Rain? What rain? The 2014 Festival of Chichester is under way!

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre
Chichester Festival Youth Theatre

The weather didn’t exactly smile on Saturday, but the performers certainly did on a stop-start Cathedral Green celebration marking the first day of this year’s Festival of Chichester.

Festival chairman Phil Hewitt said: “It rained just as we were setting up, but then we had a fantastic succession of performances from Ella Davidson on guitar and Anna Foye and Abi Edwards on piano, superbly-talented musicians from the Chichester Music Academy.

“Next up, we had a really fun performance from Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, wonderfully lively and colourful. They really are terrific ambassadors for the CFT and for the whole of the city, so willing and skilled. They are brilliant at summoning a crowd out of nowhere and then really engaging with everyone.

“And then we had a lovely session from the Emsworth Community Choir whom we would love to see back at next year’s Festival – especially as they were cut short on Saturday by sudden torrential rain.

“With lots of electrical cabling and equipment on the Cathedral Green, we felt it was too risky to continue at that point. We were so disappointed to miss out on the brass band from the Prebendal School and on singer Sylvia Rota. Most people were due to perform twice for us, but the heavens opened.

“But huge thanks go to Lavant House School who salvaged the afternoon. They turned up for their 3.30 slot just as the weather cleared and gave a delightful performance, strongly supported by their parents and by passers-by.

“Massive thanks also to Concept Audio of Bognor Regis who provided all our sound equipment on the day free of charge and at the shortest of notice. We were really stuck when our initial plans fell through, but Concept Audio stepped in magnificently. They really couldn’t have been kinder, more supportive or more helpful. We owe them a huge debt of thanks for pulling out all the stops and all their wet-weather advice!

“Meanwhile, those in the dry enjoyed a superb sell-out concert from the outrageously-talented pianist Young-Choon Park at Pallant House Gallery. The 2014 Festival of Chichester is well and truly under way now, thanks to months of hard work from our terrific committee. The next four weeks offer 200-plus fabulous events. Please make sure you take full advantage!”

Full details on www.festivalofchichester.co.uk. Tickets on www.chichestertickets.co.uk or

01243 813595.