A popular two-week Cornwall festival has come to an end with organisers saying they believe they did what they came to do.

The 15-day St Ives September Festival, which defied everything Covid could throw at it to return this year, ended on a high last weekend.

Back in March, while many other festivals around the country were being cancelled for a second year running, the small band of St Ives Festival volunteer organisers pledged to go ahead.

Despite further concerns when Covid rates increased in West Cornwall during the summer, the music and arts festival went ahead and the feedback has been positive.

Last Friday, the town’s Guildhall - which until Voice winner Molly Hocking appeared there on the second night of this year’s Festival had not seen a show for 21 months since New Year’s Eve 2019 - was sold out.

Audience sizes were restricted to 75 per cent of normal capacity for safety and distancing reasons but all tickets had been snapped up to see the Fleetwood Mac Songbook tribute band three days before they arrived, with dozens of people left disappointed.

The Guildhall rocked again and the venue’s management messaged: "Congratulations St Ives September Festival for an amazing couple of weeks - what a perfect way to restart events at The Guildhall!

"A big thank you to everyone who came along."

Despite operating with a smaller team than ever before after several key officials departed following the cancellation of the 2020 Festival - and with less time to arrange things following the third lockdown and the ensuing restrictions - the Festival scheduled 210 events across a wide spectrum of music and arts over the 15 days.

Virtually all of them went ahead with successful Guildhall nights also featuring bluegrass band Flats and Sharps, The George Michael Story, ace guitarist Martin Simpson and 80-year-old folk legend Martin Carthy, who ensured "the show must go on" by appearing on his own last Thursday even though his daughter Eliza was forced to withdraw after suffering the double blow of a chest infection and a broken foot.

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Highlights at the Arts Club included a special showing of Cornish film Bait by its Bafta award-winning director Mark Jenkin whose question and answer session revealed that he has another film in the pipeline!

St Ia Church’s programme of 22 shows in 15 days, arranged by their events’ organiser Jo Grant, provided a huge boost to the Festival with Cornwall shanty singers Bryher’s Boys and choir Femmes De La Mer both attracting large audiences before Helston Town Band’s Last Night Of The Proms provided a rousing finale last Saturday.

There was plenty to do across the town with exhibitions, 40 artists welcoming visitors during the Open Studios programme and Bob Devereux’s traditional Festival lunchtime music and poetry sessions taking place every day in Norway Square.

Festival spokesman Mike Sinclair said: "There were a lot of difficulties to overcome this year but we got there.

"We could not even hold a committee meeting until March when six people were allowed to meet outdoors, which was OK because there were only five of us at the time!

"Audience levels were understandably affected by continuing caution over attending events and we budgeted for that and the expected restrictions on audience sizes when it came to booking performers.

"We had three aims year – to get to the starting line, to stay financially viable and to deliver an enjoyable Festival.

"We managed the first two – even making a small profit which will go towards staging the next year’s Festival – and hope we also achieved the third."

The 2022 St Ives September Festival is scheduled to take place from Saturday September 10 until Saturday 24.

For more information, visit: www.stivesseptemberfestival.co.uk