Kenilworth Festival makes comeback

A popular Kenilworth event which fell by the wayside after the first year due to lack of interest is to be resurrected.

The Kenilworth Festival will be held on July 18, 19 and 20 with the Rotary Club taking on the commitment to organise and develop it.

The club members plan to develop and promote the festival to all parts of the community and turn it into an annual event for the town.

They also hope to assist the development of Kenilworth as a centre for culture and the arts whilst maximising the potential for increasing visitor numbers to the town of Kenilworth and its different venues.

Bob Kelly of the Rotary Club said: "Kenilworth Castle, English Heritage, and the local councils have been very supportive."

The Kenilworth Festival was first staged in 2005 and at the time it was the first festival to be held in the town for 70 years.

Residents and visitors flocked to attend events staged at venues across the town as part of the three day festival.

The most popular proved to be talks and story-telling by screenwriter and Kenilworth resident Andrew Davies, which was sold out with 500 people attending.

The first festival was a big success, but just one year later in 2006 it was a different story and questions were raised over the future of the event following a disappointing turnout.

Despite the crowds, organisers admitted that the turnout was a lot lower than expected. The Andrew Davies talk was a sell-out and the festival in the fields was a huge success with hundreds of families attending.

But the other ticketed events did not sell well. In fact, less than half the expected numbers turned out to the barn dance, tea dance, musical evening and Dave Willetts concert.

Festival committee member at the time Anita Dalton said: "The events were fabulous and the kids' things worked very well.

"The only place it fell down was supporters and volunteers. Where were the people of Kenilworth?"

Pricing of events and the bad weather were thought to be the reasons for the poor turnout.

It was expected that 700 tickets would be sold for the Dave Willetts musical evening in Abbey Fields but just 282 people paid with a further 100 people sat watching it for free on the hill.

As a result no event was held in 2007, but the Rotary Club hope that 2008 will be very different.

They hope to breathe new life into the event and will be urging the town to get on board and support it. The plans will be officially revealed at the end of the month.