A NEW festival promoting music and food in and around Bradford on Avon was officially launched last week.

The launch took place at Wiltshire Council’s Market Towns Forum at St Margaret’s Hall on Thursday (October 4).

The ten-day Food of Love Festival will run from March 7-17 next year. It will feature a programme of music combined with food at venues in and around the historic market town.

Local councillor Jim Lynch, who is co-ordinating the festival, said: “We have a wonderful music scene and the range of food outlets is growing in strength and diversity.

“It makes sense to combine and celebrate them both and we’ve had hugely encouraging support so far.

“Wiltshire Music Centre is hosting two great events; one featuring Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert, the other with powerful Japanese drumming. Both will come with food attached.

“There are three great evenings in St Margaret’s Hall, with music and fun for all ages. Add in at least ten of our local restaurants, across the town and villages, and all the ingredients are there for a festive banquet.

“Right now we are working all out to attract event sponsors. If you’re a local business seeking quality promotion with excellent customer reach, please get in touch.”

Cllr Lynch, a Wiltshire Council unitary ward member and a town councillor for Bradford on Avon, is promoting the festival through the Bradford on Avon Community Area Network (BoACAN).

He believes there is a need for new events in the annual calendar to develop “the offer” of the area to appeal to residents and visitors alike.

St Margaret’s Hall will host the opening concert on March 7 featuring the Will Blake Quartet, and a Celtic Finale on March 17 featuring Spill The Whiskey, a Ceilidh dance band, and other attractions to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Further events could take place in the United Reformed Hall and Church, subject to agreed bookings.

They will include The Schtumm Project, run by professional musicians, which enables people of all ages to compose their own songs throughout the day and perform them the same evening.

Cllr Lynch said: “These events will be combined with an area-wide programme of restaurant specials combining one-off food and music evenings and lunchtimes across both town and villages.”

Cllr Lynch has already gained £2,000 in funding from Bradford on Avon Town Council and £2,000 in match funding from Wiltshire Council’s Bradford on Avon Area Board.

He is now appealing to the local business community to offer a similar level of support in order to ensure the festival is a success.

Anyone interested in organising or supporting individual events should contact Cllr Lynch at cllr.lynch@bradfordonavontowncouncil.gov.uk or at jim.lynch@wiltshire.gov.uk

For full details on the festival, go to www.foodofloveboa.com