WestFest: Hitchin's Rhythms of the World makes first step towards community return

PUBLISHED: 17:51 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:00 05 October 2017

The Cubanauts at WestFest. Picture: Alan Millard

The Cubanauts at WestFest. Picture: Alan Millard

Archant

There was live music, samba drumming and more at the weekend when Rhythms of the World initiated its return to the Hitchin calendar with WestFest.

The Cubanauts at WestFest. Picture: Alan MillardThe Cubanauts at WestFest. Picture: Alan Millard

Saturday’s free festival of art and music at the Westmill Community Centre was described as the first Rhythms of the World neighbourhood event, and was also a celebration of the community centre’s first birthday.

For the team behind Rhythms of the World – once billed as the largest free world music festival in Europe – it marked the first step towards an intended full return next summer.

Rhythms volunteer Clare Sulch said: “For me, one of the best points of the day was when the drummers from Garden City Samba invited members of the audience to join in with the samba drumming.

“There was a really lovely atmosphere in the room among everybody, all ages.”

The Cubanauts at WestFest. Picture: Alan MillardThe Cubanauts at WestFest. Picture: Alan Millard

Head trustee Michael Woodward added: “We’re very keen to work with our community and the input of the people at Westmill Community Centre was very important to this.

“It was a very strong collaborative effort. We’ll see more of this moving forward. Working with community is a key part of our remit, and a key part of Rhythms of the World going back to its roots.”

North Hertfordshire District Council chairman Alan Millard was among those who turned out on the day, and he was impressed with what he saw.

He told the Comet: “I applaud all those who organised and ran WestFest. It proved to be an excellent event, with many great acts and workshops which were very popular with all age groups.

The Cubanauts at WestFest. Picture: Alan MillardThe Cubanauts at WestFest. Picture: Alan Millard

“Rhythms of the World and Westmill Community Centre are to be congratulated for this brilliant day of entertainment, and I look forward in anticipation to future events – including Rhythms of the World next year.”

The Rhythms festival and charity had been on a hiatus since last year while a number of organisational and financial matters were resolved.

All-Star Choir workshop at WestFest. Picture: Alan MillardAll-Star Choir workshop at WestFest. Picture: Alan Millard

Ukelele workshop at WestFest. Picture: Alan MillardUkelele workshop at WestFest. Picture: Alan Millard

Live music at WestFest. Picture: Alan MillardLive music at WestFest. Picture: Alan Millard

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