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PICTURE SPECIAL: Maidenhead Festival 2017

It may have rained on and off through much of the weekend but the town’s largest community event was anything but a washout.

From circus shows in the baby big top to a full programme of musicians on the main stage, performers at Maidenhead Festival pulled out all the stops to ensure the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.

With more stalls and sideshows than ever before, a funfair, an artificial beach, and an eclectic mix of local and national musicians, singers and performers, there was something for the whole family at this year's event.

Along with inflatable 'zorbs' and a blow-up a maze there was also an inflatable funzone for children.

The festival marketplace saw more than 60 stands to browse, selling everything from hats to biltong and promoting an array of organisations and charities.

Festival-goers who worked up an appetite had a huge range of food stalls to choose from offering flavours of the world from Peru and Jamaica to Scandanavia and Greece.

Among the musicians playing on Saturday was Emma Jane Kennedy, from Fifield. The 28-year-old said: “It was absolutely fantastic, the sound was really good.”

She added: “This is one of the best gigs I’ve done so far.”

Paul Shrimpton, the drummer from the band Riser, was excited about their performance.

“We cover everything from rock to pop, from Tears for Fears to Justin Timberlake,” he said.

“We’ve been together for 10 years now, most of us are from the Maidenhead area.”

The band was asked back after a highly-praised performance last year.

Paul added: “The festival is really good and gets a lot of support, so it’s nice to be a part of.”

The baby big top was awash with spinning plates and juggling as whole families tried their hand at a number of circus tricks.

Performers Kyle Oram and Andy Jester had been entertaining both the children and the adults with their Circus Sensible Show throughout the afternoon.

Kyle said: “We go around the country performing at schools and festivals. We do comedy juggling and comedy acrobatics, it’s for all age groups.”

As the rain set in town favourite Kevin Cruise took his performance out into the crowd before X Factor star Nate Simpson put in a show-stopping performance.

But as the skies above Kidwells Park cleared the night was stolen by the headline act, Take That Live, who finished a two-hour set as the fireworks brought the first day to a spectacular close.

As the rain held off on Sunday more and more people wandered over to Kidwell Park to sample the food and enjoy the fair.

Tim Gough, from Nottingham, said he comes to visit family at the same time every year so the festival is a great way for them to spend some time together.

The 61-year-old laughed: “I usually just go from stall to stall, the food has been great this year.

“It’s great to see the town put something like this on.”

The Prime Minister also braved the weather to speak to some young people who had been volunteering at the festival.

In the afternoon there were performances from a range of acts including Origami Heart, The Tuneless Choir and Mixtape Rock ‘n’ Roll, made up of Nicole Johnson and Dan Caney.

The pair had been playing together for more than eight years.

“It was great, really chilled”, said Nicole after her performance.

As the evening closed in Bourbon Myths played through some AC/DC, watched by Sue Hall and Paul Hughes from Staines.

They were sat waiting for the night’s headline act, Bon Giovi.

Paul said: “We’re big Bon Jovi fans so we’re looking forward to seeing them, we saw the same band a few weeks ago and they were really good.”

Entertainment co-ordinator Carly Kenny said the event had gone beautifully despite the weather.

She said: “It’s getting bigger and better every year, it shows how many talented musicians there are in and around Maidenhead."

Watch a video from the festival, shot by the National Citizen Service (NCS) below.

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