The plans are laid, the costumes are made, the musicians are ready, excitement is growing.
The 15th Uckfield Festival gets underway at lunchtime today with a concert at Holy Cross Church, heralding a week of cultural, artistic, musical and sporting activities for adults and children.
New this year, a 20-piece big band jazz group has flown into Gatwick from Germany.
The Greenhorns are from Quickborn, which has been twinned with Uckfield since 1990, and will be accompanied by the Mayor and members of the Town Council as part of an official visit. The band comprises students and teachers from the town’s music academy, the Musikschule der Stadt Quickborn. Their wide ranging repertoire ranges from swing through Latin to jazz-rock as well as standard evergreens from the 40s and 50s.
They first came to Uckfield’s attention when they played at a reception to welcome members of Uckfield Twinning Association who were visiting Quickborn in May 2013.
David Sudbery, group leader, said: “We were incredibly impressed with the big sound they made and thought what a great idea it would be if they could play in the Uckfield Festival. When we mentioned this the band eagerly took up the idea. Since then band leaders and the Uckfield Twinning Association have worked hard to make the visit a reality.”
The group will stay with Uckfield families and will be welcomed by the Mayor of Uckfield, Cllr Ian Smith at a reception in the Civic Centre today.
Their first concert is tonight at Framfield Church at 7pm with tickets costing £6. The band also plays at tomorrow’s Big Day in the High Street and at Luxford Field where the high point is a Grand Parade featuring costumed students from UCTC and primary schools, Spiritus and the Batacuda Band.
There are free music concerts each weekday evening at the Civic Centre’s Festival Club. A densely packed programme goes on with fun run, electric car Grand Prix and ukulele workshop (Sunday), children’s stories and Americana Night (Tuesday), drama workshop (Wednesday), walk through an ironworks landscape, drumming workshop and Le Roc free beginners lesson (Thursday). Also on Thursday, the dazzling baroque quartet Red Priest performs a 70th anniversary concert for the Uckfield Music Club at St Margaret’s Church, Buxted. The Uckfield Art Trail features the work of 40-plus creatives at the Civic Centre. Programme: www.uckfieldfestival.co.uk