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May is the time for this very special yearly festival with international artists, concerts, performances and exhibitions.

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(Source: BBC) The Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2009 is set to put the county on the map as a home to one of the great celebrations of music, arts and culture.

The prestigious annual event is one of the oldest city festivals the UK.

“In scale and ambition, this ancient festival is now one of the top five in the UK,” said festival director Jonathan Holloway.

The festival, featuring an international line-up, takes place from Friday, 1 to Saturday, 16 May, 2009.

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“Festivals have never been as popular as they are today,” said Jonathan.

“I may not know the value of my house in these times of turmoil in 2009, but I will always remember the first time I was moved to tears by great music or my first ‘gasp’ at a piece of theatrical magic.”

“Extraordinary experiences of art and creativity are priceless and last a lifetime,” he added.

Free events

Opening the festival this year will be two free musical-comedic performances by French-duo Ulik and Le SNOB outside The Forum, Norwich, on Friday, 1 May, 2009.

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Dressed in cone-shaped gowns and hats spouting flames, the pair will showcase a contemporary art fiesta with music, humour and the promise of bizarre irregularities!

Les Commandos Percu will provide a loud and spectacular show on Saturday, 2 May, 2009, at Earlham Park encompassing pyrotechnics and fireworks along to the beat of their highly percussive performance.

World-wide reputation

The annual festival of the arts has a reputation for drawing upon an artists’ roster from around the world.

Philip Glass

This year’s line-up includes contemporary composer Philip Glass, jazz pioneer Courtney Pine and soul sensation Mica Paris.

Philip Glass will be performing his first UK solo show since 2007. He has composed a number of operas, symphonies and has collaborated with artists Twyla Tharp, Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen and David Bowie.

His solo performance at the Norwich Theatre Royal on Friday, 15 May, 2009, is a festival exclusive.

Courtney Pine and his Jazz Warriors will perform with their funk and reggae-influenced Afro-Caribbean jazz music and Mica Paris has been performing for more than two decades as a singer, working with artists such as Prince, but she also shot to fame in her own right as an actress and a TV and radio presenter.

Voices raised in song

Festival regulars The Voice Project Choir, based in Norfolk, makes a welcome return to this year’s festival, showcasing Norfolk voices in song with a concert at Norwich Cathedral.

The Voice Project Choir performing in Norwich (Photo: Alexandra Bone)

“The cathedral is beautiful and I think the moment the choir arrive in it, the whole gear changes and the performers love the space,” said Sian Croose, conductor of the choir.

“To actually stand at the altar end and sing down the nave is quite an extraordinary experience,” she added.

The community choir will be singing I Prefer The Gorgeous Freedom, a major new work for choir and jazz quartet, written and performed by BBC award-winning jazz composer Gwilym Simcock.

The festival’s classical programme also includes performances by the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Academy Of Music, the Tallis Scholars and Nicola Benedetti, part of the Benedetti Trio, who made a name for herself as the 2004 BBC Young Musician Of The Year.

Family fun

The N&N Festival is keen to offer something for all the family. In 2009 the festival presents it’s most extensive children’s programme to date.

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The Norwich Puppet Theatre invites you to relive the drama of 18th Century murder courtesy of Sweeney Todd.

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It takes place each year at the last weekend in July. This time it’s lovely and hot outside, so the crowds are floating in, dragging along kids, mutts, grannies, and rolling back loaded with shopping bags, plants, strange objects they’ve won in a raffle. It’s a great opportunity to relax and to watch, to enjoy an icecream or a cold drink in shady tents. Lots of entertainment for the kids, for dog-lovers, wildlife aficionados, tractor fans.

He seemed to have taken his pet for a walk, but later on…

…these ladies had taken over, merciless upside down!

Many enjoyed their peaceful rest on the shady churchyard,

and one could catch some special views here and there.

A young bride was desperately looking for a groom.

In the church, an imposing ladder seems to lead directly into the sky.

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