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Around 10,000 people break out the flags at the Leeds Castle open air concert

By Kent Messenger reporter

A heavy downpour failed to dampen spirits at Kent's largest classical concert.

The acts were only half an hour into the line-up at Leeds Castle when the heavens opened, sending concert-goers scurrying for umbrellas and waterproofs.

Just as the first spots were felt, the Patriot Girls had taken to the stage and had expressed their delight that it wasn't raining - prompting some audience reaction.

Crowds enjoying the fun at Leeds Castle
Crowds enjoying the fun at Leeds Castle

One of the newer famous names on the bill was the P&O Ferries choir, the winners of BBC2's The Choir programme last year.

Members of the P&O Choir
Members of the P&O Choir

The group is drawn from a broad cross-section of staff at the ferry company, with members working on different ships and at different shore locations, one of them even based in Calais and this was one of their largest audiences.

Their set included new arrangements of Lean on Me, Sinnerman and Ain't No Mountain High Enough.

Leeds Castle classical concert

Crowds gather to enjoy the Leeds Castle classical concert

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Rain fails to stop play The Patriot Girls on stage The Orpington Crowd from north Kent - left to right Lin Hall, Pauline Brittain, Steve Hall and Valerie Dadson Chris Pile and his rubber chicken sewn onto his hat This group travelled from Essex to enjoy the concert This group are neighbours from Hythe who got together for the night Knights of the realm at the castle concert A balloon floats over the castle One man prepares to throw a rubber chicken Security get to this rubber chicken before it gets chance to go into the grounds Fireworks over the castle

Despite several signs warning that no rubber chickens should be brought onto the site, they could be seen being tossed among audience members just after 7pm.

Warning sign at the open air concert
Warning sign at the open air concert

One man, Chris Pile from Orpington, decided to sew his rubbery feathered friend into his hat, and avoided the ban.

Earlier in the night security could be seen removing the toy animals from some people.

There was also a report of one couple having to turn back to their car because they were attempting to bring a guinea pig into the grounds.

Much of the night was devoted to James Edwards, a graduate of the Young Artists Programme at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

The biggest cheer was reserved for his rendition of Nessun Dorma.

A hot air balloon floats gracefully over Leeds Castle
A hot air balloon floats gracefully over Leeds Castle

Another highlight that drew appreciation were flypasts by a Spitfire and Hurricane and three hot air balloons floated past. One of the balloons appeared to have clipped a tree shortly before landing - but it is not believed anyone was hurt. It later landed safely.

The night concluded with rousing performances of Rule Britannia and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, set to fireworks.

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