Ramsey Arts Festival was founded by Raphael Terroni and Norman Beedie. It came into being in 1990 with the aim of highlighting the importance of music and the arts in the cultural life of the area. The objectives of the group are the promotion of concerts, performances and other activities of a cultural nature, so as to provide opportunities for school groups, students and amateurs to work together under the guidance of locally based professional performers and artists and invited guests, for the enjoyment of people of the area.
(extract from the Constitution, January 1991)
Another year has flashed by and I find it very hard to believe that I have been the Chair of Ramsey Arts Festival for 2 years already. It is a challenging and interesting role made easier by having such a great team on the Committee helping, advising and telling me what I need to do and, occasionally, what I shouldn't!
I feel that once again we put together an interesting and varied programme of events in 2017 with hopefully something to suit all tastes.
As has become traditional, the Festival opened on April 29th with our ever popular Quiz Night. This event has grown in popularity over recent years due largely to the excellent hosting by Bill and Elspeth and we can pretty much guarantee being able to fill the village hall with determined quizzers. A date for your diaries: next year's quiz has already been set for Saturday 17th March.
This was followed in May by the Opening Ceremony for the new glasshouse at the Ramsey Walled Garden. The glasshouse was opened by Bunny Guinness, a regular on BBC Radio 4's Question Time and superb musical accompaniment was provided by Rebecca Warner, the Cambridge Harpist who was sponsored by Ramsey Arts Festival.
In June we presented "Bring Back The Grand" with two films shown on state of the art equipment at Ramsey Library. In the afternoon, for children we had "The Emperor's New Groove" and in the evening for adults, "Hunt For The Wilderpeople". Many thanks go to Ann and Elspeth for their continued efforts to bring cinema showings to the good people of Ramsey.
In early July we were again happy to support and promote Peterborough Morris performances outside The Railway and The Jolly Sailor. If we can do our bit to ensure that English traditions such as Morris Dancing continue through the generations then we are all for it.
Late July saw our annual event presented in conjunction with Upwood Village Hall Performing Arts under the stewardship of Doug McLeod. This featured the truly brilliant FB Pocket Orchestra performing outdoors on a magical evening in the grounds of Carlton House, Upwood. The concert was a great success and we already have a date in 2018 for our next collaboration with Doug: on Friday 20th July, get ready for The Cosmic Sausages!
This was followed in September by our hugely successful "Bring Back The 60s" dance/concert at The Drill Hall featuring the amazing "Abbey Road 5" who had the throng up and dancing from 8pm through to 11:30pm. The event was made particularly special with a couple celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary with many of their friends and family present. People want more of this kind of event locally and in 2018 we will present two live music events at The Drill Hall.
We had a change of pace in October with the sublime Ely Cathedral Choristers who attracted a packed audience at Thomas a Becket church with their angelic voices. As a result of the success of this event we are proud to be able to present a cheque for £1000 to Richard Darmody and Janet Reed to go towards the Reordering Fund at the church.
We have one more event to come which is the Lamphouse Theatre production of Peter Pan at The Drill Hall on Friday 8th December. Tickets available here tonight!
I have a couple of people to thank. First of all, many, many thanks go to Jenny Stratton who has very recently retired from running School Plus in The Great Whyte. Jenny and her staff very kindly sell tickets for all of our events (as well as many others) providing a fantastic service for us. We would like Jenny to accept these flowers as a token of our thanks and appreciation for all she has done for Ramsey Arts Festival over recent years.
Secondly, I would like to thank Bill Thompson who has decided to step down from the committee after many years dedicated service. Bill will be a great loss to the committee but thankfully will be helping in the background at future events.
So, it remains only for me to thank the Arts Festival committee. Without their determination, time, effort, passion, commitment and dedication to the cause, nothing would happen. Many thanks to you all.”
Jon Novice, November 2017