The bunting is down, the posters are gone, the signs disappeared – did it really happen?

The 1900 tickets sold, 1460 visitors to our Open Gardens, and around 850 attending our community events (Party-on-the-Rec, banquet, Festival Lunch and Children’s Party) are testament to the fact that we had a great Festival. 

The Festival kicked off with excellent drinks and canapés at the Mayor’s Reception, and then our fund-raising Reception at the Priory very generously hosted by Matthew Freud and the Festival Banquet. Phillip Taubenheim entertained us through an auction that raised over £5000, and later in the week delighted or depressed antique(?) owners at the Burford ‘Antiques Roadshow’.

The Open Gardens weekend was blessed by good weather which attracted a record breaking 1468 paying visitors (compared to an excellent 950 in 2013), supplemented by a huge contribution made by the sale of cakes and teas, all donated by dedicated teams of bakers and servers.

The weekend talks were all fascin ating and reflected the stature of the speakers. Baroness Rebuck was interviewed by a gently probing Anne Robinson, giving a fascinating insight into Gail’s life, views and experience. Mary Keen, speaking on ‘Planning, Planting and Prudence in the garden’, inspired a sell-out audience with a pictorial tour-de-force. Deborah Warner told the fascinating and moving story of the inception and direction of the new “Between Worlds” opera by Tansy Davies; and Dr Antonia Bostrom overcame jet-lag to transport us (pictorially) around the sculpture parks of the USA drawing on her own experience working in two leading US art museums.

The use of the Club House as a cinema was very popular with three film evenings all sold out.  Deborah Warner introduced and commented on her film “The Last September” on two occasions to rapt audiences, and the historic film audience found “Severn and Somme” and “24-Square Miles” both of great interest.

The Tolsey Historic Tour operators were very over-worked, with four guides leading over-subscribed groups around the town, and the Historic Pub Tour (newly devised by Sue Ashton and delivered by her, John Knox-Johnston and a team of extras) included a highly entertaining cameo of Charles II encountering his mistress Nell Gwynne in the George Yard!

This was a complete community effort with support from so many people in so many ways: speaking at events, physical help in distribution of brochures/posters/flyers, putting up/taking down bunting/signs/banners, stewarding and running bars, financial support, opening venues to us, and above all coming to the events. Without helpers and audience we would not have a festival, so on behalf your exhausted committee: “Thank you for helping and thank you for coming!  While it is fresh in your minds do drop us a line with your thoughts for 2017 (festival@madhatterbooks.co.uk).”

Hugo Ashton, Chairman, Burford Festival 2015 Organising Committee

For a review of speakers and performers at the festival Read more…