Answered here, the questions about the Festival that have popped up since 2005, though not especially frequently. If you would like to ask something – anything – about the Festival, please go to Contact Us.
Where, when, what, why? How often, how long, how much, how enjoyable? Arguably the most important question concerns the dates of the next Festival – and they are 15-16-17 June 2017
Q. How do I buy tickets for the 2017 Festival?
A. Please contact Jonathan and Rachel Barclay Smith on 01256 541251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We can accept cash or cheques made out to Bramley & Little London Music Festival, please. Payments can also be made online to the Festival’s bank account 02802474, sort code 30-93-32 but please do put your name in the narrative and e-mail us with your details at email@example.com, so we know where to send the tickets. We do not have a debit/credit-card facility.
Q. Do I need to buy a ticket in advance, or can I just turn up on the night?
A. You can of course just turn up on the night, but it’s likely that we shall not be able to find a seat for you. St James’s Church holds 156, and the Festival often sells out all three nights in advance. Turners-up take their chances on no-shows, of which there are always a handful.
Q. How long does the Festival last?
A. It runs over three evenings in a single week. We tried Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings in 2005, and felt that Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings worked better – if only for London commuters.
Q. How long is each concert?
A. The church opens at 7pm (seats are not reservable); each concert starts at 7.30pm and ends around 9.15pm; and there’s a five-minute stretch break halfway through.
Q. Is there a dress code?
Q. Where does the ticket money go?
A. Primarily, it meets the costs of the Festival. That is, fees for the musicians, costs associated with the provision of a good-quality grand piano, promotional activity, and the purchase of wine, soft drinks and food for the buffet/reception that follows each night’s concert – to which all members of the audience, and the performers, are invited. The majority of any profit is given to St James’s Church, to help to maintain its ancient fabric.
Q. I’m confused. Is the Festival held twice a year, or every two years?
A. It’s biennial – every other year – and in the summer, when the evenings are long and light and everyone can enjoy each other’s company, and that of the musicians, after each concert.
Q. I don’t listen to much classical music, and it wouldn’t enter my head to go to a recital at somewhere like Wigmore Hall. Would I be bored at Bramley …?
A. Members of the Festival audience come from London, Southampton, Reading, High Wycombe, Portsmouth and many villages surrounding Basingstoke, but most are Bramley residents or live in neighbouring hamlets and villages – and the majority probably would not describe themselves as especially knowledgeable about classical music. They love the Festival, and so will you. Each performer’s choice of repertoire is made relatively close to the date of each concert, but programme details are published as soon as they are available – and immediately confirm our guests’ understanding of the brief to “dazzle, surprise and delight”.
Q. Is there adequate parking near to the event?
A. St James’s Church has a car park, and on each night of the music festival there is overflow parking in the farmyard next door to the church. As you’d expect, first-comers get the parking spaces closest to the church.
Q. Are children welcome?
A. Absolutely, but the Music Festival is undeniably a grown-up event and toddlers are unlikely to enjoy it much.
Q. Can I take pictures during concerts?
A. We’d prefer that you didn’t. But no one will mind if you snap away when the performers take their bows; and the church, beautifully decorated by the ladies of the local floral society, is certainly worth picturing before the music gets under way.
Q. Is it possible to reserve seats?
A. No, because there is no numbering system in the church. Better to arrive in good time and lay claim to the seats that you want: doors open each evening at 7pm.
Q. What time do the concerts end?
A. Between 9.15pm and 9.30pm, when drinks and canapés are served in Cross House, just a few strides from the church. There’s no interval as such, just a five-minute stretch-break halfway through each concert.
Q. What if I turn up late?
A. If there’s a seat to be had, we shall conduct you to it during the applause that follows the item that is under way when you arrive.
Q. Are there CDs of the music festival?
A. No but individual performers have generally recorded CDs and some bring them along for sale after the concerts.
Q. I think the Bramley & Little London Music Festival is a terrific idea! How do I go about making a financial donation, in addition to the tickets that I intend to buy for the next event?
A. What a kind and immensely welcome thought. We have, in fact, taken several donations over the last few years, and since 2009 we have invited donations from those who wish to be named as Friends of the Festival. Cheques are just great, made out to Bramley & Little London Music Festival. Payments can also be made online to the Festival’s bank account 02802474, sort code 30-93-32 but please do put your name in the narrative and e-mail us with your details at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can properly acknowledge your generosity.