THE inaugural music festival at Christchurch Priory has been hailed a huge success by the organiser.

Thousands of people showed up during the week-long showcase which finished on Saturday with Bournemouth’s Bach Choir performing Mendelssohn’s Elijah.

Festival organiser Colin Bacchus said the event had exceeded expectations both in terms of footfall and visitor feedback.

“We never had fewer than 120 people at any of the performances and at some had almost 300,” he added.

“What was great is we managed to attract people from out of the area too. I met people who had come down from Basingstoke and Norfolk.”

The event had kicked off with a special concert by the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Friends of Christchurch Priory.

A packed schedule of performances, ranging from oboist soloists to organ music, jazz and classical groups followed. It also included workshops for schoolchildren.

“Those kids will never forget it,” added Colin. “They were absolutely amazed and fell completely silent.

“I think they got so much out of it – and they are the most important part. They are the next generation who will take care of the Priory.

“There are not many places in this world where you feel this kind of tranquillity and comfort. It is a magical place.”

Colin said when the final figures are counted he expects the revenue from the event to have covered the costs to put it on.

He now hopes the festival will be hosted in the town every two years.