St Ives September Festival once again overcame doubts and uncertainty to provide some memorable moments during 15 days of music and arts in the town.
Clockwise from top left: David Fenton and Bob Devereux; Dr Feelgood; Peggy Seeger; and Seth Lakeman
Last year it was the difficulties encountered as we emerged from Covid: this year the announcement of The Queen’s death less than 48 hours before the scheduled start.
Would the festival go ahead? No-one knew, overnight on Thursday, 8th September … but two days later it burst into life, with the first of two Saturdays of street entertainment putting smiles on the faces of visitors and locals alike.
Lindisfarne had already sold out the Guildhall weeks in advance of the opening night, with Seth Lakeman doing the same at St Ia Church 24 hours later. ‘House full’ signs continued to go out across town, until Fleetwood Mac Songbook sold out the Guildhall for a second year running on the final night, which also produced a flag-waving finale with Helston Town Band’s Last Night of the Proms at the parish church.
In between, music nights, daytime talks, and other events across the town attracted capacity audiences. A moment of history saw a heritage plaque unveiled at Talland House to mark the writer Virginia Woolf’s childhood holidays in St Ives — and something different was offered by the festival’s first over-60s trapeze workshop!
Clockwise from top left: Nicole Tesseyman; Molly Hocking; the unveiling of the Virginia Woolf plaque; Geno Washington and his band
Other highlights included Daniela Soledade and Nate Najar at St Ives Jazz Club, 2019 winner of ITV’s The Voice Molly Hocking at St Ia Church, and Royal Cinema’s special showing of new film The Long Way Back, with a Q&A with brothers Brett and Simon Harvey, the director and producer.
Bob Devereux’s daily lunchtime music and poetry sessions at Norway Square again attracted a large following of performers and spectators every day. Thirty-eight artists welcomed visitors during Open Studios, and St Ives Rotary’s 15th annual Spot The Artist charity painting sale netted more than £8,000.
Great Guildhall nights included not just Dr Feelgood, but the 48th and final date on American folk icon Peggy Seeger’s UK tour, and the ‘last chance’ to see soul legend Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band in Cornwall on their ‘farewell tour’ … which might now not be the swansong after all according to Geno. “We had a blast,” he said. Didn’t we all?
• Check back regularly on the September Festival website to get first news of next year’s event.