Street entertainers in Chester and Wrexham are big news
By Ceidiog Hughes
Oyez, Oyez, competitors in a new street entertainers’ festival in North Wales are getting a big build up – from the world’s tallest town crier. Their performances are being heralded by Shrewsbury town crier, or bellman, Martin Wood, who stands over 7ft 4ins tall and wears size 16 shoes. He towered over shoppers at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre which is the main sponsor of Wrexham Year of Culture.
The competitors include variety acts, magicians and singers.The prize for the entertainer who secures the most votes from the public will be to perform at the switch on of Wrexham’s Christmas lights in December 2011 and at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in July 2012. According to Nicola Millar, a member of Wrexham County Borough Council’s Year of Culture team, the three day competition is proving a big hit with shoppers and visitors.
She said: “Eagles Meadow shopping centre is the principal Wrexham Year of Culture sponsor and we are delighted to be able to hold part of the Street Entertainers’ Festival within the shopping centre. The event is proving very popular and I would encourage shoppers to go along and see some of the performances. People can vote for their favourite act and the winners will be invited to perform at the Wrexham Christmas lights switch-on as well as earning a spot at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.”
Town Crier Martin Wood said: “Eagles Meadow is fabulous and the acoustics are amazing. I would love to organise a town crier competition here as it would be a perfect venue. It’s a lovely setting and everyone is so very friendly. I really do like it a lot and rest assured I will be back. I am always thrilled to be asked to cry messages in different towns and cities and always enjoy coming to Wrexham.”
And Martin took time out to delight one young Chirk girl by crying out to shoppers that it was Yasmin Parkinson’s seventh birthday and getting the crowd to join in with a special rendition of Happy Birthday. Yasmin’s mum, Keeley Parkinson, was delighted and said it had made her daughter’s birthday even more special. She said: “I came to Eagles Meadow to take Yasmin and her friends to the Odeon Cinema to see The Smurfs. I was really surprised to see the town crier and thought he was brilliant. It’s lovely having something different on but to be fair there always seems to be something happening whenever I come to Eagles Meadow.”
Ellesmere Port duo, Out by Sunday, had the pleasure of being the street entertainers who got the festival underway. Keyboard player and vocalist Luke Cusato, 16, and guitarist and vocalist Cal Thomson, 16, soon drew a crowd as they performed Beatles, Oasis and a number of mainstream songs. Luke said: “We normally busk in Chester and play at the Queens Hotel Chester every Sunday morning so to get out to somewhere different like Eagles Meadow has been a real pleasure. It’s been brilliant and the shoppers have been fantastic. There is a really nice atmosphere and people have even stopped and applauded which is wonderful.”
Call added: “It has been stunning and every one has been so nice. We have been amazed how many people have stopped and took the time to fill out a voting form. It would be great to win but we have really enjoyed the experience whether we win or not.”
Rossett student Rachel Aspinall, 17, was one of those taking time out to fill out a voting form in favour of Out by Sunday. She said: “It’s brilliant to see something different here at Eagles Meadow. I have spent a good half-an-hour just listening and enjoying the music of Out by Sunday. They are really good. I just think it’s nice to have something different that everyone can enjoy. There has been a great chilled-out atmosphere and I have really enjoyed it.”