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29 October 2014

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church organ at Edington priory
Edington Priory Church organ

Edington heads for the limelight

Edington Priory Church and its world famous music festival are to be the stars of a new BBC TV series.

The Beatles Sergeant Pepper's song started; "It was 20 years ago today," but perhaps it should be rewritten as; "It was 50 years ago," and dedicate it to one of the world's most famous music festivals based in Wiltshire.

Vicar of Edington standing in front of church
Rev Graham Southgate at Edington Church

The Edington Music Festival, held at Edington Priory Church, near Westbury, and which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, is to become even more well publicised - it's to be featured in a national BBC TV programme. 

The cameras, lights, miles of cables and crew descended on the 14th century priory church in August last year, during the popular festival.  They filmed a few weeks before, as the organisers prepared for the week long event, and then during the 7 days between 21st-28th August. 

audio Listen: Edington Vicar Part One >
audio Listen: Edington Vicar Part Two >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer

Hundreds of music lovers attend the festival each year, which is held in the architecturally striking priory church.  Choirs from cathedrals and colleges across the British Isles, including Salisbury, go to sing at a number of individual services throughout the week.  A total of 25 services take place during the festival. 

The Reverend Graham Southgate, Vicar of Bratton, Edington and Imber, Coultson and Earlstoke said; "I think more people could be attracted to the festival after the TV show goes out.  It will now be brought to people who don't even know where Edington is.  This is very special, we have music festivals in our cathedrals but this is just a parish church, and for one week in every year it becomes the site of a great festival of 70 voices from all over the country and the world.  People who've come simply to sing in our services."

Edington churchwarden standing next to side door
Churchwarden Joanna Robertson

Churchwarden Joanna Robertson said; " The church comes alive during the week, it's a wonderful feeling of people coming together from all over the world, not just from Wiltshire.  They come from as far as America and New Zealand for the whole week and for every service."

To find out more about the Edington Music Festival listen to Mark Jones' Sunday Breakfast Show between 8 and 9 am or click on the audio links to listen to the interviews in full.

The BBC 2 TV programme; A Passion for Churches,  will be broadcast at 7.30pm on Wednesday 29th March.

last updated: 27/01/06
Have Your Say
Have you been to the Edington Music Festival, what did you think?
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Sonia Baynton
We went this week - Wednesday/Thursday - and thought it was wonderful, we shall definitely go again.

David Quinn
I headed down from Durham Cathedral to sing in the 2003 festival. It was a brilliant experience. I met choristers from other Cathedrals that I am still in touch with today. Durham is quite a way away from Edington and my friend and I where made very welcome. In my time their, I sang in the nave choir, I read a reading and did a solo in the last service. It was a great start to my head chorister year and an experience I will never forget. The village will always be in my mind at that time of year.

Neil Dowdney
A beautiful setting in which to enjoy the music and to linger for the final candlelit compline service in the evening rounds off the experience

I was a close friend of the late Canon Ralph Dudley who established the festival. It remains a spiritual and musical oasis.

Lawrence Will
I first went to the festival in 1986 and 1987. I belong to Friends of Cathedral Music and that's how I discovered the venue. Great to have music and liturgy put together without it being a concert. I might visit again this year.

Julia Taylor
The Festival has become the high spot of my summer. I thoroughly endorse all Joanna and Graham said about the beauty of the music and of the church, the spiritual content of the week and the consciousness of sharing the delight with a packed churchful of people (over 300 on occasion). As an assistant at the church,I am thrilled to have a small part in this lovely event.

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