What’s new pussycat (doll)?

Round & About

festival

Festival season isn’t far away, and Henley Festival has just announced its line up for 2024

2024 has only just got its feet under the table and we’re already looking forward to basking in the sun, having a few cheeky ones, and having a proper knees-up in a field. That’s right, festival season is looming on the horizon like a glitter-filled, good-time cloud; which is preferable to the rain-filled, dark and pendulous kind that we’re used to. Obviously.

Henley Festival have wasted no time in announcing their headliners for this year’s event, and we have to say, it’s looking impressive already. Opening the festival is Pussycat Doll, Masked Singer panellist and Sunset Boulevard star, Nicole Scherzinger.  

Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart is set to captivate the Floating Stage audience with ‘Dave Stewart’s Eurythmics Songbook’. It’s been a full 41 years since the release of Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), so expect that particular tune to get an airing.

From one icon to another…the Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight will be heading to Henley on the Friday night, and sadly, it will be the final show of her UK Farewell Tour. At least we’ll have the chance to say goodbye to a genuine legend who, along with The Pips recorded some of the greatest music of the 20th Century.

As the sun goes down on Henley Festival’s Friday evening Rylan will be DJing and entertaining the crowd with a trademark larger-than-life performance! It doesn’t feel like 10 years since he lit up the ninth series of The X Factor, but apparently it is. He’s now one of the UK’s most loved broadcasters, and we’re always a bit partial to his appearances on Celebrity Goggle Box.

The House Gospel Choir is exactly what it sounds like: an exhilarating mix of Gospel and House. Worshipping at the altar of dance they find the place where spirituality and the euphoria of the dancefloor come together –  amped up further by a full house band and percussion from the one and only Dezy Bongo, creating an effortless live fusion of the biggest house and gospel tunes that never fails to raise the roof.

Keeping the rave going will be no problem on Saturday evening as Ministry of Sound Ibiza Anthems with Ellie Sax take to the Floating Stage presenting the anthems that have sound-tracked everyone’s most iconic Ibiza moments.

Also confirmed for this year are classical music’s most famous Aston Villa fan Nigel Kennedy and the king of lockdown cover versions Sam Ryder. With some top names gracing the comedy stage (Mark Watson, Sara Pascoe, and Dara Ó Briain) Henley Festival is shaping up to be one of the highlights of the summer.

You can get tickets here.

Mucky Weekender out of this world

Liz Nicholls

festival

All the stars aligned to make Mucky Weekender the best small festival on Planet Earth this summer…

A short time ago (last weekend) in a galaxy not very far away… the stars of jungle, dub and more came out to shine.

Four thousand rockers and ravers took off from Vicarage Farm near Winchester on a two-day mission to explore Mucky Weekender created by intrepid Dub Pistols frontman Barry Ashworth.

And this summer’s highlight did not disappoint with four star-spangled stages for 2023. As promised, The USS Seanie T spaceship boldy went where no MC had gone before, and the Crazy Diamonds Club Stage dazzled bright. Leeroy Thornhill (ex Prodigy) and DJ Format were two of the many highlights blowing minds at The Shack while The Ashworth Mad House provided the perfect base for astronomical sets from Goldie MBE, Charlie Tee, Stereo MCs, general Levy, Krafty Kuts, Bez’s Acid House and many many more.

This was my first trip to Mucky Weekender, and the fourth event spreading the love thanks to hedonist and helper Barry, who is patron of Tonic Music for Mental Health who offer free support and recovery programmes for the vulnerable people within the music and arts community.

The intimate capacity crowd of all ages, roaming a stunning 28 acres of private parkland, make for a community feel, with great vibes and everyone taking care of each other – especially important on this scorcher of an end-of-summer weekend.

Top marks must also go to the weird and wonderful creatives who added their own sprinkles of spacedust, such as Jethro & Tom with their sonic instrument experience in The Stump. Also, everyone who got involved with this year’s intergalactic theme outdid themselves, with outfits and props of stellar proportions.

If any of this means anything to you, and you miss the old days and spirit of drum and bass, Mucky is for you. Coming back to reality might be a bumpy landing, and your legs might not work the same way for a couple of days afterwards, but this is a price worth paying to leave the home planet for a few days.

Next year’s shindig will have a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party there, so make yourself a brew, happy recovery and hope to see you next September!

Star Q&A: Bez mates!

Liz Nicholls

festival

Maracas player, party animal & dad Mark Berry, AKA Bez, 59, shares his thoughts on music & life 

Q. Who was your hero growing up? And now?

“George Best, and when I got a pair of his boots I was so excited I thought I was playing for Manchester United myself! And now it has to be my lovely wife Firouzeh.”

Q. What’s your first memory of music?

“Listening on my uncle’s headphones to The Beatles and wondered how adults enjoyed the music as at the time I thought it was for children.”

Q. What’s your best festival memory, and why?

“The year The Happy Mondays headlined Glastonbury – we took our own laminating machine and printed so many passes for all of our friends backstage, it looked almost as busy as it was out the front of the stage.”

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Lowde & proud festival fun!

Round & About

festival

Lowde Fest offers music from bands big & small and much more fun at Hazeley Bottom on Saturday, 1st July

Are you looking for the best festival to attend this summer? Wanting that Glastonbury experience at a more affordable expenditure…? Then look no further as Lowde Fest is back on 1st July!

Taking place at Hazeley Bottom Farm in Hampshire with the best summer vibes, lively music and a full day of entertainment, Lowde Fest brings a two-stage twist to not only have the latest big acts but a new wave of talent too. Dome stage will pay homage to some of the world’s biggest and best bands/performers and the Keith Bennet stage will provide a key platform for upcoming talent. Some of which include Kerry Goodhind, who has previously featured by BBC Introducing and is now working on a new EP, and singer-songwriter Louis Coupe whose previous highlights include performances at Radio 1’s Big Weekend and the Royal Albert Hall.

On top of the Glastonbury vibes, Lowde Fest also focuses on giving back to the kids through music by fundraising for the continued use of music to improve the well-being of young people. The festival is the vision of founder Martin Lowde after the passing of his father, Lowde Fest is an important opportunity to support the work of the Lowde Music Trust, which champions Music for Good.

Martin says: “We founded Lowde Fest on a very simple premise, we wanted to give people in and around Hartley Wintney and Hook a fantastic, affordable day out in a safe space, with professional entertainment standards.”

To add to the music, families and friends can also enjoy the funfair catered for all ages (subject to each ride). Rides and attractions include the dodgems, gravity ride, flying plane, face painting and the kids zone. Want to stop for a bite to eat? Well, the selection of food and drinks from all over the world will keep your hunger and thirst quenched during the day. If you’re looking to take your Lowde family day out experience further, Lowde offers opportunities for camping too.

Make the most of your summer with Lowde Fest, the perfect Glastonbury alternative. Buy your tickets at lowdefest.com & under-fives go free.

Star Q&A: Kim Wilde

Liz Nicholls

festival

Kim Wilde chats to Liz Nicholls about performing at Heritage Live, alongside Boy George, Lulu, Gabrielle & more, including Ardingly on Saturday, 16th July and Englefield House on Saturday, 23rd July.

Q. Hello Kim – where are you chatting from right now? “From home. I’ve got a beautiful garden – it should be after the inordinate time I’ve spent on it! Everything that could be out is out looking amazing. Because of my experience and because of my love of flowers I’ve got lots more flowers to look forward to later in the summer. I don’t have a favourite flower but I have a real soft spot for roses – we called our daughter Rose.”

Q. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Heritage Live. How does it feel to be out on tour again? “Great! I think top of the list of things people really missed over the pandemic was live music; getting together with a crowd of like-minded souls and singing their heart out. Music has a great way of bringing people together in a beautiful way. It does a much better job than most other things in achieving that. I’ve already been doing quite a few gigs and the atmosphere has been noticeably ecstatic. Not just because they’re coming to see me – haha – but we’re all so excited to be back together. These are great days to be a live musician.”

Q. Your dad Marty is on tour right now – do you still enjoy going on stage with him? “Yes! I’ve been hitching a lift in the back of his car, jumping on stage for a few numbers, I just love it! I’ll continue to do that if I’m not working. It’s fantastic being on stage with my dad – his voice is still amazing and his ability to perform is astonishing for his years [83]. I think keeping going, doing what you love keeps you young. He’s no gym bunny, my dad, but he does a lot of golf, a lot of walking, always has done. He doesn’t smoke any more, and he drinks very moderately. I think it’s in the genes.”

Q. Yes – your whole family, including your children, all have musical genes? “It has definitely descended through the generations. Not just in my family but my brother’s family and sister’s family, so it seems to be in the blood.”

Q. Do you have a rider? “I do but I’m very easy to look after before a gig. I don’t really eat much – maybe a few sweeties but I don’t ask anyone to take out different colours for me and I don’t drink alcohol.”

Q. Is it nice to hang out with your old mate Boy George, who is also starring? “It’s great. We’ve done a lot of things together over the years – all kinds of TV and concerts and benefits – we have a real shared history. We recorded a song together which went on my greatest hits album called Shine On. So yeah I can’t wait to see him again. He’s a wonderful person to be around.”

Q. What is it about 1980s music that is so popular – even with younger people now? “It’s very eclectic, you know? Everything was in the 1980s – it wasn’t just sharp haircuts, shoulder pads and synthesisers – there was a lot of prog rock, rock soul, disco, R&B. All kinds of different grooves all happening in parallel. There was something for everybody and it all came under that beautiful umbrella that we call pop.”

Q. What new artists do you like? “I’m listening a lot to Lizzo, really enjoying what she does and how she’s doing it. Thomas Paul, too; I did a bit of work with him over lockdown on his first album Black Country Disco which is awesome! I went to his album launch for Life In Plastic the other night at the Vauxhall Tavern which was fantastic.”

Q. What’s your first memory of music? “I was born in 1960 and the first memories I can trace back are ’67 & ’68 when I was seven and eight. The Beatles – listening to Penny Lane in the back of the car, while my dad was driving us up to Liverpool to see my nan. I remember Cilla Black Anyone Who Had A Heart and Richard Harris MacArthur Park and Gene Pitney 24 Hours from Tulsa. All these beautiful epic songs.”

Q. Thanks Kim we can’t wait to see you. “Thank you! And may I just say that anyone who misses these shows can come to my Pop Won’t Stop Greatest Hits Tour in September when I’ll be up and down the country. There’s a lot of sadness and there are terrible things in the world right now, but there’s a lot of beauty too, so don’t think it’s wrong to focus on that.”

Visit heritagelive.net & kimwilde.com

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Star Q&A: James Blunt

Liz Nicholls

festival

Musician & dad James Blunt, 48, chats to Liz Nicholls ahead of his performances at Cornbury & more festivals this summer…

Q. What’s your first memory of music? “My parents wouldn’t allow music at home. Even nursery rhymes were banned. My sister and I would whisper the melody to American Pie through the bars of our bunk bed.”

Q. Thank you for championing the great British boozer! What’s the recipe for a perfect pub? “A fire burning in the corner, You’re Beautiful playing on the jukebox, and me pulling pints behind the bar. You can find all of this at The Fox & Pheasant in Chelsea.”

Q. We love your acerbic humour on social media. Did the Army sharpen this skill? “I was sent to an all-boys’ boarding school when I was seven and yes, the Army then removed any last bits of emotion.”

Q. How do you feel about the return of get-togethers & festivals this year? “Get-togethers in the Cotswolds never stopped, I’m told… But the return of festivals is very exciting. I’ve missed the energy of lots of people coming together.”

Q. What’s your essential piece of festival kit? “A car battery for the fridge.”

Q. What’s your stand-out festival moment? “I’ve played Glastonbury three times, the Pyramid Stage twice. The second time, I crowdsurfed, and when I returned, discovered the stage was too high for me to climb on to. There was a man I didn’t recognise on stage, so I started shouting at him to help me, then realised he was holding a camera, filming for the BBC, so I was basically shouting ‘HELP ME!’ to the nation. It was this moment I realised I was the least cool person in the music business.”

Q. Who on the summer festival bill are you looking forward to seeing? “The Darkness! I toured with them round Australia and Japan in about 2006, and they are GREAT fun.”

Q. What’s your favourite book, film & piece of music? “Book: The Snail and The Whale. The film Up! – the first seven minutes reduced me to tears. I love Chill Out by The KLF. It’s just a beautiful journey round America told by two Scotsmen using borrowed sound effects.”

Q. How was lockdown for you? “I was very lucky to be able to go home and spend time with my family. I learnt how to use a chainsaw, and defend my house from a gang of thieves who tried to rob me three times.”

Q. Any unsung hero musician who deserves the spotlight? “I think I’m quite underrated.”

Q. What lesson did parenthood teach you? “Go on tour for at least the first nine months.”

Q. If you could make one wish, what would it be? “That humans would make the changes necessary to curb our impact on the planet, because if we don’t, we’re going to be f***ed much faster than we think. I spend time in the mountains, and have seen the glaciers shrink over the years, and I live in the Mediterranean and there are very few fish left in the sea.”

Visit cornbury festival.com & jamesblunt.com

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Festival fun for all

Liz Nicholls

festival

Festivals are back on! Yes, after two fretful years of disrupted fun & frolics, there’s a summer sizzler of festivals ready to rock your world, whatever you’re into… writes Liz Nicholls

Close your eyes and imagine you’re in your happy place… Maybe you and your tots are wafting amid rainbow bubbles, singing along to Justin Fletcher, deluxe doughnut in hand? Are you waiting for the bass to drop beneath the strobe lights as the stage is set for Pete Tong or Orbital? Supping a craft ale getting crafty on your village green? Getting grimy at Reading..? We all have different ideas of a good time.

Whatever your jam, there’s a festival for you.

The excitement among musicians, as well as everyone involved in the festival scene, is palpable

Ronan Keating, who stars at this year’s Cornbury, tells us: “It’s just great to be back on stage with my band again. After the last couple of years I think everyone feels a huge sigh of relief that we can all get back together again to do something we truly love. I was due to perform at Cornbury in 2020 but understandably everything had to be moved. It’s a great line-up with Bryan Adams, James Blunt and then me on the Sunday. I was lucky to be able to release two albums during the pandemic, Twenty Twenty and Songs From Home.

“It will be great to be back on stage and play some of the new tracks along with all the hits from my solo years as well as a few of the great Boyzone hits that everyone loves. I’m still loving being live on Magic Radio every week day morning, along with Harriet Scott, and you’ll still be able to see me each week on the sofa co-hosting The  One Show. I feel very lucky to be in people’s homes across the UK each day on TV and radio but finally  being back on stage is the thing that’s making this year so special.”

Kaleidoscope – credit Lloyd Winters

So, here’s a round-up of the big & small gems which are all set to dazzle between now & the end of summer…

The Investec International Music Festival celebrates composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ 150th birthday and strong local connections with world-class concerts, walks and talks across the Surrey Hills, 5th-14th May. Featuring Sitkovetsky Trio at Charterhouse in Godalming, Modigliani Quartet & cellist Gary Hoffman with Wu Qian at Cobham’s Menuhin Hall, and clarinettist Michael Collins with an all-star chamber ensemble at RHS Garden Wisley. Please visit iimf.co.uk

Cookham Festival in Bucks is a celebration of the arts by the village for the village, 6th to 22nd May. You can enjoy music, spoken word, workshops, kids’ fun, sculpture & more; visit cookhamfestival.co.uk

Are You Listening? Alfie Templeman, Pip Blom, Pixey & dozens more will rock Reading in aid of Mencap on 7th May; areyoulistening.org.uk. And there are classical delights aplenty at Newbury Spring Festival, 7th-21st May; newburyspringfestival.org.uk

Join beloved local legend Tom Kerridge & his foodie friends for Pub In The Park Marlow, 12th-15th May, for Rag’n’Bone Man, Sister Sledge, Sophie Ellis-Bextor & lots more talent; pubintheparkuk.com. And if you love the 1980s, Let’s Rock the Moor in Cookham on 21st May offers Wet Wet Wet, Squeeze, The Selecter, Jason Donovan, Sonique & more; letsrockthemoor.com

Family & planet-friendly WOOD returns to Ipsden near Wallingford, 20th-22nd May; woodfestival.com

Amesbury Arts Festival has two performances open to the public: Scouting for Girls, Indie-pop, 25th May, 7.30pm, and live stand-up comedy from Iain Stirling on 26th May, 7.30pm. Both be held in the school’s magnificent grounds in Hindhead. But tickets via EventBrite, visit amesburyschool.co.uk/artsfestival2022

Celebrate Britain’s rich musical heritage

The 15th English Music Festival at Dorchester Abbey, 27th-29th May, stars Coleridge-Taylor’s Violin Concerto, Holst’s The Cloud Messenger, Vaughan Williams’s Willow Wood sung by Roderick Williams; a song showcase by Havergal Brian; and A Garland for the Queen, commissioned specially for the Jubilee. englishmusicfestival.org.uk

“Probably the finest free music and beer festival in the world…” Rokefest will rock The Home Sweet Home in the glorious Oxfordshire countryside, 27th-29th May, starring Bottle Kids, The Skandal, the MFU & more, all for great causes; rokefest.com

Among the many festivals DJ Yoda, AKA Duncan Beiny, will perform at this year is the fabulous Great Estate in Cornwall, 2nd-5th June which also stars Manic Street Preachers, Electric Six, The Sugarhill Gang and more; greatestatefestival.co.uk. The turntablist is looking forward to this summer…. “Oh god I’m champing at the bit!” he says. “If anything I feel a bit nervous about it.  I’m even seriously getting myself in physical shape for it with diet and exercise. The pandemic ruled travel out for ages which was grim for me; I’m looking forward to getting to New York, Austria, Portugal, Ireland. Kaleidoscope festival at Ally Pally is near where I grew up so I’ll see a lot of old friends, that will be really special for me. Musically there’s Mostly Jazz in Birmingham [8th-10th July; mostlyjazz.co.uk]. Standon Calling [Hertfordshire, 21st-24th July; standon-calling.com] is always good, Y Not? is always good… [Derbyshire, 29th-31st July; ynotfestival.com]. It’s going to be week-in, week-out party times. As a DJ I’m constantly checking out new artists. My favourite rappers at the moment are Roc Marciano and Your Old Droog and I really rate the singer Grace Lightman. I love seeing other acts at festivals so this quest lives in my head very much, I can’t wait!”

Jubilee joy awaits at Shynefest at Merrist Wood College in Worplesdon, on 3rd & 4th June. The Lightning Seeds top the live music bill & you’ll find bucketloads of family-friendly fun such as escape room games & animal encounters, food, plus there are camping & glamping options; shynefest.uk

Enjoy a folk, doo-wop & jive weekend at the Fleur De Lys in East Hagbourne near Didcot, 3rd-5th June; thefleurdelyspub.co.uk

And Wychwood Festival will rock Cheltenham racecourse, 3rd-5th June, with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Levellers, Boney M, comedy, a kids’ lit fest, headphone disco & idyllic camping beneath the Prestbury Hills; wychwoodfestival.com

Hampton Court Palace Festival offers legends including Elbow, George Benson, Jack Savoretti, Ministry of Sound classical mash-ups, The Human League, Crowded House, Michael Ball & Alfie Boe, 8th-16th June. With Fortnum & Mason picnics & bouji hospitality packages, this is a classy affair… hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com for all you need to know.

Richard Dawkins (on defying gravity), Delia Smith, Jarvis Cocker, David Miliband, William Dalrymple & David Olusoga are some of the mind-expanding stars at KITE, a new festival of ideas & music in Kirtlington, near Oxford, 10th-12th June, with Grace Jones, no less, topping the music bill! kitefestival.co.uk

All hail the return of The Isle of Wight Festival!

The iconic shindig just over the Solent stars Lewis Capaldi, Madness, Nile & Chic, Kasabian, Pete Tong, Muse & more, 16th-19th June. isleofwightfestival.com

Blenheim Palace is the superb backdrop for the Nocturne Live performances from the likes of David Gray, Lionel Richie, Simply Red, Simple Minds & UB40 starring Ali Astro, 16th-19th June; nocturnelive.com

Beacon Festival returns to raise funds and spirits in Watlington on 17th & 18th June, with a Queen tribute, Noble Jack, Kioko, Fontana, SkaSouls UK, Chic to Chic and lots more across four stages. Over the last decade the eco-friendly festival with a free shuttle bus & camping has raised more than £25,500 for local charities; beaconfestival.net

We can’t not mention Glastonbury in a festivals special… If you’re lucky enough to have bagged a golden ticket, at the end of June, you can enjoy Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, Diana Ross and legions more… If not, watch from the sofa!

Fancy a little opera? After wowing thousands since 2018, Scherzo Ensemble return to Longhope Opera in Newton Valence, near Alton, 2nd & Sunday, 3rd July, to perform L’elisir d’Amore by Donizetti. longhopesummeropera.com

A$AP Rocky & Tyler, the Creator star at Wireless Crystal Palace, 1st to 3rd July and Cardi B & Nicki Minaj at Finsbury Park (8th-10th July); wirelessfestival.co.uk. And BST Hyde Park is the glorious setting, 24th June to 10th July, for Pearl Jam, Robert Plant, Pixies, Stereophonics, Rolling Stones & more, bst-hydepark.com

Haslemere Fringe Festival, 1st-3rd July, has music, comedy, dance and more, 1st to 3rd July. Sleeper, Sophie Ellis-Bextor & The Feeling will star, along with so many more stars, at this community highlight with heart; haslemerefringe.co.uk

A trip to Devon is always a mood-booster

Powderham Castle near Exeter is the suitably stunning setting, on Sunday, 3rd July, for A Perfect Day. The line-up will include our former cover star & crush David Gray performing his White Ladder 20th anniversary Show, James Morrison, Tom Odell, Gabrielle, The Shires & Wildwood Kin; aperfectdayfestival.com

Morcheeba, Sugar Hill Gang, Badly Drawn Boy, DJ Format & many more will dazzle at Readipop in Caversham, 8th-10th July. Established in 1998, party while helping vulnerable young people and older folk, as well as aspiring artists; readipop.co.uk

Hugh Phillimore has confirmed that it’s officially the final Cornbury (sniff) at The Great Tew Park, 8th-10th July. And it’s a fittingly great line-up starring Bryan Adams, James Blunt, the aforementioned Ronan Keating, The Darkness, The Magic Numbers & many more; cornburyfestival.com

And if you’ve got a ticket to sold-out “Godfather of the small festival scene,” Truck in Steventon enjoy Sam Fender, Blossoms, Kelis, Black Honey & more; see truckfestival.com for resales.

Pete Tong, Craig David, Katherine Jenkins, Jack Savoretti & Tom Jones are among the legends at the smart riverside Henley Festival 6th-10th July; henley-festival.co.uk. Get your glad rags on!

Henley Festival

Our very witty cover star James Blunt will star, alongside Cameo, the Specials, Human League & more at the stunning Rochester Castle Concerts in Kent 6th-9th July; rochestercastleconcerts.com

Reef, The Hoosiers, the Leylines & Dodgy will star at Fi.Fest in Maidenhead on 9th July; fifest.co.uk. And arrive thristy for Twyford Beer Festival, which is alweays fun, and raises money for male cancer charity Orchid, 10th & 11th July; twyfordbeerfest.co.uk

On 16th July head to Newbury to enjoy Weatherby’s Super Sprint Day & Party in the Paddock with the one and only Craig David; newburyracecourse.co.uk

Set within the stunning Henham Park in Suffolk, let your curiosity guide you at Latitude, 21st to 24th July. This East Anglian wonderland offers great music, dance, comedy, poetry, theatre, literature, family fun and wellness such as wild swimming and paddleboarding. This year’s line-up includes Foals, Groove Armada, Fontaines DC & many more; latitudefestival.com

Pennfest near Beaconsfield is one of our favourites here at Round & About Towers The funfest on 22nd & 23rd July has another banging line-up to rev up the Bucks countryside, including Clean Bandit, Sugar Hill Gang, Rudimental, Grandmaster Flash, Shola Ama, The Hoosiers & more; pennfest.net.

Enter our competition to win Pennfest tickets!

Kaleidoscope lands at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, 23rd July, with Orbital, Happy Mondays, Dom Joly, a circus, theatre & more… And Patty Smith will star, alongside Nadine Shah, at Higher Ground, also at Ally Pally on 24th July; higherground.london

Beloved Berkshire beauty Marvellous will offer mighty more tribute acts & fun, 23rd & 24th July in Hurst; marvellousfestivals.com.

WOMAD letters – credit Brenna Duncan

WOMAD, the World of Music, Arts and Dance Music festival, returns to delight Charlton Park near Marlborough, 28th-31st July. Kae Tempest, A Certain Ratio, The Dhol Foundation, Greentea Peng & Nitin Sawhney will star; womad.co.uk

Curated by Josie & Rob Da Bank, Camp Bestival at Dorset’s Lulworth Castle. This year’s line-up includes Rag ‘n’Bone Man, Rudimental, Earth, WInd & Fire, Example, a DJ set from Faithless, Mr Tumble, spas, workshop, and lots of family fun, 28th-31st July; dorset.campbestival.net

Cornbury Park is the wondrous setting for the thrilling Wilderness Festival, 4th-7th August. Wellbeing, theatre, thought-provoking workshops and more will keep you stimulated, and Underworld, Years & Years and Roisin Murphy are some of the gems on the musical line-up; wildernessfestival.com

The brilliantly bonkers Boomtown Fair team are building the Main City for a revitalised living theatre festival on the theme of The Gathering, 10th-14th August in Hampshire’s Matterley Estate, boomtownfair.co.uk

Enjoy wings, wheels and steam with your bands with Retrofestival in Newbury, 12th-14th August; retrofestival.co.uk

Billy Ocean, Cast, Del Amitri, Stereo MCs & The Christians will star at Weyfest, the boutique festival held in Tilford near Farnham since 2007. This year’s family-friendly highlight 19th-21st August will rock The Rural Life Museum, with dancing Daleks, Laserquest, “posh loos” & great food; weyfest.co.uk

Stowaway Festival

Another Bucks beauty, Stowaway near Buckingham will star Orbital, a DJ set from Quantic, Norman Jay, Erol Alkan, The Staves, Roni Size & more, 19th-21st August; stowawayfestival.co.uk.

Enter our competition to win Stowaway tickets!

And Rewind South in Henley 19th-21st August will star Holly Johnson, Kim Wilde, The Human League and Pat Sharp; south.rewindfestival.com

Reading (& Leeds) is back to rock the August bank holiday. Arctic Monkeys, Dave, Rage Against The Machine, Megan Thee Stallion, Joy Crookes, Run the Jewels, Griff, Pale Waves & Wolf Alice star; readingfestival.com/tickets

Still rocking near Thame after 58 fun-filled years, Towersey Festival brings you comedy, music & fun, 26th-29th August; towerseyfestival.com

Love cars, love music? Then you’ll love cinch presents CarFest, the family music & motoring festival founded by Chris Evans in 2011, that raises fun levels and funds for children’s charities. Catch Paloma Faith, Rag’n’Bone Man, Kaiser Chiefs, Steps & so many more at Laverstoke Park, 26th-28th August, carfest.org

Finally, 2nd-4th September, community favourite Bunkfest in Wallingford will serve up its beloved brew of music, dance & beer; bunkfest.co.uk

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Star Q&A: Toyah Willcox

Liz Nicholls

festival

Musician Toyah Willcox, who turns 64 this month, shares her excitement for a summer of festivals, including Let’s Rock where she is set to star…

Hello! Given the past two years, do you think 2022 could be the most joyous ever? “2022 will be joyous – the artists have missed the audience and the audience have missed the artists. It’s going to be one big party. Let’s Rock is very special because not only are there back-to-back acts all day who are brilliant and iconic, but also the atmosphere is so friendly and family-orientated. You can look out over an audience and sometimes see three generations of the same family. They are a joyous community with one thing in common – they all love the 1980s! I love performing with the Let’s Rock band (sensationally good musicians). We also get to see the friends we’ve been performing with for decades… for 40 years.”

Q. Are there any other performers you’re looking forward to seeing? “I always end up on the same plane and same hotel as Chesney Hawkes, all over the world… Somehow fate brings us together and we have a scream. Chesney lives in the States, I live in the UK, but we walk into the same room in the oddest places and say ‘What are you doing here?!”’

Q. Which musician, living or dead, would you most like to see perform? “Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Tim Buckley, Robert Plant (with me) and Talk Talk.”

Q. What is your strongest memory of appearing on Top Of The Pops? “Top Of The Pops was an event, every time. It’s a show I used to watch with my family and to be on it was an honour. On my first appearance there was a mini disaster when my costume didn’t arrive and I had to wear a dress I bought as a back-up. Ironically, I think it made me more approachable to the Top Of The Pops audience – less confrontational, image-wise.”

Q. Have you kept any souvenirs from the 1980s? “I have warehouses full of every on-stage costume/every acting costume I’ve ever worn, as well as every photoshoot. They are my life, a life I am immensely proud of.”

Q. What other plans do you have for 2022? “I have three sold-out tours this year, including Toyah & Lene Lovich’s Electric Ladies UK tour in June, followed by the Toyah Anthem Tour in autumn to celebrate of the re-release of my 1981 platinum album Anthem. I will also be making two albums – a reimagining of my 2019 album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, whilst the second album will be recorded in September and is the follow-up to my 2021 no.1. album, Posh Pop. In the last two years I’ve had four Top 10 albums – Posh Pop out-sold Queen, Metallica and Justin Timberlake in its first week.”

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Beacon Hill Beer Festival is back!

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festival

After two years the popular beer festival returns to Hindhead Royal British Legion Club with an amazing array of beers for you to enjoy

Get a head start on the Platinum Jubilee celebrations by sampling a selection of beers themed around the occasion, as well as a selection of British ciders, and a handful of international lagers as part of the Beacon Hill Beer Festival.

On Friday 13th May from 5pm we will be open to everyone to kick off the celebrations with live music from The Bierkeller Boys, a Bavarian Oompah band who are ready to get everyone on their feet with plenty of clapping, swaying and thigh slapping.

Saturday 14th won’t be any less exciting! Organizers say: “We open at 1pm for an afternoon of beer, lager and cider tasting. Shortly followed by what is sure to be a fiery FA Cup Final with Liverpool vs Chelsea on our big screen, with Liverpool aiming to become the first English team to win the quadruple, so we are sure to be in for an exciting game before we get right into the evening. There will be live music from The Noize to get us up on that dance floor for the night.”

An incredible weekend awaits at Hindhead Royal British Legion, Beacon Hill Road, Hindhead, GU26 6QB with a variety of breweries already lined up to take part:

Breweries:

Brolly Brewery

Crafty Brewery

Greene King

Longdog Brewery

Siren Craft Brewery

Surrey Hills Brewery

TripleFFF

Windsor & Eton Brewery

Elusive Brewery

Flack Brewery

Ciders supplied by:

Hogs Back Brewery

Mr Whiteheads Cider Co

Lagers from around the world:

Kirin (Japan); Pacifico Clara (Mexico); Moosehead (Canada); Sagres Export (Portugal), and Tusker (Kenya).

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New Guildford Festival – ShyneFest

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Family-friendly, live music festival with kids activities, entertainment, camping, glamping, silent disco, bars, food stalls, escape rooms, animal encounters and loads more!

Join ShyneFest on the 3rd – 4th June at their new venue, Merrist Wood, for a weekend of live music from Lightning Seeds, Jesus Jones, The Farleys and loads more, including top tribute band Guns2Roses!

Upgrade to boutique glamping tents for proper luxurious camping, have a kickabout, play giant chess, enjoy some rides, eat delicious food and have a cocktail or a pint from one of their bars.

This will be their 5th year and it is going to be the biggest and best yet!

See the lineup

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