Every year during the second and third weeks of September, St.Ives becomes a somewhat different place. With the children back at school it’s time for the musicians, performers, artists and poets to take over. Over 200 events take place at various venues, the Festival brings a buzz and an ever so slightly New Orleans vibe to this little seaside town.
Started in 1977 by a group of passionate locals in the kitchen of a house in Teetotal Street - and featuring a very young Nigel Kennedy, the Festival remains true to its roots. Still run by a committee of volunteers, helped by the local council and the people of St.Ives it has now grown to attract to its stages this year, the likes of Fairport Convention and Rick Wakeman. The main music events centre around the Guildhall and the Western Hotel, yet it is not all about the music. Galleries put on open days and workshops, there are lectures, talks, walks and readings in every available location. The benches are filled with guitar players and beaches are often scene to impromptu performances by poets and story tellers.
I would recommend buying a few tickets in advance, as the headline acts always sell out. But - as at all good festivals - the spontaneous events are usually the ones that are talked about the most. So pick up a guide, wander about, drop in to any of the locations advertised and see what you can find. The cafés, bars, restaurants and pubs will all be open, often staging mini events of their own, so soak up the music and relax and be entertained.
Annie’s by the Sea, St.Ives, sleeps 5
The Coast House, St. Ives, sleeps 7
The Coast House Cottage, St.Ives, sleeps 5
Sea View Studio, St.Ives, sleeps 2
Cherry Tree Cabin, St.Ives, sleeps 2
Thyme Cottage, St.Ives, sleeps 2