Norfolk and Norwich Festival tickets sales are up

Tickets sales for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival have increased by 10% compared with the same time last year.

The website for the 16-day arts event has also seen its hits surge by 150% this year.

Shows by Havana's nine-piece orchestra Sierra Maestra and Bo Nanafana Social Club have sold out.

"We're thrilled that so many of our events are selling fast," said artistic director William Galinsky, who took up his post in February.

Interest in the 238-year-old festival's programme has come from across the country and stretches as far afield as China and Australia.

Organisers are particularly pleased with the bookings for shows to be staged in Chapelfield Gardens' Spiegeltent, which translates from Flemish to 'mirror tent'.

It is the third year the lavish wooden structure will set up in the Norwich city centre park, with the European premiere of a circus-styled show Cantina and late night show series featuring a concert by Eliza Carthy also selling well.

With the festival launching on Friday, preparations are hectic but Mr Galinsky said he is pleased that people are prepared to take risks on seeing some boundary-pushing shows, which includes the al fresco dinner party Dining With Alice at Elsing Hall.

"What's brilliant is that our audiences trust us enough to take a chance and try something completely new while the festival is on," said Mr Galinsky.

The annual event held in May is the UK's fourth biggest city arts festival and in 2010 it attracted its highest ever audience of 278,000 people.

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