Beaminster Festival: Melvyn Bragg one of the headlines at annual event

Lord Melvyn Bragg

Lord Melvyn Bragg

First published in News Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

LORD Melvyn Bragg is just one of the headline attractions at this year’s Beaminster Festival.

This will be the veteran broadcaster’s second visit to the festival run by Tanya Bruce-Lockhart, who was a producer on his South Bank Show.

Melvyn Bragg will talk about his latest project The Book of Books – telling the story of arguably the most influential book in history of the world – The King James Bible and the 300-year fight to get it into the English language.

His talk will be in St Mary’s Church at noon on June 25.

This is the 16th year of the festival and under Ms Lockhart’s direction it has grown into an 11-day celebration of all the arts – for everyone.

She said: “They asked me to take it on in 2005 when it was a very nice, gentle, little festival of classical concerts in the church. It was very well supported by the great and the good although it had some good quality music I felt it was very much an elitist festival.

“I said I would take it on as long as it was a festival for all. There are only 3000 people in this community and there has to be something for everyone, not just for the people who like classical music and can afford to buy tickets.

“Now it is incredibly diverse with all sorts of music from jazz to Bulgarian café music, to salsa and on top of that we make workshops available for the young.”

Last year such workshops included the mini Bournemouth Sym-phony Orchestra teaching schoolchildren and workshops taken by the Armonico Consort known saxophonist Gerard McChrystal.

There are also two big free events at the beginning and the end of the festival on June 25 and July 3.

Ms Bruce-Lockhart added: “We have managed to get road closures this year and it is just an amazing because it brings everyone together.

“It is a free event for the whole town and that is actually what festivals should be about.

“If you want elitist festivals go to the big city but not in a small rural community otherwise it becomes divisive.”

The grand finale will see Lesley Waters open Beaminster’s Big Day in the Square on July 3 followed by a fun day at Beaminster School.

Full details of events are on the festival website beamfest.org.uk

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