FOLK music lovers are in for more fun as a festival has signed a deal for a further two years.
The Wickham Festival, which took place on fields off Blind Lane last weekend, has announced it has signed a two-year deal to stay on the same site.
There had been fears that the hugely popular four-day fiesta, which attracts crowds of 7,000 each day, might have to move following the death of landowner Tom Houghton last year.
However his son Stuart has signed a new agreement to allow the festival to remain until at least 2020.
Organiser Peter Chegwyn said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to be staying where we are as this really is the perfect home for us.
‘We were very saddened by Tom’s death on a personal level as he was a great friend to me and to the festival. We did worry briefly how it might affect us but his son has been hugely supportive.
‘He attended all four days and, like the rest of the crowd, he fell in love with the unique family-friendly, relaxed atmosphere. He has seen we run a very good event, not with military precision but one the audience really likes. It just works.
‘It is great to know we are here for at least two more years and hopefully many more as it is such a wonderful location for us and for the thousands who come here.
‘It truly is the best of all worlds as this scenic setting feels right out in the countryside but the village is just five minutes walk away for people to stock up on provisions. It is great for local businesses and we are so grateful for their support and that of the parish council.
‘It is a partnership which really works. And it is not just a financial thing. The people in the village really enjoy having us here. They like the people who come here. There is never any trouble and long may it continue.’
The announcement comes on the back of another hugely successful event which saw record crowds enjoy music from Squeeze, Steve Harley, Tom Robinson, the Undertones and many more.
Peter said: ‘It has been our best yet – for many reasons. The wonderful sunshine clearly helped but we had some amazing artists and record attendances.’
Tickets are already on sale for next year, which will take place from August 1 to 4.