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King's Lynn Festival's 60th anniversary
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain are returning to the festival

The King's Lynn Festival is set to mark its 60th anniversary with a wide-ranging programme that has attracted interest from all over Britain.

The line-up includes the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

In its history the festival has played host to big names including Benjamin Britten, Aled Jones, John Betjeman, Jools Holland and Peter Ustinov.

The 2010 festival runs from Sunday, 18 July to Saturday, 31 July.

"The whole festival is a celebration of us turning 60," said festival administrator Joanne Mawson.

"Already three events are sell-outs and we expect a waiting list for tickets for many others," she added.

The diamond jubilee programme features orchestras, world-famous musicians and favourites from the world of comedy, folk and literature.

"There is an exciting mix of favourite names from the past and rising stars of the future," said artistic director Ambrose Miller.

The King's Lynn Festival began in 1951 when Ruth Lady Fermoy organised a celebration to mark the restoration of the Guildhall of St George.

The week-long programme of music and art has since become a permanent fixture.

Corn Exchange

The BBC Concert Orchestra
The BBC Concert Orchestra will be recording Friday Night is Music Night

The festival will be opened at the Corn Exchange on Sunday, 18 July, with a fanfare from the Black Dyke Band before the King's Lynn Festival Chorus, along with the English Chamber Orchestra, take to the stage on Monday, 19 July.

As well as music there will also be literary events, with a dinner in the town hall featuring guest speakers Prue Leith and William Shawcross.

Leith has recently been seen as a judge on the BBC's Great British Menu and has turned her hand to fiction with the publication of her fifth novel, A Serving of Scandal.

Shawcross is perhaps best known for his works on the Royal Family including his recent biography of the Queen Mother.


A highlight of the festival is a performance by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with the Welsh National Opera at the Corn Exchange on Sunday, 25 July.

The Diamond Jubilee Opera Gala will celebrate 60 years of the festival with overtures from well-known operas including The Marriage of Figaro, La Traviata and Carmen.

For those who prefer their music a bit more laid back, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will perform on Wednesday, 28 July.

Their quirky takes on popular songs proved a highlight of last year's festival.

BBC Radio 2

The festival organisers have also managed to secure the services of a BBC Radio 2 stalwart.

Friday Night is Music Night is being recorded on Tuesday, July 27 when Ken Bruce will introduce the BBC Concert Orchestra and soloists Jodie Prenger and Graham Bickley in a programme focussing on "the magic of the movies".

The show is set for broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Friday, 10 September.

Other acts appearing at the King's Lynn Festival include Barry Cryer and Crispian Steele-Perkins, as well as an exhibition looking at the festival's history.

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