EXCLUSIVE: Hitchin Priory to host Rhythms of the World 2014

The team from Rhythms of the World in the ground of Hitchin Priory for the launch of the festival

The team from Rhythms of the World in the ground of Hitchin Priory for the launch of the festival - Credit: Archant

Organisers of Rhythms of the World (ROTW) have exclusively announced in the Comet today (Thursday) that the festival of world music will return to Hitchin this summer.

The Comet revealed last month that discussions were ongoing, and now event organisers for ROTW have confirmed that the annual festival will make its comeback on August 2-3 in the grounds of Hitchin Priory.

After a record-breaking turnout in 2012, the two-day event did not go ahead at the venue in 2013 due to the impact of the previous year’s wet and muddy conditions. It had to be cancelled as an alternative site was not found.

While hunting for potential new venues, a change in ownership at Hitchin Priory encouraged the festival’s committee to return to the 19 acres of parkland that sits behind the Priory, in the heart of the town.

Festival executives met with the new owners of the Hitchin Priory in Tilehouse Street this week to officially launch the partnership and reveal details for ROTW 2014, which is being backed by the Comet.


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“We are over the moon that we will be holding a festival in 2014, and even more so that it will return to its home at Hitchin Priory,” said Amy Hopkins, chairman of the festival.

“The last 18 months have been hard work and there were times we weren’t sure whether we would make a comeback, but the support from the local community, the local shops and bars, and of course from the new owners, manager Thierry Viatge and all the staff at Hitchin Priory, has been overwhelming.

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“After confirming the finer details, the festival committee put into action a guerrilla campaign around town this week with T-shirts, beer mats, and window art encouraging people to ‘save the date’.

“This was combined with an online social media campaign, with the associated hashtag #thecrocthatrocks. This activity started tongues wagging, with a palpable anticipated excitement about the festival’s return, which we are now delighted to confirm for this August.”

While the annual event has traditionally been held in July, existing wedding bookings and other events at Hitchin Priory have required the festival dates to change to the first weekend in August.

Speaking of the new partnership, Graham Cantillion, adviser to the Chartridge board which owns Hitchin Priory, said: “We hope this is the start of a new beginning for ROTW. We have new owners and we are very much looking forward to being a part of the Hitchin community and welcoming people and the ROTW team back.”

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