Organisers have said this year’s Dereham Festival will be the “biggest and best yet” - and called for support from the community for the wide range of events.

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Household names including Paul Daniels and Blake are among the headline acts at the festival, which runs from May 19- June 16.

With less than 50 days to go to the start, other major acts confirmed to appear include the City of London Sinfonia, Elio Pace and concert pianist Warren Mailley-Smith who frequently plays for the Royal Family.

Most of the 16 headline acts will perform at the 300 seat Dereham Memorial Hall which has undergone a £2.5m renovation.

A total of 25 local groups are also organising community events, many free of charge, which will take place at venues across the town.

Dereham Festival begins on Saturday. May 19 with a procession from Cherry Tree car park, through the town centre and on to the Memorial Hall, and organisers are still keen to hear from any more groups, schools and individuals keen to take part.

Festival chairman Jim Stebbings said: “This year’s festival promises to be the biggest and best ever yet to grace Dereham. The line-up of acts has already attracted unprecedented demand for tickets -we only have a limited number of tickets remaining for many of our headline festival acts.”

As well as showcasing internationally renowned music and comedy artists The Dereham Festival will also be a platform for emerging local acts and performers.

Mr Stebbings said bookings had now topped £12,000, but there is still quite a way to go to reach the £27,000 break-even point.

He said: “Everything is going smoothly in terms of the preparations. But I am concerned that we meet the event targets, and we do need to get bums on seats – for people to come along and prove to us that we can get the audiences to justify providing high-quality entertainment.”

Tickets for the Dereham Festival, which start at just £3, are available to purchase either online at www.derehamfestival.org.uk or by calling 07780 769606 or in person at the Memorial Hall box office in Dereham open every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday between 10am and 3pm.

To register an interest in taking part in the festival procession call Mr Stebbings on 01362 693277.

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