Jessie J and Proms at Warwick Castle

By Matthew Salisbury 18/07 Updated: 19/07 06:55

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Crowds enjoy the Jessie J gig on Friday night. Picture by Heart FM. (s)

WARWICK residents opening their windows over the weekend were treated to two very different styles of music as the outdoor concerts came to the castle.

Attracting some 20,000 music fans, pop diva Jessie J on the Friday and the full scale Last Night of the Proms on Saturday, were the latest offerings in what has become a popular event.

Fresh from the panel of TV's The Voice Jessie J brought a youthful crowd to their feet with a very winning combination of well-choreographed hit songs and off-the-cuff banter.

Behind the high-energy presentation and self-effacing charm, she also managed to show that she has a real talent – not a note out of place in an object lesson many from the welter of talent shows would do well to absorb.

Mud and rain seems to be the going rate for British festival goers, but few, from the wig-clad youngsters to the somewhat older would have let that spoil an excellent show.

Saturday's audience was altogether more family orientated with many ignoring the wet conditions to set up picnics ranging from the simple to the ostentatiously elaborate.

The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, under the exuberant baton of Jae Alexander, provided a popular programme ripped straight from the Classic FM schedules. Singers Sarah Ryan and Nicky Spence used considerable lung power (and the help of the vast stage speakers) to drive the listeners back into their deck chairs with a handful of opera arias and popular songs.

In keeping with the evening's support for military charities, the Military Wives took to the stage and there was a wartime theme to one section combining Walton with 633 Squadron as a vintage Spitfire patrolled the skies over the castle.

The inevitable soaking may have sent the crowd scurrying for their waterproofs but the gloomy clouds only made the flag-waving, anthem-singing finale more defiant.

The Last Night of the Proms has always done rampant patriotism well and the sight of thousands of Union Jacks stretching back up the hill to the castle shows that it's a bit of British eccentricity that's still firmly in favour these days.

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Soloist Nicky Spence took this picture on Saturday night, looking out across the castle crowds. (s)

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