Festival crowds expected to swell as 17 extra acts added
IT HAS become one of Kent's biggest events – and the Local and Live Tunbridge Wells Music Festival returns to the town this year, with a crowd of 20,000 expected to attend.
There will be 100 acts performing on two stages across four days during the free event on August Bank Holiday weekend.
There will be 17 more acts than last year and 2,000 more people are expected this year.
The festival, created and run by resident and musician and local music promoter Paul Dunton, is now in its seventh year.
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The 34-year-old, from Rusthall, told the Courier this week: "In its first year we just had about 500 people, back in 2006. It has now become one of the biggest events in Kent and it draws people from all over the South East. That is what is so encouraging: it brings people from all over who come to Tunbridge Wells for the original music.
"We now have state-of-the-art music equipment and the acoustics and aesthetics, the way we set up the stages, it's a professional music festival.
"It runs on time, it's a slick operation."
The festival will cost between £30,000 to £35,000 to put on and it receives no funding from public sources. It is reliant on Local and Live fundraising sessions held throughout the year and sponsorship, having previously attracted support from Fender and Sennheiser Microphones.
Mr Dunton said Sennheiser would again support it and revealed he had "just" secured a headline sponsor.
He was not too concerned about the unpredictable weather.
"Unless it's absolutely horrendous, I don't think it would affect it too much. The event has such a fan base and following and I think we would be very unlucky to have rain for four days. People can hide under the overhangs and we have amazing Local and Live rain ponchos."
This year the festival will stage a taster event in the "glorious setting" of Dunorlan Park as part of the one-off Tunbridge Wells Celebrates event. It will be between 12pm and 4.30pm on Saturday, July 28, and features three out of the four headline acts.
Talking of Local and Live Tunbridge Wells Music Festival, Mr Dunton said: "It's been a busy year but I think it will be better than ever. It's the strongest artistic line-up we have ever had.
"It has become the town's only music festival. I would like to keep it on the Pantiles for as long as possible with the option of taster events in Dunorlan Park. There is something magical about the atmosphere created by Local and Live on the Pantiles."
He said the collective sponsorship of The Brew House, So Tunbridge Wells, Wessex Jewellers and NDGA had given Local and Live a "financial backbone".
The full line up of the 100 acts should be on the website by today. Visit www.localandlive.org