BEWDLEY residents got into the stateside spirit at a festival celebrating all things American on the weekend.

The town became the second place in England, after the Royal Festival Hall, to feature the international award-winning trilogy of historical music documentaries 'American Epic' on the big screen.

To mark the occasion, the town took part in a range of events themed around American culture, from decorated shops, to a parade of classic cars.

Around the three films, broadcast on Friday and Saturday evenings, exhibitions and talks were held, including a Q & A session with the film's producer, Allison McGourty.

This was followed on Saturday afternoon by two lectures about record production and sound mastering from two of the biggest names in the industry – three times Grammy winner Andrew Scheps and mastering technology guru (including Tubular Bells) Simon Heyworth.

These lectures were followed by the final two “American Epic” film screenings, whilst the evening closed with a wonderful live music performance from Nashville based singer-songwriter Rod Picott, whose song's fit with the theme of the festival.

Out in the streets people could hear American music and American engines, whilst American food was available everywhere in the town’s eating establishments.

A parade of classic cars, led by a New York Police car, toured the town before they settled on the riverside where the crowds flocked all day to view them.

Opera singer Amy Hansen, standing at the top of the bell tower of St. Anne’s Church, enchanted the crowds with a combination of two traditional American spiritual numbers – “There’s A Man Going Round Taking Names” and “I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray”.

Throughout the afternoon there were performances from Jemski, an accomplished fire-eater amongst her many talents as a performance artiste, and Ellie, a circus performer who kept everybody entertained. More parades followed with Indian motor-cycles, followed later by Harley Davidson riders. T

hey all joined the display of classic cars riverside.

More music was performed throughout the town and throughout the day by Worcester and Kidderminster Ukelele Bands, The Dharma Bums, Bryn Teeling, Ben Webb, Bewdley Chorus Lite and Bewdley Concert Band.

This year’s main Bewdley Festival opens on Friday in the Festival Theatre at Mercure Bewdley Heath Hotel featuring Eliza & Martin Carthy, with Friends, presenting their new unique work 'East'.

Tickets are available for this event and more via