New on Festival Bytes: Extraordinary Presteigne

12 September 2013

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts (21-27 August) to contemporary classical music in Britain. Yet on the face of it this would seem a strange statement. Presteigne is a tiny town straddling the Wales-England border 250km from London and about 110km north of Cardiff. The church is the largest venue and can squeeze in 300 people if you are lucky. There is no great store of resident musicians, though there is a strong local contingent of writers and visual artists who contribute events and exhibitions to the festival’s margins. Audiences average about 200 but since this represents about 85% capacity – the concerts spread from the church in Presteigne to others (smaller) in the surrounding villages – the funders and sponsors are very happy to leave things as they are. In all these respects the Presteigne Festival is little different from hundreds of others that pass unnoticed in provincial towns every year. Read the full blog by Simon Mundy on Festival Bytes.