Ale festival’s ‘Proms’

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Chichester city-centre is to have its very own Last Night Of The Proms celebration this summer in a major new departure for the Real Ale And Jazz Festival.

Their Proms extravaganza featuring The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will round off this year’s Festival in Priory Park on Saturday, July 9. Festival spokesman Stuart Pembery said the Festival’s marquee would be the perfect venue: “There are not many places where you can go to the Last Night Of The Proms with a reserved table indoors to eat your own picnic.” Stuart said he was hoping the whole audience would enter into the spirit of the night, with extravagant costumes and picnics. The Festival may well set up competitions to reward the best. Tickets are now on sale for this year’s programme which is:

The evenings 7-11pm: Friday, July 1 - ASWAD with The Selecter; Saturday, July 2 - Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel with Apart From Rod; Friday, July 8 - The Dictionary Of Soul featuring Sing Baby Sing; and Saturday, July 9 - The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The afternoons 1-5pm: Saturday, July 2 - The Jazz Smugglers with Turnaround; and Satuday, July 9 - King Pie with Turnaround.

Sing Baby Sing is a Stylistics tribute band; Apart From Rod offers Rod Stewart’s hits performed, without Rod, by musicians who have worked with him. The programme for the RPO will include Holst’s I Vow to Thee, My Country, Suppé’s Light Cavalry Overture, Parry’s Jerusalem, Verdi’s La Traviata, Sempre libera, Arne’s Rule Britannia, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No.1. Conductor: Stephen Bell. Soprano: Rebecca Bottone.

Stuart explained: “In response to our survey (of RAJF-goers), one of the things that people say they like about us that we are under cover and you can reserve tables and bring your own picnic. “We thought of the kind of events that used to be held up at Petworth Park, but with the weather those were big risks - which set us thinking. We spoke to the Royal Philharmonic. We saw that there were playing some larger venues this summer and wondered if they would be interested in playing our relatively-smaller venue.” The advantage is that the Festival’s tent is “infinitely configurable” - “so it is not very difficult for us to make the stage bigger. It will come forward and sideways a bit more. Also the RPO don’t need any amplification. We get more space because we won’t need electrical gear in the way. “I think the Festivities might be a bit surprised that we are doing this, but the feedback we are getting from our focus groups is very positive. Certainly we are going to be promoting the Last Night Of The Proms experience. It is designed to be a loud, raucous sing-along.” As for Steve Harley, Stuart added: “All the agents that we work with say that he gives excellent concerts. You will recognise far more songs than you think. It’s not only a great back catalogue, but a great concert. He has got the reputation of being fantastically engaging with the audience.”

Tickets are available on http://www.chichester-rajf.com. The organisers have got tickets they are happy to give away to charities for use as raffle prizes. Get in touch via info@chichester-rajf.com.