Opera star helps launch £1.5m Buxton International Festival appeal

The Duke of Devonshire and Lesley Garrett helped launch the Buxton International Festival Appeal, which hopes to raise �1.5m in three years.
The Duke of Devonshire and Lesley Garrett helped launch the Buxton International Festival Appeal, which hopes to raise �1.5m in three years.

Buxton’s International Festival wants to raise £1.5m over three years to secure its future as the foundation of the town’s cultural economy.

The festival already generates £3 million for the economy of the area, but the appeal aims to create a financial base which will allow it to expand into its fifth decade.

The appeal is being backed by the festival’s patron the Duke of Devonshire and opera star Lesley Garrett who performed there early in her career,

Lesley said: “I owe this festival a debt I simply cannot repay.

“We cannot in these cash-strapped times allow this great heritage that we have all worked so hard for to fail for lack of effort.”

A survey by the University of Derby demonstrated that the average festival-goer spends more than £320 each locally, and the event attracts visitors from France, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, the United States of America and New Zealand.

Executive director Randall Shannon said: “Our vision is to increase the international profile, run a year-round festival programme and strengthen the local connection.”

The report stated with some increased investment, the festival could become a ‘landmark in the UK for events’.

The Duke of Devonshire said: “The festival is absolutely the epicentre of this continuing success and growth, and the opportunities for Buxton are enormous.

“Without the festival, Buxton and Derbyshire would be a much poorer place.”

Chairman of the festival friends and former headteacher, David Brindley, said taking opera singers and musicians into classrooms paid dividends by widening young people’s horizons. He said: “When you take them into schools, the looks on the children’s faces are fantastic. It’s about nurturing talent and widening our audience base.”