12:31 Thursday 06 February 2014

Curtain falls for the final time at popular festival

Written byROB SMYTH

Arts festival, St James church, Barton..Alex Wilson-Dunn / Sue Palmer - from John Taylor High School, making patchworks. Arts festival, St James church, Barton..Alex Wilson-Dunn / Sue Palmer - from John Taylor High School, making patchworks.

A POPULAR East Staffordshire arts and music festival is saying ‘goodbye for now’.

The team behind the Barton Music and Arts Festival have decided to call it a day but have promised fans of the dozens of events that they ran every year in the area that they hope to come back in some form in the future.

The event began life in 2005 and was the brainchild of Stephen Taylor, who was the organist and choir master at St James’ Church in the village.

A spokesman for the group said: “Our final concert was in December and was one of the best attended performances we have ever had.

“Sometime in the future we hope to collect a team of enthusiasts to start again.

“Thanks to all those who supported us, either by their work for the festival or coming to our concerts.”

“2005 saw the start of the festival. It was supported by Barton Parish Council and sponsorship was found via Argos, which has a distribution centre in the area.

“A full year programme ran from September to June.

“The first year went well and the concert sessions have continued until now, with one gap in 2008-09.

“One of the chief aims was to provide liver performances for the village.

“St James’ Church has excellent acoustics and is a beautiful venue which we wanted to share with residents of the village and the wider community.”

The events saw a wide range of performers taking part from brass bands and male voice choirs to operas and various individual musicians and singers.

A group spokesman added: “One extraordinary complicated concert, a community concert had choirs from two primary schools, the church and a whole regiment of soloists and we finally managed to get pupils from John Taylor High School to perform during 2013.”

Barton and Dunstall Key Trust, The Waterfront restaurant and several others were thanked for their support of the festival.

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