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Sevenoaks Summer Festival,  Claridge House, Sevenoaks School, High Street, Sevenoaks TN13 1HU

Sevenoaks Summer Festival

In 1970, Sevenoaks School upgraded its previously internal “Paean”, a series of musical events inaugurated in 1968 to celebrate the end of exams, to “Paean 70 - A Festival of Music and the Arts for Sevenoaks”, hoping that it would be the start “of an annual event, which should eventually benefit the local community”.  This selection of covers and the 2009 programme illustrate fulfilment of that hope.

By 1973, “Paean” had been jettisoned, possibly due to pronunciation difficulties and re-named “Sevenoaks Summer Festival” which, under the successive direction of Richard Hames, Richard Barran, Michael Parslew, Mark Pyper and Roger Woodward, grew and flourished until 2000, when Sevenoaks School stepped down.

Fortunately, the late, indomitable John Smedley in 2000 accepted the mantle of Organiser, on behalf of the Town.  John placed Town Fair at the centre of the Festival, which, with limited funding, had all but lost its celebrity content.

By 2004, with funding from Sevenoaks Town Council to replace departing sponsor Swiss Life, John had not only brought Festival back to its former level of content, but also reaffirmed its place as a community event.  He initiated a return of the “Festival Flags”, instigated the “Smartest Artists Quiz”, laid down the basic format of the brochure, commissioned the present logo and designed the street banners.  His untimely death in April 2004 left some big shoes to fill.

To mark John’s achievements, groups entering the Smartest Artists Quiz compete for the John Smedley Challenge Cup, and each year we mount the John Smedley Folk Memorial Concert in his honour.

To view an expanded history 1970-2010 click above 40thTEXT.pdf History