Report on March Summer Festival 2009

This year’s March Summer Festival has been described as one of the best ever as not only did the sun shine for practically the whole weekend, but the attendances to the free event in West End Park reached record levels.

Friday night had bigger audiences than in previous years with about 500 people mid evening to see local bands 'Justice is dead', 'Flesh that Burns' and 'Ascendia'. The night ended with a performance by the surreal looking 'Cameltoe' who came onto the open air stage wearing black suits, white shirts and black ties plus white masks obscuring their faces. The audience, at first bemused by this strange spectacle soon warmed to the vibrancy of  five lads from Peterborough who are regular performers at the Met Lounge.

On Saturday morning the park was busy with people looking for bargains from the car boot sale, and then by 12.30 the town became packed with spectators enjoying the Carnival Parade.

The crowds of people then flocked to the park to witness the opening of the event by the Mayor and the arrival of the Carnival Princesses. They then enjoyed the welcome return to the festival of the Peterborough Highland Pipe Band who demonstrated their musical skills and authentic Scottish appearance in the arena. This was followed by Alison's Street Dancers from Wisbech who filled the performance space with a refreshingly different dance style, and then the mellow sounds of the Wississippi Jazzmen on the stage.

By the time that Lisa Dickinson's Dance Mania took to the stage, thousands of people were watching as they demonstrated their skills in modern dance. The afternoon then passed into evening but the weather remained warm as a selection of local popular music bands ('Storey', 'The Journey', 'Los Kiosk Bears' and 'Monkey's Uncle') kept the crowd entertained with the final performance by 'Krak'n' leaving them calling for more.

Noon on Sunday marked the start of 'Picnic in the Park', a light alternative to the busier mood of Friday and Saturday. A couple of thousand people, sitting mostly in family groups, enjoyed the music of March Brass 2000, the folk songs of Phil Hare, the Jazzy chords of Ivan Garford and the popular sounds of Matthew Ray. Alongside this, crowds of children were entertained by various activities including colouring, storytelling and circus skills. Many were also lucky enough to be given a balloon model by the friendly clown Bazzaballoo.

The afternoon was rounded off by the lively 'Down with the Daisies' fronted by bubbly Welsh lass Sally Rose, who sang a selection of popular numbers including more than a few by Fleetwood Mac. They were followed in the early evening by the Alan Norris Big Band who kept the large crowd enthralled with their music skills, witty banter and magical stage presence until the close of the event at 9.30pm.

The organisers were delighted with the weekend, which was made possible through the help and support of numerous local businesses plus funding from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation Grassroots Grant, March Town Council, Fenland Arts Association and Fenland District Council.

Lots of photos were taken courtesy of Charles David Photography and these can be viewed on their website at : www.charlesdavidphotography.co.uk