Festival: First few words are missed

Hey all, I’m running Asterisk with Festival on a limited resource virtual machine running Ubuntu Lucid. I’ve got Festival working but it’s missing the first few words of each message. I think this may be because of CPU usage limitiations. Could this be true or should it run on very limited hardware?

The box is a KVM box with 3 CPU cores (Cheap 2010 desktop AMD 64 bit CPU) and a gig of RAM dedicated to it. In top the CPU usage of festival jumps up to 175% briefly at the start of the message.