Live battles will mark 750th anniversary of historic Evesham event

Evesham Journal: Brother John (John Jenkinson, of the Evesham Hotel) with festival organiser Antonia Coles and Lady Clare (Clare Bostle, of the Simon de Montfort Society) at the launch of the Battle of Evesham Festival. Brother John (John Jenkinson, of the Evesham Hotel) with festival organiser Antonia Coles and Lady Clare (Clare Bostle, of the Simon de Montfort Society) at the launch of the Battle of Evesham Festival.

LIVE battles, medieval banquets and birds of prey are just some of what people can expect at the Battle of Evesham Festival next year.

The huge festival, taking place on August 8 and 9 next year, will be the biggest the town has seen and will mark the 750th anniversary of the historic battle between Simon de Montfort and Prince Edward.

It was officially launched this week at an event in All Saints Church in Evesham, which saw more than 100 people from the town attend.

Antonia Coles, from JTT Events, which is organising the festival, said it would be a "fabulous" occasion.

"This will be a fabulous, wonderful medieval festival," she said, explaining what can be expected from the event, including augmented reality, bus tours to the field of battle in Greenhill, displays, fayres and activities, engagement with the community in the run up and involving the town with the festival as it takes place.

The opportunity to capitalise on the historic occasion was highlighted by Sean Riley, manager of Evesham Market Town Partnership.

He said: "Tourism in Evesham is worth £24 million a year. Here is a real opportunity for us to do something with national and international significance."

At the centre of the festival is the history, and this was outlined by Clive Bostle, of the Simon de Montfort Society.

He said: "It's a huge part of Evesham and national heritage. It's seminal really in the history of England. Of course Simon de Montfort initiated the first steps in a form of Parliamentary democracy.

"We very much commemorate him as an important figure in the history of democracy."

The importance of the battle and Simon de Montfort himself is at the centre of the festival and was highlighted as a way to increase tourism in Evesham.

Sir Peter Luff MP, who couldn't be at the event, recorded a video message saying this was "huge opportunity" for Evesham.

"Evesham's part in our history is not always understood so this is our time to do that."

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