Buxton set to become one of UK’s great centres of culture

Buxton International Festival’s army of volunteer supporters is helping to turn the town into one of Britain’s great cultural centres, its Chairman Felicity Goodey said this week.

Thanking volunteers and members of the Festival Friends group for the total of 963 hours of work they put into this year’s 120 events featuring opera, music and books, she said: “It couldn’t exist without you. This is a unique asset which gives us the confidence to keep pushing forward.”

The Festival attracts international opera stars, global names in music and the country’s leading opinion formers to appear during its two-week run, and this year it is likely to have exceeded the £3 million which experts believe it puts into the local economy annually.

“I hope we can start to expand the Festival’s footprint across the year,” said Felicity. “It would be great for Buxton and certainly great for the Opera House.

“Buxton has the opportunity to become recognised as one of the great cultural centres of the country. We have the most wonderful set of historic buildings set in this glorious environment.”

The decision to re-brand itself as international had been proved correct, with the Festival now accredited by the Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe organisation.

“Eleven major international arts organisations brought groups to the Festival,” said Felicity, with so many German, Italian, French, Swiss and Japanese visitors that some had to book into Manchester hotels.

And 2017 had seen the London critics’ glowing praise mirrored by rave reviews in the New York Times.

“Everybody working together can turn this Festival into something which is the driving force for the cultural regeneration of Buxton. If ever that is realised, it will be down to you,” she told the volunteers at a thank-you celebration in the town.