A HUGE celebration of music, dance and street entertainment is set to take place in Romsey this weekend.

Beggars Fair is back on Saturday July 9 for a day of free family fun.

Local musicians will be taking over the streets and venues of Romsey from 10.30am until 10pm.

The volunteer-led festival will host a wide range of entertainment, from big bands on the Cornmarket main stage and Abbey Stage to intimate acoustic music in the gardens, colourful dance displays, a family festival in the Memorial Park and storytelling sessions in the library.

After being involved with Beggars Fair for the past few years, Romsey resident David Vane has taken over as chair this year.

He said: “We’re a market town so it’s always traditionally been a place where people congregate. And I think that’s the great thing that people come along to join in the fun and listen to some good music.

"There’s everything from jazz to folk to classical. We’ve got four choirs this year. So, it’s just a great place to come and spend the day.

“But it has been hectic as I’m surprised how many acts still aren’t working after Covid. So, it’s been quite difficult getting the acts organised and putting them in the right place and some have dropped out and then new venues turn up.”

This year, there are several new venues, including the plaza which will be home to a number of entertainment acts.

David added: “There’s such a mix of music, it’s a family day out. There’s about 15 venues, including pubs and churches and memorial park has a youth stage for young people. It’s all round a good musical day.

“The day has a great atmosphere that keeps bringing people, and performers, back year after year and following the pandemic we are looking forward to a vibrant event after three years.”

Headliners The Soul Catchers and The Tubalibres are returning favourites to the musical event.

When the fair started in 1993, only a handful of musicians performed, entertaining the local crowd from the back of the lorry in the Cornmarket.

READ MORE: Disabled man attends first festival with help from carers

Thanks to the support of the local people, it has grown to be Romsey’s largest event.

Currently, the festival has about 12 volunteers who help to make the day run smoothly but Beggars Fair are always looking for help to organise the Romsey favourite.

The Beggars Fair programme is available for purchase from the Romsey visitor centre and other local businesses.

For more on the festivities go to beggarsfair.org.uk/.

The town centre will be closed to through traffic to help keep visitors safe but all main off-street car parks will be accessible.

For details on road closures visit beggarsfair.org.uk/maps.

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