The Fortnight of Festivities in Devizes, and other things…..

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about staging events since starting Devizine it’s that there’s more arranging than meets the eye. A lot of people wishing to put on small gigs and parties fall into this trap, you need to fill out a book the size of Lord of the Rings just to allow three mice to sing in a shoebox. It’s around this time of year we should bear this in mind, and tip our hats to all the organisers of DOCA, who labour endlessly to present us with an awesome fortnight of festival fun, most of it for free.

So, here’s what we know at Devizine Towers, some stuff we don’t, and some stuff completely unrelated. Firstly, there’s a printed full programme of events available for a mere two quid, find one and buy it. There’s so much I could say, but I’ve been asked to direct you to the programme, which is a fair shout as the money goes to supporting DOCA, and thankfully saves me some typing too! I type a lot these days, mostly with one finger.

DOCA kicks off on Sunday with Party in the Park, as usual in Hillworth Park. From midday until 5:30 there will be Real Ales at the CAMRA bar, bouncy slides and entertainment, and free craft workshops. This year DOCA invite all ages to join in working towards World War I installations, making paper cranes and poppies. The craft tent also will be making bees and butterflies, to bring with you to the carnival procession. All materials are provided, and completely free, but donations are greatly appreciated.

Live music comes from King Sized Slim, who replaces Ben & Sy in the printed programme. Fat roots boogie, and heavyweight acoustics, Toby Barelli has a reputation as a powerful performer. His punchy phrasing a rhythmical delivery, convert his vocals into an additional percussion instrument. There are elements of reggae, rap, American Indian and African beats and soul.

Acoustic duo Kelly Pullen and Alana Turnbull, known as KO, produce top quality hypnotic folk pop with masterful harmonies. It is said that each performance is full of smiles, stories and great songs, their soaring harmonies will make your hairs stand up, and their melodies will bring a lump to your throat.

Double nominees in the British Blues Awards, close-harmony, semi-acoustic piano-led wonder, Mumbo-Jumbo; three top Midlands singer/songwriters who produce an ‘Eclectic Acoustic’ sound that is all their own.

And lastly, but by no means leastly, Bristol’s brilliantly named Peanut Shuffle Club, eccentric sweet early jazz, designed for dancing. Led by the female vocals of Elly Hopkins and spirited gypsy guitar of Jay Singh, Peanut Shuffle Club breathe their own exuberant energy into hits from the 30s and 40s.

The park hosts a cafe serving snacks and hot drinks and has fully accessible toilet facilities, so bring a picnic, relax with great music, chilled-out family entertainment and welcome the start of the festival fortnight in style.

Here, read our preview article from back way back in April, it’ll inform you and lighten my load: but needless to say, you can rest Monday, but Tuesday it’s the ticket-only event, PanGottic presents ‘Long Shot,’ at the Corn Exchange.


Wednesday (22nd) is the Skittles Night at the Wyvern Club, and the Quiz Night at Southbroom School. Friday on the Green, a raw, anarchic and highly skilled My!Laika bring Popcorn Machine, and it’ll be showing through the festival, up until 27th August.

The blurb goes something along these lines; “In a post-apocalyptic universe, My!Laika unites four international artists who share an absurd and often Dadaistic sense of humour. The winners of the JTCE prize 2010 leave the realm of pure circus and venture into performance and music, creating a turbulent collage that has little in common with the current cliché which is circus. Their skills create bizarre theatrical situations and provoke a chaos of feelings; making audiences laugh when they should really cry and cry when they expect to laugh.”

The tag’s £12 for this, but have no fear, I know it all sounds a tad bizarre, but yours truly will be at the opening night, probably have to rub shoulders with real journalists, which isn’t as much fun as you may think, and I’ll have a full report on it for you to deicide first thing Saturday morning…ish…ly… or, at some point, promise. Friday though, if you’re not attending this; Wilton Sleeper are live at The Southgate Inn, free, and the Three Crowns has a Beer & Cider Festival.

DOCA rest Saturday 25th, but that’s no excuse for you: the afternoon sees Drew Bryant live in Vinyl Realm, and the evening grab a ticket fast for the Devizes Scooter Club have All That Soul at the Cons Club. If that’s not your thing, escape the town and get down to Larkin at The Owl, Bromham.

Now, let’s move onto Sunday the 26th, bank holiday, you know the score, you’ve done it before…. I’ll bet; it’s the Street Festival, on the Green and it continues at The Market Place on the Monday; consult the programme please, don’t let me get in trouble for telling you anymore! I will say I’m looking forward to some Balkan ska, or have I said too much already?

Don’t forget to look out for Dik and Adam, the Clowns of Coulrophobia, who have their own 75-minute show on the Tuesday at the Wharf, with slapstick, mime, puppetry, a LOT of cardboard and “disappointing” nudity.

We should also make you aware, there’s many a side stall and things occurring around the town, as well as the Market Place, I understand a cosier, local acoustic gathering will be happening at Vinyl Ream. That the Stealth Brew stand will be in full operation, and that’s about all I’ve got on this front to date, but DOCA do have a ticketed after party for the street festival, details on the site.


Other things are plentiful in town during the week, on Wednesday 29th the ongoing Summer Holiday Activities at Wiltshire Museum, where the theme is Pirates and the Sea. The Vaults has a Tapas Night, and never forget every Wednesday is Acoustic Jam Night at The Southgate, Devizes. Though, it is Confetti Battle and Colour Rush, if you like that sort of thing!

Also, completely unassociated with DOCA, Thursday 30th is the Mayor’s a Baby Show…… sorry, typo; The Mayor’s Baby Show (let’s see how many are still reading this!) Town Hall, 10am – 12:30. And it’s Open Mic down the Cellar Bar.


Friday (30th,) as if you’ve not had enough already, there’s Music on the Canal down at the Wharf, a DOCA event in association with the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust; from 6:30- 10 there’s live music and a bar, stalls and food.

That’s it, end of August! 1st September is a Saturday, and it’s Carnival! Which you could polish off with RedRoss At the Southgate Inn, or celebrate the opening of the Devizes Family Club at our Conservative Club with The George Formby Experience and Jayne Darling. Will it ever end you cry? Are you sorry you commented on social media or moaned to the man at the till in Icelands that “nothing ever happens in Devizes?”


Sunday 2nd September and DOCA’s fine fortnight of shows may come to an end; but the Devizes Town Band will play the Children’s Proms the Park at Hillworth!

For a small town like Devizes, I think this proves we are well and truly, still alive and kicking!




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