Happy 100th Birthday, Priory Park!

priory park festival 2017 credit youreventphotography.uk

The Friends of Priory Park and Priory Park Festival combine for 10 days of birthday celebrations in the Park from 22 – 30 September 2018.

100 years ago this September the Park was given by the 7th Duke of Richmond and Gordon to the people of the City, for their leisure and as a perpetual memorial to the fallen in the First World War. Creating spectacle, ceremony, music and fun in the park, both aspects will be marked in a ten-day programme, starting with a jazz and blues opening night party and with the celebrations culminating in a special drum head service.


Highlights include a parachute jump by RN Raiders, a re-enactment of the 1642 Siege of Chichester, a display of vintage Rolls-Royces, a record-breaking attempt at the world’s biggest teddy bears’ picnic and vintage bowls, hockey and cricket matches. Evening events will include sky watching with the South Downs Planetarium and also the world premiere of Chichester Community Theatre’s new play The Hawkhurst Gang, by local playwright Greg Mosse, in the Guildhall.


Concluding on Sunday September 30 with a poignant tribute to the 350 men of Chichester who gave their lives in the First World War, a Drum Head Service will take place in the morning. Including a pigeon release, the 100 choir conducted by Emily Barden and a waterfall of poppies, made by local schoolchildren, cascading down the Park’s mound, this will be followed in the afternoon by a special Evensong, a blessing of the Park and the unveiling of the restored 1918 dedicatory plaque.

“Rediscover the Park’s rich history”

Chairman of the Friends of Priory Park Richard Plowman said: “A wide range of projects and activities has been developed to help people rediscover the Park’s rich history and to raise awareness of the benefits offered by this vital green space in the heart of Chichester. Most of the events are free of charge and there is something for all the family to enjoy. We are very grateful for the support of Patron the 11th Duke of Richmond and Gordon, Natures Way Food, Spirit FM, The Chichester Observer, Chichester District Council, Chichester City Council, Chichester City Band and The Rotary Club of Chichester.”

The music festival

Joining forces with The Friends of Priory Park is New Wave Music’s Robin Bextor, who has combined the Priory Park Festival with the birthday celebrations. Having staged the hugely successful Priory Park Music Festival in Chichester, bringing acts including The Feeling, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Tony Christie, The Christians and Georgie Fame to the city, this year Robin was keen to support the centenary celebrations. Robin said:

“We want to build on the success of the past two years of the Priory Park Festival, but with the park itself celebrating such a special birthday it would have been crazy not to join forces with the Friends. This year’s music festival is therefore smaller, making way for a host of other events, but I can promise great fun for all.

Ticket availability will be limited inside Festival Village, with acts including The Hoosiers, Jim Cregan, Johnny Mars, as well as a wealth of local talent. Early booking is advised! It’s great to be working with Nick Davidson from the Chichester Music Academy and I am delighted that we will once again welcome three wonderful local charities: Ovation Music, Children on the Edge and The Apuldram Centre. All do amazing work, right here in Chichester. Together with the Friends of Priory Park we hope to build on our strong local bonds and that next year the Priory Park Music Festival will be back; bigger and better than ever!”

Back by popular demand after rave reviews last year, Jim and his band will deliver music to delight the young, the old and everyone in between.

BOOKINGS FOR MUSIC EVENTS: Tickets: £10 per night or £25 for a weekend pass.

Children on the Edge is a charity that exists to help those living on the edge of their societies across the globe: www.childrenontheedge.org. The Apuldram Centre provides meaningful daytime occupational activities to adults with learning disabilities, with the emphasis on having a training-orientated day and producing goods for sale to the public. www.apuldram.org Ovation Music is a charity that works with a large number of children and young people from across the local community, encouraging creativity, teamwork, self-expression and a positive outlook. www.ovationmusic.org.uk

Full Programme

Friday 21 September 2018

Launch Party with Jazz in the Little Big Top 6:30pm-10:30pm. Live music from 4pm

Saturday 22 September 2018

Opening Ceremony 11am Art in Action 10-4pm Parachute Jump 2pm Live music from 4pm

Sunday 23 September 2018

Sealed Knot plus drill exercises and camp activities 11am Art in Action 10-4pm Siege of 1642 2pm Re-enactment of the siege of Chichester with Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s Regiment of Foote Live music from 4pm

Monday 24 September 2018

Morning Session Edwardian Bowls Afternoon Session Edwardian Bowls

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Astronomy in the Park 2pm Choir 6:30 pm Astronomy in the Park Night Sky 9pm

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Vintage Hockey 2pm The Hawkhurst Gang (Play) 7pm

Thursday 27 September 2018

Rolls Royce Car parade 11 am Rolls Royce Car Static Display 11-4pm The Hawkhurst Gang 7pm

Friday 28 September 2018

Board War Games in the Guildhall 11am Chichester’s Biggest Teddy Bear Picnic 3:30pm Choir 7pm

Saturday 29 September 2018

Celebrity Cricket Match 11:30am The Hawkhurst Gang 2:30pm The Hawkhurst Gang 7pm

Sunday 30 September 2018

Drum Head Service 11:30am Carrier Pigeon Release 12noon Massed Choirs Unveiling of Restored Plaque 12:15pm Evensong and Blessing of the Park 3pm

Throughout the Anniversary Week

Fenwicks Vintage Tea shop
Photographic Exhibition in the Oxmarket


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