Norfolk and Norwich Festival celebrates record ticket sales

Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2012 (Photo: JMA Photography)
Image caption Free family-friendly events were a key part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival (NNF) has concluded on a record breaking high with a 15% year-on-year growth in ticket sales to 30,000 people.

Free family-friendly events played a key role in the 2012 festival, with around a third of the programme (75 events) a sell-out.

Artistic director William Galinsky said: "It puts our region on the map.

"We took some big risks artistically, but the audience has lapped it up - there's been an incredible response."

The annual celebration of the arts is now one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the UK alongside Edinburgh, Manchester and Brighton.

Tourism boost

Mr Galinsky added: "NNF is in a lucky position in that it's regarded as one of the most important arts festivals in Britain, that's been upward trajectory for the last five years now.

"It's mostly a festival for people in the [East] region, but cultural tourism is becoming increasingly important."

Nick Bond, head of tourism at Visit Norwich, added: "The festival really captures the spirit and appetite for culture in Norwich, which encompasses excellent theatre, musical performances, visual arts and of course literature."

Image caption The AirHotel took audiences to new heights in the grounds of Holt Hall

Festival highlights included the UK premier of Invasion by Dutch company Close Act, which drew more than 6,000 people into Norwich city centre for the evening opening ceremony.

More than 16,000 people also attended the opening weekend's Garden Party including the Dinosaur Petting Zoo - which is now set to entertain audiences on Broadway.

The festival's record-breaking year follows recent news it will receive a £240,000 grant from Arts Council England as part of the Catalyst Arts scheme.

The NNF is one of the oldest surviving arts festival in the UK with its origins dating back to the 1700s. It became an annual event in 1988.

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