Hagley Music Festival 2019 -report

Hagley Music Festival 2019

The tenth biennial Hagley Music Festival took place between Friday 10th May and Sunday 19th May 2019, with ten events at six venues being spread over the ten days. As with previous festivals, there was a wide variety of musical styles, from a jazz romp by Bev Pegg and his band, to a performance of all six of JS Bach’s Brandenburg concertos. There was a celebrity recital by Craig Ogden, an internationally renowned master of the classical guitar, in the music room at Hagley Hall. The popular tribute group Abba’s Angels returned to set its audience jiving in the Community Hall                                   

Some of the variety of musicians who took part in the Festival in 2019  ltor, Bev Pegg, Craig Ogden, 3 tuba players from King Edward's college

Involvement of the local community is one of the main aims of the festival, and this year as usual audiences were predominantly local people. Encouraging a love of music among young people is another key aim, and some of the most engaging music came about that way. There were fun songs performed with verve by pupils from Hagley Primary School (under the tutelage of members of Birmingham’s own wonderful Ex Cathedra).  Accomplished young musicians from Hagley’s two High Schools and King Edward’s Sixth Form College in Stourbridge, contributed their talents as players and singers at concerts that delighted their audiences. 


Also very popular was a “Come and Sing” performance of the Fauré Requiem, part of a lovely concert that included other charming pieces by Fauré and featured local composer Andrew Downes’ “Celtic Rhapsody”.

The “Brandenburgs”, performed by the Orchestra of St John, Bromsgrove under the direction of Richard Jenkinson, were a tour de force of early 18th Century music and deserved the loud applause given by the audience. The concert was dedicated to David Wadhams, a recently deceased member of the organising committee whose suggestion it was. Another cruel loss, while the festival was in progress, was that of Graham Quinlivan, a particularly knowledgeable and effective committee member.

The acoustic of St John’s Church was used to particularly good effect by The Choir of Worcester Cathedral, whose singing of Choral Evensong, together with the address given The Ven. Robert Jones, Archdeacon of Worcester, and led by The Rector of Hagley The Rev. Richard Newton, brought the festival to a fitting close.

An innovation in the background to the 2019 festival was the introduction of online ticketing (supported by conventional ticket sales through Tony Battersby at the Parish Office). Attendance at some regular events was down on the previous festival, but the Craig Ogden recital was a sell-out and several other events had audiences close to capacity. The festival was publicised in various ways - there were roadside banners and posters in Hagley village, for instance, and thousands of flyers were distributed - but the best advertising was by word of mouth. 

Local businesses, organisations and grant-making trusts were, once again, very generous in their support, without which the festival would not have been viable. A full list can be found on the festival website.