A POPULAR arts festival will be coming to Maldon despite the sudden loss of its organiser.

The 12th Maldon Festival runs from June 22 to July 6 and offers a fortnight of events from jazz to classical, beat-box to baroque, choral and orchestral, together with art exhibitions and workshops.

The festival was delayed after the death of co-organiser Kieran Sampson in February this year, but it is going ahead with a reduced programme including a concert in his memory on June 30.

This year’s theme is called A Festival of Animals.

Festival director Colin Baldy said: “As many of you will know, this has been a very difficult year for us, with the sudden and unexpected death of Kieran Sampson. Kieran founded the festival with me in 2008.

“You will have become used to seeing him running around sorting out staging, looking after the performers, helping behind the bar and generally keeping everything running. He built and maintained the website and printed and sorted out all the ticketing.

“As you can imagine, losing such a key person has been very hard.

“We even considered cancelling this year’s programme completely.

“The programme isn’t as extensive or diverse as we originally planned; that will have to wait until 2020; but we hope we are honouring his memory by keeping as much going as possible.

“Our theme this year, as already planned with Kieran, is the Animal Kingdom.

“The festival reflects our love of animals, featuring particular animal characters and referring to the ideal of protecting and preserving the natural world.

“The fortnight closes with a service of blessing for pets and livestock at St Mary’s Church.”

For 2019’s headline concert, singer Joe Stilgoe brings his creative genius to bear on the current issues of the day, setting his views on life to music.

For a full line-up of events, visit eventsmaldonfestival.co.uk.