Dorset classical music festival expected to attract 9,000 visitors

HEADLINE ACT: Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins

HEADLINE ACT: Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins

First published in Business News by

Classical diva Katherine Jenkins is expected to attract 9,000 visitors to Kimmeridge for Britain’s first classical music festival in August.

The Welsh mezzo-soprano will be followed by tenor Russell Watson during the three-day Daily Echo backed Serenata festival at The Smedmore Estate between Thursday, August 26 and Saturday, August 28.

“Hundreds” of jobs, including 80 stewards and butlers – who are being supplied by a Bournemouth company – have been created as a result, according to the organisers The Classical Festival Company in Iwerne Minster.

“There are opportunities for local traders,” said founder and managing director Lesley Malpas. “We don’t want to look outside the area.

“If you’re in Dorset and you have a trade and you are brilliant at it we want to hear about it.

“We’re working with Purbeck Ice Cream and we’re using Dorset oysters rather than getting them from London,” she said.

Mrs Malpas, who wants this festival to become an annual occasion, said it copies the format of pop festivals with added luxury, including gourmet dining and boutique camping with double beds. It also incorporates “a full children’s programme” with BBC CBeebies presenters and a babysitting service.

She says the aim has been to “make Serenata accessible to everyone” and to this end day tickets start from £55 on the Thursday rising to £65 on the Friday and Saturday.

“Those with an interest in music can get involved if they want to. There’s even a classical night club,” Mrs Malpas revealed, adding that there will be a spa and a hairdresser, too.

A talent competition has been arranged and there are 40 finalists. An instrumentalist and a vocalist will share a £10,000 prize, secure a recording contract and perform during the festival.

Mrs Malpas, whose company employs five staff, hopes the inaugural event will break even.

“We have investors who are not looking for a profit this year.”

She conceded “a profit would be nice”, adding that in future “we might export it to Australia and New Zealand”.

Dorset Opera and The Royal Academy of Music have formed strategic partnerships with Serenata while sponsors include Westover Land Rover and Sunseeker Charters in Poole.

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