This year’s annual carol concert in Kenilworth was hailed as a ‘spectacular success’, despite organisers fearing for its future just a few months ago.
Kenilworth Lions were forced to find an alternative site for the concert after Kenilworth Castle, the location of the concert for the last 30 years, opted to host their ‘Enchanted Kenilworth Castle’ on the same day.
After talking to Warwick District Council, it was agreed that the Lions could use Abbey Fields as a new venue.
And on Saturday December 23, record numbers came together near St Nicholas Church to sing plenty of carols at the top of their voices.
The Lions estimated around 2,000 people came out, which is far higher than any concerts held at Kenilworth Castle. Only around 900 people tended to visit the castle for concerts in previous years.
And although the Lions had to rely on voluntary donations rather than ticket sales due to the open nature of Abbey Fields, they believe the concert raised a healthy sum.
Lions president Kerry Kirwan said the group were quite worried when Kenilworth Castle told them they would not be able to use it for the concert back in August.
He added: “Three months ago we had a head in hands moment. But in hindsight it was the best thing that could have happened.
“We’re over the moon. We didn’t expect such numbers - it was unbelievable. We really didn’t know what we were going to get. The town came out in force. People were just coming in from everywhere.
“We hoped to get a lot of people there but it did go above and beyond what we wished for. Quite a lot of people told us they wouldn’t have gone to the castle if it was held there.”
Kerry said the acoustics of Abbey Fields were also very good, and said the only real hiccup was selling out of mulled wine within 25 minutes as they expected far lower numbers to turn up.
He added: “That’s a lesson for next year.”
While they have not confirmed Abbey Fields as a venue next Christmas, the Lions have been told they will not be able to use the castle next year. But Kerry felt the Fields would probably be the best option due to the huge success of this year’s concert.
He also wished to thank Kenilworth Town Council, Warwick District Council and the townspeople who came out to support the event.