State of play in the Festival’s run-up

67 days to go until UK classical music festival The Two Moors Festival begins…

When I think of how much there is to do in only 67 days, it is positively daunting. It’s better not to dwell and just get on with it.

Business is brisk in the Box Office – a relief as it would be seriously worrying were it not so. Friends’ bookings are healthy and the number of new Friends is up on last year. This is positive in itself and a good boost to morale. It also gives our wonderful person running the Office plenty to do. We are so lucky this year in having Oxford music undergraduate, Rebecca McNaught to help. Not only is she a super person, but is brilliant at the job and great on the phone giving would-be ticket purchasers all the information they need before they make up their minds to buy tickets.

Talking of the Box Office, we must be one of the few festivals to have a real person at the end of the phone. We guarantee that whoever speaks has specialist knowledge and who knows how to pronounce indecipherable names such as Ibragimova and Shostakovich. It is amazing how much difference this makes to ticket sales!

Tackling PR is vital at this time of year. The trouble is where to start as there are so many avenues of possibility. The other problem is how to cover 1,200 square miles of festival patch. We are fortunate in that the local press and regional magazines such as Devon Life are keen to include features. Local radio also sparks as does BBC TV’s ‘Spotlight’ providing there is something to film – concerts by and large do not make good television! The national media is becoming more supportive than ever and as I type, there has been a splendid article in Classical Music Magazine as well as promises from the press and various Listings.

Classic FM has done us proud over the years and we’re crossing fingers that they might be able to give us air-time as they have in previous years. There is also BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ which we try to interest – successfully a number of times.

There is the series of run-up concerts in the Ticket Office at Tiverton Parkway’s Ticket Office. These may sound totally off the wall. Well, they are! The concerts do not disrupt the everyday working of the station; people come and go and it’s quite often that someone might be asking whether they might need to change at Birmingham New Street while Bach is providing the background music. We never stop the ongoing business of raising funds to cover costs. How tedious this is for my husband, John. We wouldn’t survive without his Trojan efforts.

One of the main jobs to do in August is assembling the programme. It’s true to say that this is a nightmare. Inserting notes and biographies are the easy bits. The hardest part lies in achieving consistency in the way a work is written. Does one write Sonata in E major Op. 14 No.1 or Sonata Op. 14 No.1 in E – the options are endless!

On which note, I will end and give readers the next instalment in a few days’ time.

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