The Bayreuth Orchestra used to play in Tunbridge Wells, the most notable mention I have about them is from “The year we became Royal” (1909) when they were booked to play during cricket week. Cricket Week also contained entertainments such as “Illuminated Promenade Concerts on the Pantiles 7:30 – 10:00” , “Vaudeville Entertainments in Mount Sion Grove” and “Amateur Theatricals at the Opera House 8:30”, so quite a variety of entertainment to choose from.
I also had a google-look at Bayreuth, a town in northern Bavaria, Germany, which holds an annual festival, featuring performances of opera by composer Wagner. The festival attracts thousands of visitors to the town.
So, what will Fusion 2013 offer Tunbridge Wells?
Last year, Fusion was a part of the Tunbridge Wells Festival, and hosted a performing arts competition, organised by Stars Foundation for Cerebral Palsy. This year, Fusion 2013 has five different categories, with three charities and four businesses working together. Each sponsor has put up an award of £1,000 and the whole event will raise funds for charities as well as entertain and showcase talent. Full details are on the Fusion website, and entries are requested to performing arts, short films, photography, art and song writing strands. Five local venues are involved in displaying and hosting events, with a grand final in the Assembly Hall on Saturday 26th October.
On Saturday 27th July, from 10am – 5pm, Fusion will host a one-day street festival in the centre of Tunbridge Wells. A stage will be set up by the entrance to Monson Road, with the road closed from Mount Pleasant/Crescent Road/Church Road traffic lights, up to Five Ways. As well as being a chance to see some of the Fusion finalists, further bands are booked to entertain, including Virgin Soldiers and the Snowdon Colliery Band (hence the Bayreuth Orchestra photo).
Other events arranged include a selection of bands playing an all-dayer at The Forum on Saturday 13th July, and a short film festival, as part of ELF, on Saturday 7th September. There is also the chance to win a new Fiat 500, put forward by sponsors Thames Motor Group, in a raffle that will carry on during the whole season of events.
Everyone at the launch was very enthusiastic about the plans, and how it has brought different groups from Tunbridge Wells together. There are already plans being made for Fusion 2014. Given Tunbridge Wells’ past as a tourist town bursting with events, it looks like we are in for an exciting “summer season” this year, and hopefully next.