On Estival and why it’s the best of all the festivals

Tuesday 7th June, 2011


I’m writing this on a break between playing in one concert (Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings) and stewarding another (Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante). Later, I’ll go for a drink in the bar in the seminar room across the foyer, before attending tonight’s Big Band concert as a regular punter. And the next three days won’t be much different!


This is the wonder that is Estival 2011, Manchester University Music Society’s 33rd annual festival of music and art. The theme is the music of Russia, the highlight being Thursday night’s performance of Shostakovich’s heart-stopping 5th Symphony.


Pop along if you’re in Manchester – there are concerts at 1.10, 5 and 7.30 every day up to and including Thursday, but the music and general merriment basically goes on all day! Somehow, this festival manages to be educational without being dull; to be classical without being exclusive; and to have a ‘festival atmosphere’ without being a rowdy, drunken, muddy mess. Take that, Glasto.




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