Traders looking forward to Ludlow Festival, including return of event after 15-year absence

Traders and business owners are gearing up for a boost as final preparations are made for Ludlow Fringe Festival, which starts next month.

Ludlow Fringe director Anita Bigsby, and community and education co-ordinator Jess Laurie, at Ludlow Castle.
Ludlow Fringe director Anita Bigsby, and community and education co-ordinator Jess Laurie, at Ludlow Castle.

The three-week festival will be launched with the return of Ludlow Carnival, after a 15-year absence, on June 18, and a variety of comedy, theatre, music, poetry, art and other acts will perform at various locations throughout the town until July 10.

It is hoped to bring in thousands of visitors to the Shropshire town and give a welcome boost to the local economy.

Vicki Orttewell, one of the owners of Eclectica clothes shop in Mill Street, is also chair of Ludlow Chamber of Commerce.

She said: “Ludlow Fringe brings the town to life, there are a lot more young people in town, more vibrancy in the air and a really nice positive buzz.

“It is so nice to see events happening in the little pubs and courtyards too, it really is all over town, everywhere you turn.

“You see more faces and the streets are generally much busier, with a huge mix of interesting and creative people too, the festival really does encourage diversity and inclusivity.

“It is a definite bonus to business as we can normally count on having a good three weeks when the Fringe is on – Chamber members do not hesitate to support it in any way we can.”

This year a vine will be painted on windows of businesses across the town, to compliment their window displays and connect each one, and a new Friends of Ludlow Fringe Festival scheme has been launched where people put a sticker in their windows to show support.

Katy Chason, of The Hen and Chicken B&B in Old Street, said Fringe weeks have a huge positive effect for the town.

“We see more people around,” she said.

“It is brilliant, everyone gets involved, there is something for everyone and it is really exciting and you can’t miss it, people love it.

“It is a busy time of year, this keeps people coming back and gives them an extra reason to visit Ludlow, in hospitality, it is wonderful for repeat business.

“If guests are coming then I tell them they are lucky as it’s on and they book up to see acts, sometimes they extend their stay.”

Adam Tutt, owner of the Blue Boar in Mill Street and The Globe in Market Street, said: “It started quite small but has been going from strength to strength.

“It caters for people who live in Ludlow by bringing events, cultural diversity and new influences into the town but it also promotes the town on a large scale to outside areas and raises the awareness and status of Ludlow.

“It is mentally and economically stimulating, bringing a lot more business in.”

Sarah Tunnadine, Group Sales Manager of Crest Hotels which runs The Feathers in Bull Ring, said it was great for the town.

She said: “The Fringe festival is great for the cultural appeal of Ludlow and there is a great buzz around the town.

“It really raises the profile of Ludlow and so many local people get involved.

“We have only experienced one since the group took over The Feathers and it was a great time, we look forward to serving many visitors again this year.”

The festival, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, will see TV comic and impressionist Alistair McGowan perform, as well as Rob Newman, Ivo Graham, Daniel and Gabriella Martinez Flamenco, Old Time Sailors, Electric Swing Orchestra and the Kakatsiki African Drummers – and much more.

It will also feature poetry readings, a performance of Macbeth at Ludlow Castle, an exhibition by artist Frances Clarke, Bhangra Tots Family Dance, a comic art masterclass, puppet shows, magician The Great Baldini and Cabaret at the Brewery.

The full programme and tickets are available at www.ludlowfringe.co.uk.

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