A FREE French themed festival is returning to Reading this July.

Bastille Reading will go ahead in 2021 after the event was cancelled for the first time last year due to Covid.

Organisers of the free, two-day, family festival at the Forbury Gardens say they will ensure the necessary safety procedures are adopted to enable it to take place.

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After last year’s cancellation, organisers turned their attention to registering it as a charity, which was confirmed earlier this year so the 2021 event, on the weekend of July 10 and 11, will be its first under charitable status.

Another new feature will be a French market offering delicacies such as crepes, cheese, croissants, bread, wines and meats as well as soaps, prints and more.

And, in the year Bastille Reading coincides with the 900th anniversary of Reading Abbey, organisers have discovered the first abbot at the Abbey was French.

Hugh of Amiens was transferred to Reading in 1125 and Bastille Reading is hoping the anniversary could be celebrated over the Bastille weekend.

Bastille Reading organiser and founder Vincent Valere said: “We understood why last year’s event could not go ahead but this year we are confident it will be safe and we are taking all necessary Covid safety measures.

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“We think this year could be really special because of the new charitable status which helps us attract sponsorship, the French market which will be a great addition, and we hope to find a way to celebrate the Abbey’s anniversary as well.”

Games, activities, street food and drink, along with the market will go on over the two days and there will be a programme of singing and dancing on stage including songs from Muriel Joiedevivre.