Abbey and URC at the heart of festival

First published in Arts

WITH 30 different venues for the 100 plus events being held during the forthcoming Romsey Festival, organisers have been able to spread the festival across a large part of southern Test Valley, writes festival chairman, Dick Hewett.

Yet at the heart of the festivities will be Romsey Abbey with events on every day of the two-week celebration. The Abbey will be ably supported by the Abbey United Reformed Church with the next highest number of events. With the opening service at 6.30pm on Sunday, July 6 in the Abbey, and the closing service at 6.30pm on Sunday, July 20 in the Abbey URC, the two venues top and tail the festival.

The Abbey will once again host a display by the Romsey Quilters throughout the festival. Alongside that, every day at 3pm there will be a 45-minute talk under the banner Insights Into The Abbey, with a different guide and topic each day exploring all aspects of the history of the church and its artefacts.

Music will be a major feature in the Abbey’s contribution, with either a lunchtime recital or evening concert on most days. The opening concert of the Festival is the Romsey Choral Society, a favourite with festival audiences, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle” on July 5 .

Another highlight will be the School Choirs concert on July 11, featuring local school choirs raising money for Jane Scarth House.

Meanwhile in the Abbey URC there will be an opportunity for prayer and reflection entitled The Art of Prayer each weekday from 9.30am. Art will be a prominent feature of the URC’s festival contribution with an exhibition of local artists, David Thelwell’s paintings and drawings in the church, from July 17-20. Meanwhile, in the URC church hall, Romsey Art Group will be mounting an exhibition of the paintings of local artists with practical demonstrations, too.

Music will also feature in the schedule in the URC, with lunchtime and evening concerts and recitals, including the regular appearance by the Romsey Singers on July 8. The full programme of events is available on the festival website,, and at the Romsey Tourist Information Centre.

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