The following appeared in the Western Daily Press on 12 May 2014
“A battle royale between what is widely regarded as the world capital of all things Jane Austen and an American upstart will ne waged this summer – over who can persuade the most people to dress up in Regency costume.
Bath’s Jane Austen Festival will have another stab at breaking their own Guinness World Record for ‘The Largest Gathering of People Dressed in Regency Costumes’ when this year’s event takes place in the Georgian city in September.
But before they even lace up their corsets and pull on their britches those uncouth colonials from the New World might well have taken the record.
A rival Jane Austen Festival is being organised by the Greater Louisville chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America. They have held an annual American Austen Festival in Louisville since 2007, and when they meet in July they will have the temerity to attempt to break the world record.
Bath’s record, achieved in 2009, currently stands at 409, but at least organisers of the Jane Austen Festival here have a couple of months to prepare if that figure is topped by the recently independent United States.
The festival director of Bath’s proper Jane Austen Festival, Jackie Herring, said she was ready for the challenge. “It will be fun to see what happens over the summer and I am sure any rivalry will all be in good humour,” she said adding a bit of fighting talk.
“Nonetheless, I would like to believe that whatever the outcome in July, come September we will still hold the record.”
The record attempt, which will take place at the Assembly Rooms in Bath on Saturday 13th September, is just one of the highlights of what organisers are calling the biggest festival yet in the event’s 14 year-history.
“After leaving the Assembly Rooms, participants will then take part in the Grand Regency Promenade – a spectacular costumed perambulation through the streets of Bath – making their way past many of the world heritage site’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Queen Square,” said Jane Austen museum’s David Lassman.
“The rest of the festival programme includes more than 90 events beginning with Jo Baker – the acclaimed author of Longbourn fame – on the first Friday and ending ten days later with a performance of hugely popular Austentatious.
“As usual, £1 from each Grand Promenade ticket sold will be donated to charity. This year proceed will go the Bath and District Branch of Multiple Sclerosis Society UK, in memory of Sue Le Blond, a former Jane Austen Centre and festival colleague who died last year.” he added.”
– article by Tristan Cork
To learn more about the festival in Bath go to the Jane Austen Centre’s website (http://www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk/)