Rye Arts Festival 2006

There are few superlatives that would describe the 2006 Rye Festival.  The whole enterprise was an outstanding success. It has brightened Rye business and given the public at large a real late summer treat.


Star of the Festival for me was Traditional Jazz veteran, Humphrey Littleton. I saw him 50 years ago at the Hastings Jazz Festival. I liked him then and the magic is still there. At 85 (“I only feel 25 when I am performing on stage”) Humph is remarkable. His music is still sweet and his banter and jokes are better than ever.

There were many other highlights throughout the Festival, which has been listed in the Top Ten of its kind in Britain. The classical cabaret ‘Talking Dirty’ with Natalie Wheen and Roger Vignoles, also at the Thomas Peacocke, was another evening to remember.

The BBC Singers, a 24 voice ensemble, gave a polished performance at St. Mary’s and at the Methodist a combination of words and music from author Conrad Williams and Scottish Pianist Christina Lawrie was very well received.

At All Saints, Iden, the Montparnasse Piano Trio performed pieces from Haydn, Schumann and Dvorak and captivated the audience.

The were big name stars including, Susannah York, who performed “The Ages of Women” at St. Mary’s and Nicholas Parsons “How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear”.

The final evening was rounded off by The Players Theatre ‘Old Time Music Hall’ at the Community Centre which provided a fantastic trip down memory lane.

What a superb Rye Festival? Far too many events to be described here. It was certainly the best ever for variety and content.

Are there any faults? The only problem I had was choosing which feast to go to each day.

Marks out of 100 for 2006? No less than 110! I personally, am looking forward to next years Rye Arts Festival already.

By Jim Hollands.