Buxton Festival brought in 40,000 visitors

Stars ranging from Joanna Lumley to Alan Titchmarsh helped make the 33rd Buxton Festival an artistic – and financial – success.

It closed last week after 19 packed days of opera, literary talks, music, walks and community projects, attracting an audience of more than 40,000 to Buxton.

With record ticket sales showing an increase on last year, which is no mean feat in the current economic climate, and with more than 3,000 Friends of Buxton Festival spread all over the country, the Festival is clearly on the right track, said organisers.

Excellent national reviews included five stars from the Financial Times for Mignon, four stars from The Times for Maria di Rohan and four stars from The Telegraph for Saul. The Financial Times described the Festival as ‘the most relaxing and the least pretentious’ of all the UK’s summer opera venues.

The popular and growing literary series saw many sold-out talks and additional events added to meet demand.

Audiences queued across the Opera House forecourt to meet Festival favourites Melvyn Bragg and Matthew Parris and have their books signed.

Glyn Foley, Buxton Festival’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re really pleased that so many people enjoyed this year’s Festival.

“While it’s thrilling to receive excellent reviews from the national critics, to see positive reactions first-hand from Festival visitors and local audiences is very special.’

Festival staff are now working away at next year’s Festival, which will be the first to involve Stephen Barlow as Artistic Director.

Stephen is an inspirational and experienced opera conductor, and also a distinguished pianist and composer.

His recent compositions include an opera in Canterbury Cathedral and a children’s composition, Rainbow Bear, with his wife‚ Joanna Lumley‚ as narrator.