PICTURES: Celebrity fanfare at Proms at St Jude’s as Giles Coren and Antonio Carluccio lead a star-studded crowd

Antonio Carluccio with Henry Kelly and Giles Coren at the Proms at St Jude's Music & Literary Festiv

Antonio Carluccio with Henry Kelly and Giles Coren at the Proms at St Jude's Music & Literary Festival. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Hundreds of people thronged Hampstead Garden Suburb’s Central Square for the opening weekend of the annual Proms at St Jude’s Festival.

Penny Smith with Sandra Howard at Proms at St Jude's Music & Literary Festival. Picture: Nigel Sutto

Penny Smith with Sandra Howard at Proms at St Jude's Music & Literary Festival. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

More than 500 people descended on the square on Saturday and Sunday for the LitFest held in The Henrietta Barnett School and three concerts at the church of St Jude-on-the-Hill to kick off the week-long festival.

The LitFest, which was introduced to Proms at St Jude’s for the first time last year, offered an impressive array of speakers from the literary world over the course of the weekend.

On Saturday, festivalgoers packed into Henrietta Barnett School’s hall for a talk by novelist Kate Atkinson, in conversation with The Times’ literary editor Erica Wagner, among others.

On Sunday, a talk by restaurateur Antonio Carluccio and The Times’ food critic Giles Coren, hosted by radio DJ Henry Kelly, also proved very popular.


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Musical performances began with a lunchtime family concert in Central Square on Saturday by the Pandemonium Drummers, who performed at last year’s Olympic opening ceremony.

This was followed in the evening by a performance of The Magic of Vienna by the London International Orchestra at St Jude-on-the-Hill.

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The weekend concluded with the Vintage Jazz Night, also held in St Jude-on-the-Hill, courtesy of the Guildhall Jazz Band.

Proms spokesman Ron Finlay said: “I’m pleased to say it has got off to a very strong start and we are looking forward to seeing the event well-attended for the rest of the week.”

The Proms at St Jude’s, which raises money for the North London Hospice and the Aspire project at Toynbee Hall, runs until Sunday, concluding with the Last Night of the Proms concert at St Jude-on-the-Hill.

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