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News on the Future of Petersham Festival - 28 July 2010

Dear Festival Supporter,

Firstly, on behalf of the Trustees I would like to thank you all for your support of the festival this year, whether as a helper, performer, ticket-holder, Friend or other sponsor. Our thanks also to St. Peter's Church and the many members of the local community who have co-operated with us.

Petersham Festival has now been running for four years, and over that time we have attracted top musicians such as Angela Hewitt, John Williams, Emma Kirkby, Michala Petri, Robin Blaze, Crispian Steele-Perkins, The Cardinall's Musick, Guo Yue, Sally Bruce-Payne, Mahan Esfahani and Simon Preston - to name but a few. This has resulted in the festival achieving a high profile, with significant exposure on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and Gramophone Magazine, as well as local magazines and papers. We have also been able to support many up-and-coming musicians (we were particularly pleased to help found the Guildhall Graduate Baroque Orchestra, who are now well established and receiving critical acclaim), and we have worked with local schools to help them with their music.

In addition to our own charitable activities, we have also helped to raise many thousands of pounds for other charities over the four years, including Coram, hft (Home Farm Trust), The Royal Ballet School, Arcadia, Ham & Petersham Association, Holly Lodge Centre, Petersham Trust, The River Thames Boat Project, Petersham & Ham Sea Scouts, Shooting Star Children's Hospice, Friends of Turner House, Friends of Richmond Park and Chiswick House Kitchen Garden.

In accordance with our charitable aims we have aimed to produce a wide variety of music and other cultural events. Over the last four years, the Petersham Festivals have proved well worthwhile and have given great pleasure to the many people who came. Congratulations and many thanks to all concerned.

Running such a festival requires a very significant input of resources, both financial and in unpaid time and skills. We are delighted that, through ticket sales, sponsorship and the the Friends' scheme, we have managed to cover the costs over the four years, and we are enormously grateful for all the voluntary effort that has gone in to making it all possible. However, we have become very aware that audiences for our events have declined significantly over the past two years - and having considered this carefully we believe that this trend will continue in the foreseeable future. The effect of this will be that the Festival will no longer be financially viable. For this reason, we have decided that Petersham Festival will not continue beyond 2010. We hope that you will understand the situation, and also share our pride in what has been achieved.

We have been particularly grateful to all who have contributed to our Friends' scheme - this has been a vital input to our funding. We would ask those of you who have set up standing orders for future years to cancel them as soon as possible.

Finally, we would also like to draw your attention to our two remaining events in 2010:

  • 6pm Saturday 25 September in St Peter's Church: acclaimed international organist Christopher Herrick will perform an attractive and varied programme - tickets are £10 and available through our box office or on line.
  • To Be Confirmed: 7.30pm Saturday 13 November (venue TBA): Roger McGough (presenter of Radio 4's "Poetry Please" and writer of popular lyrics) will be joined by Jerry Hall in reading poetry. Tickets will be available soon; we are pleased that Jerry Hall has asked for her fee to be donated to SPEAR - a Richmond based charity for the homeless.

So we look forward to seeing you later in the year. Many thanks once again for all your support.

Best wishes,


Jonathan Kingan
Chairman of Trustees
Petersham Festival
Tel 020 8549 7324







Updated 28 July 2010