Banbridge Performing Arts Festival Committee met last week to prepare for the 42nd annual festival.
The festival has been held in the Belmont Hotel’s Iveagh Suite even since it was first planned in 1974, with over 80,000 children having performed since 1975.
Today the Banbridge Festival is one of the four biggest in Ireland.
This year it will have grown to over 100 classes having recently added a number of new classes...the ”Dickens class”, the “Seamus Heaney” class, the “First World War poets” and “poetry accompanied by music.”
For the last number of years the festival has attracted over 2000 entries from the young people of the district, and also other local districts especially Craigavon and Newry and Mourne.
In 2014 and 2015 the number of children participating from Primary Schools greatly increased and was the main reason the total numbers increased.
The Banbridge Performing Arts Festival is entirely organised by a voluntary committee, supported by a band of dedicated helpers.
Each year the committee meets to start the year’s planning for the next festival, a process which takes approximately 11 months.
The festival was the brainchild of Patricia Mulligan, who had the foresight to see that Banbridge needed a festival and could see it would grow.
Banbridge Council also backed the festival in the early days and sponsored it.
This sponsorship has been continued by the amalgamated ABC Council, who also see the value of this festival and have agreed to promote it.
As the festival is organised by a voluntary committee and helpers, the committee would invite anyone who has a small bit of free time in early November, and who feels they could contribute to help in many of the jobs, big and small, to please contact the Honorary Secretary Patricia Mulligan on 028 406 23748.
The syllabus for the 2016 festival is almost complete and will be available very soon from the Honorary Secretary.
Please contact the secretary if you wish a copy to be sent to you.