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Dartford Festival 2015: Record numbers of visitors come to see Calum Scott from Britain's Got Talent and Andy Jordan from Made In Chelsea

It might not be a massive cow field in the middle of the Somerset countryside but this year’s Dartford Festival attracted a record number of people at Central Park.

The borough’s own version of Glastonbury saw live music at the heart of the two-day free extravaganza with big name bands playing alongside a host of local talent.

Many arrived early with blankets and picnic hampers on Saturday to make the most of the bumper-packed programme and there was a steady flow of visitors throughout the afternoon.

The Walby family at Dartford Festival. From left: Grace, 8, Geoff, Sabrina, and Wren, 6
The Walby family at Dartford Festival. From left: Grace, 8, Geoff, Sabrina, and Wren, 6

Among the many attractions was a full-sized fun fair and a sports village where young and old alike could try their hand at a range of activities, including archery, circus skills and drumming workshops. Members of Dartford Cricket Club, Dartford Valley Rugby Football Club and Erith Yacht Club were there to encourage more people to take up their sport.

Saturday’s line-up attracted a younger audience with acts such as Calum Scott, of Britain’s Got Talent fame and Andy Jordan, the singer/singwriter and star of award-winning show Made in Chelsea taking to the stage.

Sunday saw performances from the Brit Award nominated group The Feeling, soul and jazz band Stone Foundation who recently supported ska legends The Specials.

Council leader Jeremy Kite said: “We make every effort to improve on the festival year on year. It’s taken us 10 years and I firmly believe that we have now one of the biggest and best free festivals in the south.

Sapphire Dance and Drama Academy
Sapphire Dance and Drama Academy

“While some areas are down-sizing or even cancelling festivals we had to decide do we let it go and we decided to let it grow.

“The atmosphere was mellow and it might sound strange for me to say, but there was a good vibe about the place.

“People knew they could get here, put their blankets down, and just wander off.

“People have come to know what to expect and they know important it is to us to promote local talent. We have some bands that actually formed for the festival.”

Bobby Lakin, 5
Bobby Lakin, 5

Helen Clark, council press officer, said about 12,000 people turned up on Saturday, which was well up on last year.

She said: “The weather has certainly helped. It’s very much a festival for the people of Dartford, but we have some people come from as far away as Newcastle. With the weather looking good, I think we can expect even more people.”

Over the whole weekend, initial estimates are that somewhere between 20,000-25,000 people enjoyed the extravaganza.

For more pictures, see Thursday's Dartford Messenger

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