! Tickets can be booked on line at www.maldonfestival.co.uk or through the Maldon tourist board.
The Festival offers a wide choice of harmonious experiences from music written in the 13th century to music that is composed on the spot. Delivering unique improvisation and toe-tapping tunes, Joe Stilgoe returns again this year. A Festival favourite, his evening of jazz takes place on 4th July and promises to be an eclectic mix of virtuosic riffs and brilliant musicianship. At the other end of the timescale, the musical ensemble Blondell will take audiences back in time. This concert on the 27th June is staged in the historic atmosphere of Mundon church and features music from 13th to 17th centuries, some of which even pre-dates the church. Sit back and enjoy entertainment that would be familiar to our Maldon ancestors, as Blondell brings history to life using authentic bagpipes, recorders and an ancient instrument called a shawm.
Celebrating the visual arts is an important part of the 2019 Festival. Experience evocative, provocative and inspiring artwork, photography, design, textiles and sculpture throughout the fortnight with displays at the Hayletts Gallery, the Maeldlune Heritage Centre and the Octagon at St Mary’s Church. Renowned sculptor, painter and Festival trustee John Doubleday has curated a provocative exhibition called Alternative Practices, illustrating different modes of expression and methodologies in visual art practice. John Doubleday is also generously staging the Festival’s own mini-Glynebourne whilst also hosting an open studio for this one-off event. Audiences can enjoy open air opera and picnic in the Goat Lodge’s glorious gardens overlooking the River Blackwater. It is the ultimate summer experience.
Participation is very much part of the Festival and the drumming workshops on 3rd July with the much loved Senagalese star Modou Diouf promises to be a sell-out. This generous and warm-hearted musician loves to share his enthusiasm for the Sabar drums. His call and response teaching technique is irresistibly catching, enticing participants to find their inner rhythm and play along to the beat.
The politics of staging an arts and music Festival in the middle Brexit is one of the subjects covered by The Maldon Festival Debate. Local MP John Whittingdale (a Brexit supporter) and the Labour Peer, Andrew Adonis (a staunch ‘Remainer’) take to the stage to share their views on Brexit, music and the arts on the June 28th.
There is so much to look forward to over the Festival fortnight from local Folk musicians Shurig appearing at Forrester Park on 2nd July to the open-air opera in the glorious gardens at Goat Lodge on 26th June. The wonderful Bristol Ensemble bring the Festival’s animal theme to life with Haydn’s The Hen and The Chasse, combined with ‘Lark Ascending’, a classic evocation of summer by Vaughan Williams. This is matched with the evergreen Toy Symphony by Leopold Mozart. The Triptych Trio will be bringing animal passions to the stage with a magnificent recital showing just how many moods musicians can create in one concert!
Finally, the concert which has been placed at the heart of the Festival’s programme this year is the Concert for Kieran on 30th June. A Festival trustee, Maldon resident and much loved husband, friend and colleague, Kieran died unexpectedly earlier this year. The concert features music composed specially to celebrate Kieran’s life, performed by his friends and admirers. The concert is in aid of a choral scholarship that is being set up in his name.
This year the Festival is supported by Maldon District Council through the Sense of Place initiative as well as the Middlewick Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund and the Bradwell B Fund, both of which are managed by the local independent trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF). The Festival has also been generously sponsored by Gadsby Wicks and Aquila Holdings with concerts supported by The Limes Guesthouse, Tiptree and The Mighty Oak Brewing Company.