Unmissable Gigs for August in our Local Area

Way to go Augustus Gloop, fell in to the river of chocolate. I like to think August was named after him, and when it comes around, we should all go jump in a chocolate river; c’mon, be something to do.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a local event in the climatic summer month offering such an attraction, but there is a truckload of gigs to keep you from getting sucked up a pipe and carried off the boiler room of boredom. Personally, when it comes to Dahl’s gluttonous stereotype characters, I’m more of a Bruce Bogtrotter kind of guy anyway, and strive to me more like him every day.

Enough waffling, here’s our recommendations for said truckload. Note our website is updated all the time, so please keep up. This article, also, is dedicated to gigs, Devizine lists all events on our calendar, if you’re looking for stuff to do with the kids this summer hols, see here.

Week 1: Thursday 1st- Sunday 4th

Swindon’s lo-fi flour power dream pop duo, Illustrations have their debut album “Make Fun” launch at the Vic in Swindon on the first of the month; free entry with Sister Bliss, Zero Gravity and Tea Ceremony as support. Prime music haven, The Vic, for the following night, Friday, sees Sheer Music team up with Brandit to present London-based Familiar Spirit, Rugby’s War, Immerse from Bristol and Swindon hardcore bands Heriot and Homeland. If Hardcore rock isn’t for you, Shaw Village Inn has our friends People Like Us.

Meanwhile, loads on in Salisbury for their Pride festivities. Devizes Southgate has the one and only Jamie R Hawkins, who comes with homegrown super-team Phil Cooper, Tamsin Quin, Vince Bell and Pat Ward; thoroughly Devizes, thoroughly recommended. After my visit back to the regenerated Barge at Honeystreet, there’s galloping, gypsy, boat-folk, Calico Jack, on Friday. If that doesn’t grab you by the mooring post, Saturday 3rd sees reggae steppers, The Urban Lions launching an album down there with a live set and their Lionheart Vibration sound system as backup. It’s free, worth camping for £8.

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Always entertaining classic blues trio, Lix n Stix are down the Southgate on the first Saturday, old skool punker, Shaggy Rickenbacker is at Aldbourne SSC, there’s country blues with Marland fav, Steve Morano at The Wellesley Arms in Sutton Benger, The Liabilities AD & Tenplusone & Das Ghoul Bradford’s Three Horseshoes and the fabulous Kirsty Clinch plays The Prestbury Sports Bar, Warminster.

Those Three Crowns is the place to head Sunday 4th, Devizons, People Like Us will be there, hosting an afternoon for Julia’s House, with contemporary local hero guests, Tamsin and Vince. The Mike Hoddinott Blues All-stars are playing The Three Horseshoes in Bradford.

Week 2: Monday 5th- Sunday 11th

Of course, lucky Boomtown campers will start to arrive in the following week, but for the rest of us, Vinyl Realm has their regular Wednesday Vinyl Listening Night at The Lamb and there’s Open Mic at The New Inn, Semington. Thursday, head for the Cellar Bar, Devizes, where George Wilding plays a special gig in aid of Liam’s campaign. Read Liam’s story here, and please, it’s three quid on the door, guys; see you there.

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Friday 9th is the start of Marlborough Rising with Tony O’Malley Band & Little Geneva at the Town Hall and A Musical Jukebox @ St Mary’s. Meanwhile, Absolute Blondie are at The Swiss Chalet, Swindon.

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“Cosmic Blues featuring broken guitars, shamanic percussion and whisky soaked original songs of salvation, damnation, lost dreams, hope and love,” is the strapline for The Bone Chapel who’ll be at the Southgate on Saturday 10th, and Devizes also has mini-fest at the Cavalier Community Hall. Times Square fires up a barbie, with profits from £10 tickets going to the Devizes & District Opportunity Centre, it’s a varied line-up for a great cause. 1pm – ukulele band, Demugpugs, 2pm – Sound Affects, 5pm – Beautiful Trauma – Tribute to P!NK, 8pm – The Stories, 9pm – The Blue Rose Band, 10pm – No Middle Ground Band with a disco to end.

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People Like Us play The Owl, and further down the road, the Lansdowne Arms at Derry Hill have a Caribbean and reggae festival, promising live music but just who seems to be secret! Marlborough Rising has a Rising Talent contest and George Wilding supports Echotape at the Town Hall. Swindon’s turn to have a Pride festival that weekend, The Wurzels are Back on The Farm near Salisbury and there’s always the Radford Mill Farm Rhythm and Blues Festival near Bath, I think Ruzz will be there.

If July’s Sunday jaunt at Hillworth for Fantasy Radio wasn’t enough for you, they’re back for a Lark in the Park Sunday 11th. Again though, exactly what happens is an online mystery. Definitely though, Sunday assembly at the Southgate comes from former Katrina & The Waves guitarist Kimberley Rew, and his wife Lee Cave-Berry accompanying him on bass. Here’s hoping Devizes will be walking on sunshine (he wrote that.) And George Hinchliffe’s Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain sees the Marlborough Rising finale at the Memorial Hall. If in Calne though, The Jenny Wren’s jam session may suit.

Week 3: Monday 12th – Sunday 18th

Another weekend, another spree to the dependable Southgate, who have Broken Bones Matilda on Friday 16th. Meanwhile, over at the Cavalier Community Hall, there’s a tribute to AC/DC called Hells Bells. Rob, Mike and Luke, you know, got a Nerve Ending, well, they’re out to the Neeld, Chippenham supporting Brighton’s three-piece, indie punk outfit Gender Roles with Laissez Faire. Oh yeah, The Chaos Brothers play the Queens Tap Swindon an’ all.

Saturday 17th and the indie-pop band we’ve been raving about but yet failed to catch up with, Daydream Runaways, play the Barge at Honeystreet. The Corsairs make a welcomed return to the Southgate, and over in Warminster’s Prestbury Sports Bar, The Treblemakers are always worth the effort.

For a tribute to the music of Paul Weller, The Tap & Barrell has Wildwood, harder rockers of Swindon, head for the Vic, where Saints of Sin play, and for ska-punkers, The Hamsters From Hell are at The Rolleston.

But if this weekend is the quiet before the storm, Devizes starts bank holiday celebrations early, as it’s DOCA’s turn to hijack Hillworth Park on Sunday, for the Party in the Park truly kicks off the shenanigans. Free, from midday to half five, Bristol’s The Desperate Men brings the ground-breaking outdoor theatre with a water balloon toss, The Gin Bowlers offer “Swing & Vulgar Beats,” Andy Quick is described as a soul punch of indie, rock n roll, and electro blues. Old Baby Mackerel play bluegrass music that makes you “yee-haw” harder than a 9-pound hammer, and Ozzy Murray Kyle brings us some conscious roots and soul.

Other events on Sunday worthy of our attention include Six Lives Left at The New Inn, Melksham and Jo Harman Trio at Bath’s Chapel Arts Centre.

Week 4: Monday 19th – Sunday 25th

Following weekend then, and it’s the big one. Dire Straits tribute the Sultans of Swingers are live at the Talbot, Calne on Thursday 22nd. While Friday, Frank Zappa tribute, Burger & the Beast are at the Rising Sun, and rock covers band, Beyond the Storm are at Devizes Southgate, and The Barge at Honeystreet starts its Argy Bargee festival in its campsite. Awesome line-up for that, see the poster below or read our review of The Barge from earlier this week.

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Saturday the 24th August then, Phoenix Festival starts in Cirencester, absolutely free this one, two tributes headline; The Rolling Clones and Totally Tina, with a host of other bands including The Britpop Boys, The Soul Destroyers and The Strays.

Meanwhile, The Reason, at The Rose & Crown in Warminster comes recommended, so too does those Larkin boys, but you knew that. They’re at The London Road Inn, Calne. The Other at The Grapes in Melksham, and something different for the Southgate, Devizes, as they welcome Sophia & The Soul Rebels, who also play the Woodland Edge, Swindon on the Sunday.

Staying in Swindon, The Tawny Owl have a music and family fun-day. Closer to home, it’s the Potterne Beer Festival and in the Vize, get ready for the International Street Festival. On the Green Sunday, highly advised you finish it off with Vince Bell at the Southgate, easing you into the legendarily dubbed (whether DOCA like it or not,) “black rat Monday,” in the Market Place on the bank holiday Monday.

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Now you know full well, DOCA will shoot me in cold blood if I expose what’s on at the Market Place, and for that reason, I’ve deliberately left myself in the dark too. Buy the programme which will be on sale soon! But going on past experience, I’m sure you’ll agree the diversity and class of all acts booked are second to none. Not forgoing, Vinyl Realm is extending the site to their shop on the corner of St Johns and Long Street with a second stage, and I am able to tell who we have booked there, and I already have, as I said, please keep up: the lowdown is here, don’t make me repeat it!

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Week 5: Monday 26th – Saturday 31st

One more weekend then you can go get on with your July. Friday 30th August is when the Canal Trust and DOCA get together for Music on the Canal at the The Wharf. Again, we see Daydream Runaways pop-up, this time at The Southgate. A weekend of classic tributes elsewhere, Melksham Assembly Hall has The Showdown; Elvis v Jerry Lee Lewis, while The Neeld, Chippenham has The Beach Boys Tribute Show.

Saturday, yes SATURDAY, the 31st is the Devizes Confetti Battle & Colour Rush, despite this article being a gig guide, thought I’d mention it as we talked of our fortnight of fun, and this, for some, is the icing of the cake. Mods and scooterists head for The Flying Monk Tavern, Chippenham where The Roughcut Rebels always put on a great show. Local Heroes Inc are also on my recommended hotlist, they play The Pilot, Melksham. The Kut, Seething Akira plus guests at The Victoria may also interest you.

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To finish on a high note, August 31st all roads lead to Frome. This is a free fest at The Cheese & Grain, 12pm – 11pm, courtesy of Hit or Miss & Sheer Music. One day, twenty acts over two stages. With ten more cats to be confirmed, The “Hey Didn’t the Foo Fighters Play That Stage” Stage is missing a question mark, but replaced by The Bottom Line, Ghost of the Avalanche, The Big Massive Orchestra, Middlenamekill, and Hoggs Bison. The “I Knew Frank Turner Before He Was Famous” Stage has Dave McPherson (Inme,) Follow the Sun, Mike Barham, L. Stidson, and Amateur Panda.

That’s all folks, next thing you know, Christmas; pass the yule log Bogtrotter, you greedy porky.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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REVIEW –Rockin’ Bandits @ Hillworth, Jamie Williams @ Southgate, and Ian O’Regan @ The White Bear, Devizes – Sunday 28th July 2019

Another Free & Easy Sunday Afternoon in The Vize

 

Andy Fawthrop

This is getting to be a habit now. It’s a Sunday, the weather is balmy, and there’s lots of free music on offer.

Firstly to Hillworth Park for Fantasy Radio’s final Month of Sundays, featuring a live on-air radio show, showcasing the talents of a local artists. Today it was the turn of the Rockin’ Bandits, who delivered their usual performance of swing, country and rockabilly. Mixing a few of their own numbers with plenty of covers – Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Johnny Horton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash – you name it – the crowd really lapped it all up. Perfect nostalgia music for a sunny afternoon in the park.

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I couldn’t stay quite to the end because I wanted to get along to The Southgate to catch Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective – a five-piece band who really dress the part. This Essex-based outfit knocked out an altogether more get-down-and-boogie kind of sound, with a blues and Americana edge to their original material. Their set also took a tour around some nice country-rock licks. It was a good atmosphere, with all the windows thrown open, the crowd listening both inside and outside of the pub.

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And finally, back down into town to listen to Ian O’Regan at the White Bear. Ian doesn’t really do his own material – he’s not yer usual singer/ songwriter – but what he lacks in the song-writing department he more than makes up for in the quality, range and sheer versatility of his singing and guitar-playing. His skill lies in the interpretation and delivery of other people’s great songs. His repertoire is eclectic, covering blues, folk, “Irish & Western”, country and rock. Occasionally sipping at his water, he established his usual friendly bantering rapport with the audience. And he played his heart out to a very appreciative audience – for two hours solid without a break! And even after that he had enough energy left to play an encore. Amazing stamina and dedication!

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Yet another great afternoon – three gigs in five hours – and all of it free!

So keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks, both before and after the Devizes International Street Festival there’s loads more (free) music scheduled in Hillworth Park, The Southgate, The Three Crowns, The White Bear and other venues too.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Back at th’ Argy Bargee

Ahoy, took a journey across the downs to Honeystreet Saturday, the ol’ stomping ground never looked so good.

Amidst affluent villages of the Marlborough Downs few pockets of counter culture hide. Notably, none more renowned than The Barge at Honeystreet.

With memorable days of yore, the pub, its adjoining wharf and campsite has always thrived with the spirit of a mini festival. If this lively reputation has been dubious recently, with changes of ownership and a community buyout, it’s now confirmed; the once jewel in our live music scene has regained its dynamism and essence.

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On adding gigs to our calendar, I’d noticed a consistent drift of local acts adding regular nights at this scenic old mill house, and with our prime sound system attending Saturday, I couldn’t hold back any longer, the desire to investigate was paramount; fetch my tie-dye tee.

Rammed carpark, a straggler sitting on a sarsen stone with a can of Strongbow took it upon himself to police parking, and kindly directed me back towards the sawmill. Sauntering the track on foot, familiar sounds of a gypsy boater’s haven blessed my ears; jolly laughter, dogs barking and the compulsory thunder of bass.

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The front lawn was chock-full of revellers upon my arrival, dogs and kids running wild, drinks flowing merrily around a strategically positioned speaker by the door. Struggle to ascend to the bar without smiling greetings, welcoming hugs, and the customary handclasp from Razah heading the controls to a tower of speakers. The bass is positively throbbing inside as merrymakers mingle and skank, I’d expect no less.

I observed, design wise things looked fresh; same ol’ extensive bar, retaining the previous open-plan renovation. Wow, must’ve been my stag do last time I was here; complete with charred sausages from a drunken campsite barbeque, perpetual rounds of tequila and a druid grudgingly cast as the wizard-o-gram.

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Speaking to the site manager, who’s name escaped my lobes (Dylan?) due to the sweet reggae vibes of our local purveyors of sound system culture, Razah and Knati P, I’m informed most Fridays and every Saturday is dedicated to live music. Where the crop circle centre of the world identifier perhaps waning with trends, the inescapable music scene is blossoming once again.

 

This Saturday evening as lively as ever before, if not more, engrained what I’d anticipated, The Barge is back on the circuit and the news is out. With the rotting neighbouring barn replaced by a plush wooden extension with showers and camping washing facilities, upwards there’s a community arts space, which opens up to the rear garden.

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Outside table areas are equally as jam-packed as the front, beyond, the fire-lit campsite resembling a free party of days gone by. A basic play area for kids and table tennis balances something for all here, yet the icing on the cake is eternally unchangeable, the stunning surroundings of Alton Barnes and the White Horse on Milk Hill.

What a wonderful setting for a gathering of any sort, but with the inimitable radiance of the inhabitants of the Pewsey vale, and the ethos of bringing the best local live music acts, you know it’s going to go off. Any normal night will cost £8 to camp, and good homecooked food is served, so despite its middle-of-nowhere location, you need not fuss about getting home, even to feed the dog. The site is dog-friendly, if you haven’t got a dog, you’ll be issued with one for the weekend.

From those twisted masters of the dark Somerset blues, The Black Wood Redeemers, to Devizes-own indie-pop People Like Us, and from Swindon’s skanking hip hoppers, The Tribe to Avebury’s star George Wilding, The Barge wasted no time whamming its pin back in the map.

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Coming Friday (2nd August,) sees the ferocious and whimsical galloping of gypsy boat folk, with Calico Jack, while reggae vibes return Saturday with both a live set from The Urban Lions, a band who campaigned and fundraised to get this Barge back on waters, and their dub sound system Lionheart Vibration. In contrast, perhaps, I’m equally pleased to see indie-pop upcomers, Daydream Runaways headlining August 17th, with Ben Borrill supporting, and a suburb bank holiday festival line-up.

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With Punjabi style Bhangra outfit, RSVP, headlining, The Argy Bargee Weekender on 23rd-26th August, set in a marquee in the camping field, may come at a £12.50 day ticket stub, or £30 for the whole weekend, but also promises People Like Us, Matt Cook, Phil Cooper & Jamie R Hawkins, Panacoustic, Tripolar and The Tribe, with Knati & Razah’s sound system too. And of course, the given notion they’ve got the know-how-to-party t-shirt, it’s more than tempting.

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So, topper-most respect t’ Brenden ‘n co, th’ new crew o’ th’ Barge, th’ acts ‘n that crazy crowd; yeâd be a land-lubbin’ mug nah t’ bookmark th’ destination this summer!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Things to do with your Little Darlings during the Summer Hols!

Have I even got time between running around the house shouting “Pikachu,” and polishing my Minecraft skills to draft this article in time? Yep, take a gulp of wine parents, it’s school summer holidays, again. Take another gulp, it’s forecast to be hot and bothering, heck, give them the whole flipping bottle!

Ease up though, Devizine has bought you a guide of local things to do, which won’t strain your purse too much.

If you send me details of an event or activity I have missed, I can edit this; let’s make a comprehensive guide to everything going on for kids and parents, before they complain they’re bored……the parents that is!


Friday 26th July:

Legally Blonde @ The Wharf Theatre, Devizes

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Mini Fair @ The Rowdey Cow, Devizes

The mini fair is coming to the Rowdey Cow to celebrate the start of the summer holidays- with inflatables, roundabout, hook a duck and football fun and they will be staying with us for a couple of weeks!


End of term disco @ The Cavalier Community Hall, Devizes

5pm – 7:30pm. Admission is FREE, just turn up.

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Saturday July 27th:

Steampunk Workshop @ Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre

Get creative, take up the gauntlet and sign up for this Steampunk Challenge Workshop! Steampunk inspired refreshments provided. During the workshop, you’ll be making hats, masks and accessories. Bring your own items to upcycle, or let your imagination go wild and make something from scratch; all using our resources! They will provide all resources required.


Bowood’s Summer Garden Party

https://www.bowood.org/whatson/


Sunday 28th July:

Family Fun Day @ Fortune Inn Pub & Chinese Restaurant

https://www.facebook.com/events/295861581331046/


Monday 29th July:

Young Melksham

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Young Melksham’s Summer Holiday Activity afternoons kick off on Monday! So why not come down and join in the fun?! 2pm till 5pm Monday to Friday just £2.50 per session!! For all young people going into year 5 and up! https://www.youngmelksham.org.uk/


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Monday 29th July – Friday 2nd August:

MUSICAL IN A WEEK! @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Whether you were born to be on stage or this is your first step into the limelight, join Felicity Courage for a fantastic five days – jam packed with singing, acting, and dancing – creating a brand-new show-stopping mystery musical. 5 – 14 yrs: £120 child / £110 sibling (five days) Dress for movement / Bring a packed lunch.


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This Summer @ Fired Thoughts. Clay Fun Fridays & Ad hoc Saturdays! Call or email, or book online to come and make in clay. Simple projects to get you started or do your own thing. General studio sessions £10 per person per session. Wheel sessions: £22.50 per half hour with 1:1 tuition.


Tuesday 30th July:

Shires Craft, Trowbridge

Pop along to the Shires for fantastic, free crafts. Drop-in 10.30 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 3.30. Ages 4+.

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Wessex Water(y) Workshop @ Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre

Wessex Water provide water to your taps at home and at school. Gillian Smith, Education Adviser will be there to help you create some wonderful watery creations! Please bring your ideas and imagination! Perhaps you would like to make a friendly, fishy mobile to hang in your bedroom? Could you invent a new sea creature? Can you make a diorama to show where the sea creature would live?


Wednesday 31st July:

Free Children’s Boot Camp @ Rowde Playing Field

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Ages 5-16. Reserve your place: rpc.lisayouth@gmail.com


Thursday 1st August:

Kids Summer Sewing for 8-11-year olds @ Franklins, Salisbury.


Friday 2nd August:

Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves!’ outdoor family theatre @ Lacock Abbey


Saturday 3rd August:

Splash Park Grand Opening @ King George Playing Field, Melksham

Free to attend, its beach themed without the sand! Fish & chips, ice cream, deck chairs and water play.. fun for all the family.

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Summer of Fun @ Borough Parade, Chippenham.

Starting Saturday 3rd August and for the following 2 Saturdays at Borough Parade they can enjoy themed family fun for Free from 11am. Why not give our balloon modellers a challenge, have your face painted with your fave character or join in with some of the circus skills on show.


Monday 5th August:

FIDGETY FEET DANCE AND DRAMA @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

9.30AM – 10.20AM / 10.30AM – 11.20AM Join Fidgety Feet for a Pirate and Mermaid themed interactive dance, drama and storytelling workshop. Using props, music and lots of imagination come with us on an exciting journey on and in the high seas. Perfect for little performers! 18 mo – 5 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free.


Monday 5th – Tuesday 6th August:

NEON DANCE @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 3PM. Join internationally renowned choreographer Adrienne Hart for a two-day contemporary dance course. Morning technique class will be followed by choreography and rehearsal as participants work towards a final showcase. This is a friendly and inclusive course for young dancers to improve their skills. 13 – 18 yrs: £50. Open to all abilities. Dress for movement / Bring a packed lunch.


Tuesday 6th August:

A Treasure at Sea for Dragon & Me at Chippenham Library

Dorset & Wilts Fire & Rescue Service story session. Water safety for kids (and dragons!). FREE interactive story time suitable for 4-7-year olds. There will be fun activities and dressing up too! Booking recommended.
https://www.facebook.com/events/856298231403596/


SONGWRITING FOR IMPROVERS @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Develop your skills and take your song writing to the next level with songwriter, performer and artist Louise Jordan. 13 – 18 yrs: £15 All instruments welcome but not required


SONGWRITING FOR BEGINNERS @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Learn how to write songs and bring your ideas to life with songwriter, performer and artist Louise Jordan. 13 – 18 yrs: £15. Open to all abilities, all instruments welcome but not required.


Tuesday 6th August- Wednesday 7th August:

Dinosaurs and Fossils @ Wiltshire Museum

Art and craft activities for under 11s. There is a different theme each week: Activities to include creating miniature dinosaur lands. Two sessions per day: 11am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3pm. Booking essential as there are limited places. £5 per child. Under 8s to be accompanied by an adult please.

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Wednesday 7th August:

Free Children’s Boot Camp @ Rowde Playing Field

Ages 5-16. Reserve your place: rpc.lisayouth@gmail.com


Willy Wonka – Wonderful Wednesday Workshop @ Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre, Bowden Hill.

They’ve got the perfect crafting workshop for you… Willy Wonka inspired Workshop with super Sara, sweets & decorations are the order of the day. Light refreshments served during the workshop.


ANIMATION WORKSHOP @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Create your own stop-frame animation during this fun workshop with film producer and photographer Jamie McDine. You will learn professional film making skills with lots of hands on activities and working within teams you will plan and produce your own stop-motion film! 9 – 14 yrs: £25. Open to all. Bring a packed lunch.


Thursday 8th August:

BEAUTIFUL BUGS & BUTTERFLIES @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 11.30AM Join Chrissie to explore the magical world of creepy crawlies and butterflies through songs, creative art, messy play and a special interactive story. Activities will include making a caterpillar sock puppet, a peg butterfly and junk modelling. 2 – 4 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free. Dress for mess!


BIRDS IN FLIGHT @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Flap your wings and get ready to fly. Come along and make a unique bird mask and wings. Will you choose to be a tame garden bird, an exotic parrot or a soaring eagle? 5 – 7 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision welcome but not required. Dress for mess.


Friday 9th August:

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 11.30AM Join Chrissie on a very messy rainbow journey, explore colour in a variety of ways, using hands and feet, paint and playdough. Sing your way through the morning as you make colourful art to take home. 2 – 4 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free. Dress for mess!


FLAGS AND BUNTING @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

1PM – 3PM. Join Chrissie to make a string of bunting for your bedroom and a rainbow flag for your garden. We will experiment with wax, pens and paints to create special works of art. 5 – 7 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision welcome but not required. Dress for mess.


Saturday 10th August:

Seend Village Fete

Undoubtedly one of the best villages fetes for miles; good family fun!


Summer of Fun @ Borough Parade, Chippenham

Starting Saturday 3rd August and for the following 2 Saturdays at Borough Parade they can enjoy themed family fun for Free from 11am. Why not give our balloon modellers a challenge, have your face painted with your fave character or join in with some of the circus skills on show.


Saturday 10th – 11th August:

Frome Comic Con

https://www.fromecomiccon.com/


Sunday 11th August:

Lark in the Park with Fantasy Radio @ Hillworth Park, Devizes


Monday 12th August:

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A THOUSAND TWANGLING INSTRUMENTS @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Calling all budding musicians, composers, actors and songwriters! Over the course of 3 days, we will put on a Shakespeare play, complete with songs and music written during the course. Work with two experienced professionals to create a unique performance with sound and music. 12 – 21 yrs: £85 Bring a packed lunch.


Monday 12th – Wednesday 14th August:

Create a play in a week! Summer Schools for ages 4-10 @ The Shoebox Theatre, Swindon

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Our drama summer schools are designed to support your child in their creative development. We introduce children to interesting stories, characters and text in an imaginative and fun way. As well as developing their performance skills, students will learn to work with others, build confidence and improve their communication skills.

At the start of the week our two groups (ages 4-6 and ages 7-10) will choose a classic children’s story to bring to life and will then spend the week creating their very own version including the performance, masks and props!

On the final day, we’ll invite friends and family to come and see the final show! Expect a week of learning, friend making, creativity and fun!

All our Teachers are Drama School or University educated and undergo enhanced DBS checks.

When: Monday 12th – Friday 16th of August, 9am-3pm
Cost: £125: https://www.shoeboxtheatre.org.uk/summerschool


DEVISING DRAMA @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 3PM Join Beth for an imaginative three days, devising from a variety of different stimuli, developing drama skills, making new friends and creating your very own show. Join us for a brilliant, busy three days of fun! 6 – 11 yrs, £60. Dress for movement / Bring a packed lunch


Tuesday 13th August:

August Children’s Holiday Clubs @ The Farm Cookery School, Netherstreet

We run Children’s holiday clubs throughout August for ages: 5+, 7-9, 8+ & 11+. Every week is a different cooking theme with Mexican, British & Greek food. These are great classes for kids to learn new skills and have lots of fun. Please see our website for more details: https://thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk/childrens-holiday-clubs/


JUNGLE FEVER – SQUAWK, RATTLE AND ROAR@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 1.30PM Come and spend a morning making a range of simple instruments with Dave King to create your own Jungle Orchestra to play and take home! Learn how sound is produced using everyday materials and discover the amazing properties of bamboo, the world’s most sustainable plant. 8 – 13 yrs, £18


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Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th August:

Ancient Greek Mythology @ Wiltshire Museum

Activities to include golden head dresses and painting terracotta dishes with mythological designs. Two sessions per day: 11am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3pm. Booking essential as there are limited places. £5 per child. Under 8s to be accompanied by an adult please.


Thursday 15th August:

A Musical Zoo! @ Marden House, Calne or Trowbridge Town Hall

Music for Miniatures host concerts for kids, Join them for a musical journey to the zoo and more, with music from oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, bass clarinet and piano. Bring your cuddly animals along too, or dress up as an animal! A lively morning of amazing live classical music for you and your little one. Tickets available online or on the door.


Friday 16th August:

LITTLE PICCOLOS@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

9.30AM – 10.20AM. Music Classes specifically designed to make music accessible for younger children. Each session is full of singing, playing instruments, and are entirely acoustic. 1 – 6 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free.


THE YOGA PATCH@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10.30AM – 11.20AM Yoga comes to life in these fun and creative classes designed to stimulate younger children’s growing curiosity. We use playful yoga poses, animated breathing exercises and imaginative relaxation techniques, to help enhance language development, motor coordination and play skills. 2 – 6 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free.


Saturday 17th August:

Pirate Family Fun Day @ The Borough Parade & Chippenham Museum

If you’ve a little scallywag then make sure you bring them along on Saturday 17th August for some Pirate themed fun at Borough Parade. The fabulous Clare’s Circus are back with their incredible face painting creations, balloon modelling madness and unbelievable interactive circus skills. The lovely staff at Waterstones have confirmed they’ll also be running storytelling and activities that day to add to the holiday fun. Will you find the treasure or will you be made to walk the plank?
All the activities happening at Borough Parade are FREE and are funded by the generosity of our stores as part of our community engagement scheme.
There will also be lots more swashbuckling activities happening throughout the town thanks to Chippenham Town Council.

Pirate Family Fun Day


Warminster Medieval Fair

This free entry event will bring the medieval times to the historical town of Warminster with knightly combat, living history and historical education. There will also be live acoustic music contemporary to the era, storytelling and falconry as well as a folk market. Living history tents will demonstrate skills and replica items to immerse you into the medieval mindset and lifestyle. https://www.facebook.com/events/309398803255677/


The Hall Family Day, Bradford on Avon

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-hall-family-day-tickets-64958988082


Glow in the Park: Longleat

https://www.longleat.co.uk/whats-on/glow-in-the-park


Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th August:

Outdoor Adventure Weekend- Climbing Wall @ Whitehall Garden Centre, Lacock

A selection of activities including archery, axe throwing and an 8-metre climbing wall. Experienced instructors are on hand at each event to assist you and all equipment is provided.


Sunday 18th August:

Picnic in the Park @ Hilworth, Devizes


Trowbridge Soapbox Derby

https://www.facebook.com/events/2457145290997609/


Miss Squire at Home @ Sevington Victorian School, Chippenham

http://www.sevingtonvictorianschool.co.uk
Wiltshire’s best kept secret. Homemade afternoon tea, children’s activities and free tours of the school. Admission per head: Adults £2 , Children £1 Family ticket £5


Monday 19th August:

The Fulltone Music School: Summer Holidays Musical Theatre Workshop, Potterne

A fantastic 4-day course on musical theatre for age 11 and up. Learning stagecraft, singing techniques, singing in harmony and singing a selection of fantastic musical theatre songs culminating in a SHOWCASE on the Thursday evening at 5pm! It will be a FANTASTIC few days! £100 email jemmaroberts@hotmail.com to book!


SINGING DAY WITH KATE COURAGE @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 3PM Come and sing for a whole day! Learn new songs, make new friends and develop your voice and singing techniques. We will perform a concert at the end of the day of everything we have learned. We will try out new warm-ups, work on performance skills and sing in harmony. 8 – 14 yrs, £25. Open to all abilities. Bring a packed lunch.


Tuesday 20th August:

August Children’s Holiday Clubs @ The Farm Cookery School, Netherstreet

We run Children’s holiday clubs throughout August for ages: 5+, 7-9, 8+ & 11+. Every week is a different cooking theme with Mexican, British & Greek food. These are great classes for kids to learn new skills and have lots of fun. Please see our website for more details: https://thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk/childrens-holiday-clubs/


MYTHICAL STORIES WITH MICHAEL LOADER@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 3PM Join Michael Loader for an exciting workshop where you will hear and tell stories, play drama games, create theatre and make music. Bring your ideas, enthusiasm and imagination to put into your own creative performance! 7 – 11 yrs, £20. Costumes and instruments provided but you are welcome to bring your own. Bring a packed lunch.


Dinosaur Roar! Story and craft session @ Chippenham Library

Suitable for ages 4-7. Tickets £1.50 for library members and £2 for non-members. Please book at the library desk.


Tuesday 20th & Wednesday 21st August:

Summer Textiles and Craft @ Wiltshire Museum

Activities to include painting fabric bags with summer designs and mini sun and flower design rag rugs. Two sessions per day: 11am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3pm. Booking essential as there are limited places. £5 per child. Under 8s to be accompanied by an adult please.


Wednesday 21st August:

Let’s Go Fly a Kite Wonder Wednesday Workshop @ Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre

Do you want to experience a truly Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious workshop? Then come and join this Mary Poppins inspired workshop, and make your own kite from all our lovely Scrapstore resources. Light refreshments served during the workshop.


ROCK THE TOTS – SUMMER PARTY! @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Gigs for little people… and their grown-ups! With music, puppets, percussion and stories, you and your little one will have a blast. After lots of fun music events across Wiltshire in 2019, this is Rock The Tot’s big summer gig, where all our songs will have a summer theme! 0 – 5 yrs, £7 child / £3 adult. Babes in arms attend for free.


August Children’s Holiday Clubs @ The Farm Cookery School, Netherstreet.

We run Children’s holiday clubs throughout August for ages: 5+, 7-9, 8+ & 11+. Every week is a different cooking theme with Mexican, British & Greek food. These are great classes for kids to learn new skills and have lots of fun. Please see our website for more details: https://thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk/childrens-holiday-clubs/


Thursday 22nd -Friday 23rd August:

REVINYL SESSIONS@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM-3PM Calling all secret bedroom DJs! Hit the decks and learn from industry professionals in this two-day session perfect for beginners. Revinyl Sessions are here to share their love of music and DJing. 13 – 19 yrs, £50.


Sunday 25th August:

Devizes International Street Festival, The Green


Stompers Juniors: Juniors in The Jungle! @ Venom nightclub, Westbury

A Magical rave experience for the whole family in a safe, fun & friendly environment. With DJs Dougal, Miss Special K, Andy Demize, Slic and MCs 3man & Restless.


Children’s Treasure Hunt @ Swindon & Cricklade Railway

An easy day for the kids- spot 30 little engines around the railway and win a prize. https://www.facebook.com/events/1905855732797531/


Monday 26th August:
Devizes International Street Festival, The Market Place


Tuesday 27th August:

August Children’s Holiday Clubs @ The Farm Cookery School, Netherstreet.

We run Children’s holiday clubs throughout August for ages: 5+, 7-9, 8+ & 11+. Every week is a different cooking theme with Mexican, British & Greek food. These are great classes for kids to learn new skills and have lots of fun. Please see our website for more details: https://thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk/childrens-holiday-clubs/


Thursday 29th August:

Salisbury Forest School Holiday Club: for children aged 7-11

Forest School holiday club includes nature-themed activity sessions run by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust staff. Activities include: Bird watching- Woodworking- Nature discovery trail- Pond dipping. Cost: £20 per child. Drop off: 8:30amPick up: 5:30pm Children will need to bring a packed lunch/snacks for the day. Please make sure your child comes with the appropriate clothing for outdoor activities. Upon completion of booking an email will be sent to you with Parental Consent form, which must be completed prior to final confirmation. This reserve can be hard to find, so please look at directions before travelling and leave with plenty of time. More information on the reserve and directions can be found here. To book, please contact events@wiltshirewildlife.org or 01380 829070 or book online.


Friday 30th August:

First Aid Training for Children @ Marlborough Rugby Club

Do you want your children to have the confidence to step forward and save a life?

Then book them onto one of my first aid courses on Friday 30th August at Marlborough rugby club. These sessions are fun and practical and teaches them how to save your life, while you enjoy a well earned break in the shops and cafes of Marlborough, or catch up on some admin!

🔹️5-9 year olds at 1030am-12 noon – £18 (£15 for siblings)
🔹️10-14 year olds at 1230-230pm – £24 (£20 for siblings)

Price includes certificate, handout and refreshments.

Details and online booking at https://www.facebook.com/events/440730396483621/


Saturday August 31st:
Devizes Confetti Battle

Little introduction needed for this one, but The Confetti Battle takes place at the finish line of the new Colour Rush 5km route, so expect to see some exceptionally colourful visitors in the crowd.

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Last year saw the introduction of a token system where you can buy tokens to exchange for the confetti before the event, they’ll use the same system again this year. The token stand will be outside the Corn Exchange. Swap your tokens for confetti at the tables near to the front of Times Square. Keep your eyes peeled when collecting your confetti as one lucky person will receive a Golden Ticket in a confetti bag, info about the prize will be announced soon.

Jennings fairground will be in the Market Place on until 11.00pm


Melksham Food and River Festival 2019

The Melksham Food and River Festival is organised by the Festival Committee with support from the Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust and the Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club. The Festival seeks to provide a platform for local food and drink producers, community groups, local entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.
Come and visit us during the weekend 31st August – 1st September 2019 entry is FREE and after browsing the stalls and indulging in some retail therapy, you can relax and enjoy al-fresco locally produced food and drink, whilst listening to the live music and watching the boats on the river.


Sunday September 8th:

Children’s Proms in the Park @ Hillworth Park, Devizes

This is a free, family friendly event supported by Devizes Town Council. 2pm-4pm.
Singalong with Devizes Town Band at their annual hugely successful Children’s Proms event as they delight with film and TV themes from past and present; dressing up essential!

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Various Dates Throughout the Holiday!

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Wiltshire Council’s Camp Active

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Summer Fun Activities @ The Neeld, Chippenham

This summer, the Neeld Community and Arts Centre will be offering fun circus skills sessions with Clare’s Circus!
There will be lots of exciting activities for children, and parents will be very welcome to join in with the fun and games! Clare’s Circus can teach you to juggle, you can learn tricks with spinning plates and diabolo and there will be stilt walking and pedal go’s, as well as soft play for the little ones and a tightwire for thrill seekers.
In addition, there will be a great craft making table and the chance to make balloon animals with Mr Twister, the best balloon twister this side of the River Avon! Child (Under 16) £5 Free entry for accompanying adults: http://www.neeld.co.uk/whats-on/summer-fun-activities.


Active Trowbridge @ King George Playing Fields, Melksham

Each Wednesday Active Trowbridge will be in the park with activities, sports and bouncy castles!


Jurassic Farm @ Roves Farm, Swindon

Fire up your imagination on a Roves Farm tractor ride this summer. We’ve got three fun and interactive themed events that the whole family will enjoy, including our Jurassic Farm safari!
Join the Roves Farm ranger as we take a tractor safari through our very own dinosaur territories. We’ll be trying to detect and even discover a brand-new species of dinosaur as we go… What will we find?
Meanwhile back at the farm there’s a whole day of hands-on farm activities to keep you busy including; egg collecting, meet the animals, feed the goats, animal racing and lots more!

https://rovesfarm.co.uk/whats-on/


Family Fun Coaching @ Sleight Valley Golf Range

Family coaching with our Golf Coach is free but you will need to purchase the range balls you use; these start at £4.75 for 50 balls. club hire is free. There is no need to book just turn up.
Our Homefield Cafe will be open so pop in for something to eat and drink while you are here. For more details call 01380 729053. THURS 1st 10:00 – 12:00, FRI 9th 10:00 – 12:00, WED 14th 10:00 – 12:00, WED 21st 10:00 – 12:00, WED 28th.


Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre: Holiday Art Club

Scrap Modelling at its finest! Bring your mini-Monet’s along to these popular Holiday Art Clubs, and teach them the importance of reducing and reusing our waste; all whilst having lots of fun using the scrap resources! Each session is run by a qualified trainer. Find out more about them here: https://www.wiltshirescrapstore.org.uk/press-media/?v=79cba1185463


Australian Summer @ Longleat, Warminster

20th July – 2nd September
https://www.longleat.co.uk/whats-on/an-australian-summer


Devizes Marina

Looking for something to do over the school holidays that’s a bit different? Why not take our day boat out for the day? Up to 8 people (and a dog) can be aboard for a day exploring the Kennet & Avon Canal. Find out more at http://www.devizesmarina.com


Trowbridge Museum

Has a number of events, activities and workshops taking place over the summer holidays. This summer they take the “Museum on The Move” as they decamp to the Shires for a crafty day, spend a couple of days in the Sensory Garden on their Archaeological Dig, visit Salisbury’s Rifles Museum for some WW2 activities and put on a Summer School of craft demonstrations, local history and more at Trowbridge Town Hall.
Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th July, 11am – 3pm: Archaeological Dig in the Sensory Garden
If you’ve ever wondered what lies underneath the Sensory Garden, now is the chance to find out because we are going to dig several large holes to find out. Come along to our archaeological dig and see what treasures we unearth! Suitable for all the family.

WW2 at the Rifles Museum, Salisbury
Come and join us for three days of WW2-themed activities in the beautiful gardens of the Rifles Museum. There’ll be challenges, crafts and dressing up, with something different each day. You can drop in between 11am and 3pm.
Wed 7th August: Rifles
Wed 14th August: Rifles
Wed 21st August: Rifles
Fri 9th August, 2pm: Strange Stroll (Family History Guided Walk)
Discover the weird world of the woollen trade; £2 per person, Ages 7+, children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Walks starts outside Mastershoe.


Town Hall Summer School, Trowbrigde

Trowbridge Museum are working with Town Hall Arts to bring you a summer of art, craft, history, fun and (war) games. Together with our volunteers we’ll be demonstrating a diverse range of art and crafts, putting on some challenging Mouse Hunts, sharing the secrets of Napoleonic war gaming and revealing some snippets of the town’s history. These drop-in activities are free but a donation would be really appreciated – give a little or a lot – it’s up to you!
Mon 29th July, 11am – 3pm: Stick weaving
Wed 31st July, 11am – 3pm: Printmaking
Thu 1st Aug, 11am – 3pm: Felting
Fri 2nd August, 11am – 3pm: Printmaking
Mon 5th Aug, 11am – 3pm: Mouse Hunt
Tue 6th Aug, 11am – 3pm: Willow Weaving
Fri 9th August, 11am – 3pm: War Gaming Demonstration
Mon 12th August, 11am – 3pm: Crochet
Wed 14th August, 10am – 12pm: Weaving
Mon 19th August, 11am – 3pm: Mouse Hunt
Tue 20th Aug, 11am – 3pm: Willow Weaving
Wed 21st August, 11am – 3pm: Trowbridge Postcards & Photos
Wed 28th August, 11am – 3pm: Trowbridge Postcards & Photos
Thu 29th Aug, 11am – 3pm: Willow Weaving
Fri 30th August, 11am – 3pm: Felting


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REVIEW –Tamsin Quin/ Andrew Hurst @ Hillworth and Andy Juan @ The White Bear, Devizes – Sunday 21st July 2019

Laid-back musical Sunday afternoon in The Vize

Andy Fawthrop

 

Yet again it’s a Sunday, the weather is balmy, and the hangover is starting to recede a little. There seems to be a recurring theme here. Whatever.

After last night’s stunning free show in the Market Place, delivered by The Fulltone Orchestra, today was a day when there was a need to get very much chilled out and calmed down. I mean – singing along to Queen’s greatest hits, and dancing along to the Ibiza set are all very well, to say nothing of the odd jar of liquid refreshment – but since the crowds had all dispersed into the night a few hours previously, something a little more relaxed was very much required.

But not to worry. As ever, our little town, punched above its weight yet again and delivered just what was required.

Firstly to Hillworth Park for Fantasy Radio’s Month of Sundays, featuring a live on-air radio show, showcasing the talents of a couple of local artists. This was the third Sunday show for July (last one is next week 28th July), and it was the turn of Tamsin Quin and Andrew Hurst.

Tamsin’s two short sets included songs from her album Gypsy Blood. Her gentle, simple songs rang out across the park, and behind each one was a personal story, a thought, a feeling. Her delivery was both clear and heart-warming, and she (as always) established a friendly rapport with her audience. Perfect.

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Andrew Hurst is also no stranger to the park, having played here for Fantasy last year too. Only last week I enjoyed Andrew’s longer session in the White Bear, but today it was a couple of shorter sets. He played both covers and self-penned numbers, ranging from the quiet and intimate, through to the noisier upbeat numbers. I was left wondering how two hands can play quite so many notes so quickly. Close your eyes sometimes and it sounded like two guitars – fantastic stuff.

Next week, the final one of the Month of Sundays, will feature the very entertaining Rockin’ Bandits. So get yourself along there!

I left the crowd enjoying their Sunday afternoon in the park because a) I wanted to check out another artist playing in the White Bear’s Sunday afternoon sessions, and b) it was time for a beer! The artist in question was Bristol-based Andy Juan – new to me, but glad I made the trip.

Andy is a singer/ songwriter of some considerable talent. His songs were well-crafted, his vocals intense, and his guitar-playing spot on. He’s one of those artists who, when he’s playing a song, gets completely in the zone, completely in the moment. His focus, his concentration, were wonderful to behold. Playing mostly his own beautiful songs, he wasn’t afraid to throw in the occasional cover as well. But this wasn’t done as a mere afterthought. I’ve long been of the opinion that, if you’re going to cover a well-known song, you need to do one of two things – either replicate the original very exactly (to show how well you can actually listen to another artist’s work), or else give the original a complete re-working (to show how you can re-interpret the meaning, or the feeling, of the original song, to add something entirely new). Andy was definitely in the latter category, and the results were truly stunning. I shall definitely be listening to this guy again.

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On top of all that he delivered his sets with warmth and humour, engaging the audience throughout. And he was a nice bloke too.

Next Sunday (28th July) the White Bear’s Sunday session at 5pm will feature the very talented, and very versatile, Ian O’Regan. One not to be missed.

So there you go – one afternoon, three acoustic artists. Three different styles, but all united in being very talented, very entertaining and (thankfully) very laid-back – perfect! What’s not to like?


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

Adverts & All That!

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How Does Devizes Confetti Battle Compare to the World’s Most Bizarre Festivals?

Perhaps the most interesting part of our chat with DOCA coordinator, Loz, and definitely, the most controversial was the carnival’s date change. Still social media comments groan that Confetti Battle was traditionally on a Wednesday. Yet, bringing it to a Saturday makes it feasible for higher attendance, particularly tourists and day trippers.

Loz expressed it could be as renowned as the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll, and intends to diversify and extend the concept to interest a wider audience. In Devizes we take it for granted people annually gather in the Market Place to fling confetti at each other, without contemplating how bizarre this notion is to outsiders. Bizarre attracts adventurous visitors, hunting for something different; they’d come, they’d spend money, but less likely on a Wednesday evening.

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This morning I read a blog about The Rainforest World Music Festival, three days partying in the rainforest near Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia. Okay, the English was poorly translated, but the photos wowed. Given I’ve jested the word “festival” these-days seems to be a new-fangled soundbite whereby anyone can pop up a gazebo, hire a man with a guitar, sell some tinnies and allow gatherers to piss on his rhododendrons, and dub it a festival, it got me thinking exactly what constitutes a festival, internationally, how bizarre do some get, and how does our Confetti Battle compare?

coopershill

Investigation exposed some pretty outlandish and curious events, and some complete bonkers. Many you’d need to pack a suitcase for a lengthy flight for, others it seems are not so far away. The Coopers Hill Cheese Roll in Gloucestershire cropped up more times than injuries undoubtedly caused there, but nowhere have I discovered mention of Pewsey’s locally eminent Wheelbeerow Race, or Devizes and the weird custom of lobbing confetti at each other. Think outside the box, or Brittox, it is a tad weird, guys; but both on weeknights.

moose

Do they compare in weirdness to a moose dropping festival? Talkeetna, Alaska, it’s not snow falling from the sky, but moose poo, painted white and dropped from a helicopter! Or the International Hair-Freezing Contest in Yukon, Canada, where, as the name hints, using only water and the frosty air, contestants freeze their Barnett Fair into the most peculiar and eccentric shapes?

hair
Go under, check my pubes

While some are just ascetically bizarre, like the Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, or Florida’s Underwater Music Festival, it’s the theme of many which alarms or amuses; Roswell obviously has a UFO Festival. Devon’s Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming, is a thing. The World Bog-Snorkelling Championships in Llanwrtyd Wells and Ashbourne’s toedium smack down, the World Toe Wrestling Championships are too.

bog
I want to be just like him when I grow up

Wife Carrying Championship, anyone? The wedding vow of husbands metaphorically carrying spouses in times of sickness is taken a smidgen too literally in Sonkajärvi, Finland. Awards for the swiftest, toughest and amusingly costumed pairs are handed to contestants who carry their wives across a 254-metre obstacle course. But at the Festa del Cornuto, outside Rome, the Festival of the Horns, the men of cheating wives’ parade, crying and smashing possessions they gifted them to honour and console their woe.

wife
I’ll give you put the cat out!

Confetti Battle is a tad more family-orientated, like Krampusnacht in Germany, where every December an anti-Santa hands every naughty kid a lump of coal. Why not dress as devils and jump over our babies, because it has constituted a festival for over four-hundred-years in Castrillo de Murcia, Spain? If you think Don Quixote in a Lycra Satan suit leaping over your darling isn’t quite psychologically traumatic enough for them, how about Tokyo’s Naki Sumo, where oversized sumo-wrestlers square-up in a ring, each holding a baby, the contest being the first to make the other’s baby cry? Supposed to ward off evil spirits, so if your kid sees no fear in the wrester, the referee jumps in donning a scary mask to ensure a change of nappy is needed.

APphoto_APTOPIX Japan Crying Baby Contest
Think that’s scary? You should check my nappy, pal!

Some are pleasant, like the Cheung Chau Bun Festival in Hong Kong, where competitors’ climb sixty-foot towers of sweet buns which line the streets. Or the Floating Lantern Festival in Hawaii, and Beer Floating in Finland; steady, floating down a river in an improvised raft gulping Carlsberg. Others equal this pleasantness but add humorous elements, like the village of Brawby, where the Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race takes place over Bob’s Pond.

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Who left that sausage in here?

Food leftover fights are commonplace, La Tomatina in Spain, The Battle of Oranges in Ivrea, Italy. I mean, sure, Rayne in Louisiana has a Frog Festival, and turkey testicle eating contests are widespread across the USA. Alongside the sinister Day of the Dead Festival, Mexico has Noche de Rábanos at Oaxaca, or “The Night of the Radishes.”

radish
We are the Radish Army, arm your salad!

Korea has the Boryeong Mud Festival, where if you thought Pilton can get pretty filthy on a rainy July, you should see these lot engaging in mud photography workshops or having mud massages. But mud is great for the skin, ambiguously, especially the Boryeong mud used in their cosmetics. Or the valued tradition of Hadaka Matsuri in Okayama, where 9,000 naked Japanese men wrestle for sticks thrown by a Shinto priest. If the winner puts the sticks into a wooden box with rice, he will be contented the whole year.

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Anyone got a chewing gum?

Equally as cringeworthy to me, but hey, you might fancy the Japanese Kanamara Matsuri, or festival of the penis. They have penis artworks (unsure if they’re pictures of dicks or drawn with one, like drawing using a fat, wax crayon in your left-hand,) penis-shaped sweeties and carved vegetables, decorations, and a phallic mikoshi parade. Yet again the logic centres around a shrine once popular for prostitutes to pray for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. But legend has it, a Vagina Dentata demon lurks inside vaginas to castrate young men on their wedding night. If told that, you’d be celebrating the prosperity of your manhood.

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I always dress like I’m Nigel Farage

Finland’s Air Guitar World Championships claims the ideology would end wars, stop climate change and eradicate all bad things. So, all of them have a history, or logic behind them, no matter how bizarre they may seem. Peru’s Cat Food Festival, for example, you may think this annual gathering in Cañete, where they munch on cats is to cull an overpopulated stray cat problem, but no, they breed the animals especially for human consumption at the gig. Apparently, cat meat has aphrodisiac properties and also prevents ailments in the bronchi; I’ll skip it and just try the veg, thanks all the same.

At least Thailand’s annual Monkey Buffet Festival isn’t as bad, despite the alarming name, it’s the monkeys who get a feast, not us nibbling on monkey meatloaf. They honour the descendants of a monkey warrior in Lopburi, and it’s a crowd-puller. Seems disease-spreading blood-sucking pests get honoured, The Great Texas Mosquito Festival brings three days of carnival to Clute; food, drink, games and rides, craft or cooking workshops.

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Hey, where’s the KP Skips?

Confetti Battle roots to Carnival in 1913, where confetti and rose petals were thrown by the crowd at people in the procession. The tradition evolved into a fully-fledged battle around 1955, started by Jim Jennings, but the reason is unknown. Maybe we need to make one up; a nobleman’s wedding that went horribly wrong?

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I’m just nipping into Greggs

Even bulls rampaging around the streets, averagely injuring three hundred people and killing fifteen at the Fiesta San Fermin, doesn’t stop people gathering and making a festival out of. Why then, should changing our relatively harmless confetti battle from Wednesday to a Saturday bother you?! I’m not suggesting we have a penis fest, or eat cat, but what Devizes has is unique, and could be on this list!

Devizes Confetti Battle
Devizes Market Place – Saturday 31st August 2019
Entertainment starts from 7.30pm
Battle commences 8.00pm


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

Adverts & Stuff Like That!

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We see Same Days

Extensively featuring Devizine’s friend, Finely Trusler, half of Larkin and The Truzzy Boys, a new single from Same Days, a twenty-year-old London born Swindon performer is out for streaming today. Real name, David Whelpdale is cousins with Fin. He’s built an audience since a debut single in April, trying his hand at producing too. With Funked Up Dad, Martin, and Fin’s other cousin, Harvey, making up the other half of The Truzzy Boys, I had to ask Fin if he has any non-musical relations.

“Not many, mate!” was his answer, simple but to the point. Though this is something altogether different, as Same Days adopts that prevalent merger of singing with rap, popularised by the likes of R. Kelly. Yeah, alright, I’d need to speak to my daughter for more present comparisons! Still, old fart or not, I like it; “You See Me” offers a smooth and confident rap which oozes in and out of adroit boyband vocals. With natural ease this slick contemporary composition lustres authenticity with Fin’s acoustic component, harmoniously breathing air away from any unethical stereotype of rap fuddy-duddies may wrongfully spurt!

The accompanying video also assists with this acoustic measure, taking to the woods and other natural landscapes for locations rather than the banal urban scene. See for yourself, and all the best with it guys!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

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Choo-Choo, Train to Skaville Supported Neville Staple at Parkfest!

Some years back I was told a ska band played the previous night in the village across the dual carriageway. Being an aficionado of the genre, I was disappointed to hear I’d missed it; good enough reason we now have Devizine so you need not be like me and can hear of events before they happen!

Informed the band was called Train to Skaville worsened matters; such a great name, taken from the 1967 single of Jamaica’s harmony group, The Ethiopians. The launchpad for a UK tour when it hit our charts, the song’s riff has been applied to many later songs, including Toots & The Maytal’s 54-46 and heralded the concept of the chugging train sound used in a plethora of later ska and reggae songs.

Despite ensuring I’d added all their local gigs to the event guide here since day dot, and befriended singer Jules Morton as part of the all-female fundraising supergroup, The Female of the Species, the must-see box on my perpetually cumulative to-do-list remained unticked, until last night. Unfortunate weather clouded sanguinity early on when I ventured over to Melksham for the opening of Party in the Park. An evening dubbed “Parkfest,” separated from the main event happening today, as what once may have been a welcoming gig, has spawned its own identity; the main event builds on universal pop appeal, Parkfest has a more matured feel.

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It was in chatting with Bruce Burry, event coordinator at the Assembly Rooms, which revealed this forthcoming grand line-up of ska. I was taken aback, Party in the Park is Bruce’s baby, and boy, does he take care of it. Impressive and vast is the setup at King George V park, professional is the stage, sound and effects. I’d heard of it before, but when Bruce uttered the name Neville Staple, my heart whacked into hyperdrive. Some months on, I was kindly invited backstage, as the support, none other than my burning-box-to-be-ticked band, Train to Skaville, prepared and tuned. Attempting optimism, my mutterings that once they took the stage the drizzle would cease met with sullenness, but guys, I was right, wasn’t I?! Call me Michael Fish.

 

Naturally, headline act, the original rude-boy, formerly of The Specials and who later formed Fun Boy Three with Terry Hall and Lynval Golding, Neville Staple excelled with sleekness and anticipated competence. His combo group, The Neville Staple band has become the stuff of legend amidst the ska scene since 2004. Again, akin to our review of Trevor Evan’s Bardbwire at Devizes Arts Festival last month, Neville’s outfit merges two-tone and punky reggae back into its precursor ska, for this explosive melting pot, prevalently fermented the anniversary of Two-Tone Records, the Coventry record label which spurred a scene and both aforementioned artists played a pivotal role in.

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However, this was not before Neville and friends ran through some Specials classics, and if classics are the given thing in this retrospective amalgamation, Train to Skaville knocked it out of King George Park, prior to this fabled performance. For the headline act was grand, this should be taken as red, and despite my pedestal I popped Train to Skaville onto, they surely flew above all expectations.

For blending 007 (Shanty Town) into The Tide is High, as a teaser, the burgeoning crowd began to yearn for their start time, as gratis was handed to DJ setup, Fun Boy Two, Train to Skaville stepped up to an audience clearly familiar with the panache of this local band.

Train to Skaville have been on the circuit for eight years, albeit it a number of roster variations through their time, partly the reason, Jules told me, for not putting down any original material. This if-it-ain’t-broke attitude fitting, for the majority of ska followers just want to hear the anthems. While this is done timelessly by many-a-cover-band, Train to Skaville sit atop this standard, their unique style, singer’s Tim Cross’s witty repartee and entire band’s expertise reeks of good-time ska and explodes with party atmosphere.

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For what seems to be a rare thing, a ska band from the Trowbridge/Melksham area, they set the bar high, and through Israelites, Too Much Pressure, and Rancid’s Timebomb to name but a few, they launched back on stage, slowing for reggae and rock steady classics, Hurt so Good and Is This Love, and detonating the finale by slipping back into ska with Prince Buster’s Madness, followed by Madness, Selector and Bad Manners hits and a sublime versions of Tears of a Clown.

Yet this train doesn’t seem to call at Devizes, and if word of the group of friends from Devizes I was delighted to meet there, Vince Bell, Tamsin Quin and significant other halves, isn’t enough to convince you I don’t know what is! The last train pulled out of our town in 1966 and I can’t wait for the Devizes Parkway project to become a reality, the angle of this piece is simply that someone needs to book this lively band in our town, we can’t let the Sham take all the spotlight! They’ve rammed pubs, gigged The Cheese & Grain, supported Neville a couple of times previous, and become hot favourites westward, we just need to stop them buffering at Seend!

 

As for Party in the Park, the main event kicks off this afternoon, a more pop-feel, they’ve some awesome local legends, including Indecision, Kirsty Clinch, Burbank, Forklift Truck, along with a fire-show, unicorns, fairground and food and drink stalls, topped off with a Take That Tribute. You can get a ticket on the gate, this an affordable event and the pride of the Sham.

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© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

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Your Friendly Neighbourhood Milkman!

After the results of our dare, I’m going to do it, but not without your help raising some awareness of Carmela’s Stand up to Muscular Dystrophy…..


UPDATE!

Thank you for the kind donations, we’ve made £100 so far, but Spiderman isn’t coming out to play unless we can get some more!! Please donate to my dare, whatever you can will be a great help to Carmela and her family. A big thank you to The Gazette & Herald for covering the story, and Claire Perry MP who retweeted our campaign on her Twitter page.

I was delighted today, as for the first time I met Carmela and her mum, Lucy, when they came for a visit and, if a little hot and bothered, we posed for some photos! If anything though, it’s made it feel so much more real about doing this silly thing!

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Donate Here!


Writing my rant column about Devizes on Index, some years ago now, would rattle some cages on Facebook. The satire soared over the heads of some conservative-minded individuals. One commented “don’t give up the day job.” I replied, “for the record, I love my day job,” and, weather permitting, I do.

When children say what they want to be when they’re grownup, they tend to suggest jobs they see around them, a teacher, a policeman, something like that. With a love of drinking milk, I wanted to be a milkman, among other things. I’d take the bottles out of my fridge and place them on the neighbour’s doorsteps. They’d knock our door, bottles in hand, saying, “I think he’s been at it again!”

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Forward wind some decades, I figured of all the things, becoming a milkman was as unlikely as my idea to be an astronaut, being supermarkets had seen off the trade. When the job came up at Planks, I gave it a go, and after five years, never tire of it. There’s a tranquillity, a gratifying element to it beyond your average delivery driver. We are the fourth emergency service, supplying milk to those in far-flung villages who otherwise would have to travel some distance. This is warmly appreciated, particularly from the older generation, and with ecological awareness on plastic, the occupation is back in fashion.

Just so you know, Devizine is a hobby, you’ll be sadly mistaken if you think it prints money. Still, love doing this too. It became apparent when I made it a regular joke, readers thought it strange or didn’t believe I was really the milkman, so a month ago I posted video proof. Being I get quite a few strange looks, this day and age, trundling around in a milk float, it wouldn’t make the slightest difference if I did it dressed in my Spiderman onesie; would it? I asked you all if you’d dare me to do my milk round in my Spiderman onesie!

With great milk deliveries must also come great responsibilities, never ran over a hedgehog yet; they’re too fast for me! The poll exposed a slim majority (98%!) dared me to do it. So, I half-heartedly accept the challenge, but ask you to put your money where your mouth is; think we can raise some funds for Carmela, a five-year-old girl from Lavington with a very rare form of muscular dystrophy called LMNA Congenital Muscular Dystrophy? Then, I promise, to dooooo ittttt.

LMNA-CMD is a progressive muscle wasting disease that weakens the skeletal muscles, to the point where Carmela relies on a powerchair fulltime and needs someone to do everything for her. The heart and lungs are affected too. LMNA-CMD is incredibly rare with around only 50 known cases in the UK. Many years ago, affected children would typically die before the age of ten from respiratory and heart complications, but modern intervention has seen an increase in life expectancy. Carmela now has a 60-70% chance of living to sixteen. If lucky, she could make it to her twenties.

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All parents live to wonder, myself included, to their children’s future and inspire and encourage their success, as I watch my daughter run rings around me, football glued to her feet, I cannot imagine what life must be like for Carmela and her family at times. Though Carmela rarely doesn’t wear a smile. I’m no superhero by wearing a Spiderman onesie, more of a loon, but Carmela is.

Mind you, I received word she prefers Wonder Woman, but to see me in blue starry hot-pants is a step too far!

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There is no cure or treatment to slow down the disease but to help with the discomfort, pain and stiffness that comes with a progressive muscle wasting disease, Carmela requires daily mobility and stretching exercises, massages, hydrotherapy, swimming, and cycling using an adapted trike for low tone children. As her disease weakens her, adaptations in the garden and specialist equipment will change, costing in the thousands. For more information on Carmela’s story, see here: http://www.carmelasstanduptomusculardystrophy.co.uk/

My spider-senses are tingling, telling me I’ve got to do this, on Friday 9th August, weather permitting. I will take some photos and make a video diary of my morning, travelling through: Potterne, Worton, Great Cheverall, The Lavingtons, Easterton, Urchfont, Chirton, Patney, Beechingstoke, Woodborough, Marden and back into Devizes, before returning to Plank’s Dairy in Poulshot. I’ll also try a live stream to our Facebook page for the last part of the journey, and Carmela may join me at some point too! If this isn’t enough proof for you, I plan to stop outside the Bear Hotel in Devizes, Friday mid-morning where you can meet and laugh, I mean cheer me on!

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If there is to be a gathering, and any of my musical friends are free, I’d welcome you entertaining the any gathering few with an acoustic song or two, please let me know guys!

On the day, you should be able to track my progress on the Devizine Facebook page, and I’ll announce an ETA back into town; do, if you can support me, there will also be a bucket for donations, or you can use this donation page here. Please, I know times are tough, but one thousand four hundred bods like the Facebook page, near 40,000 of you read the website annually, if everyone just gave a pound coin, it’d make a massive difference to Carmela’s life. She’s such a happy-go-lucky five-year-old, despite this condition, and refuses to let it prevent her from smiling.

Here’s the link, let’s get this to as much as we can, help me by sharing and caring! If Steve Ditko could see me now… probably cry with laughter!

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Food Fight!

On the eve of The Devizes Food Festival announcing their schedule, I contemplate what attributes taste, be it class, culture or trends…..

 

You know, we chat and cover a lot of musical genres here, some are picky about what they like, but I think food is even more subjective. After all these years, for example, I just discovered the better half favours apricot jam tarts in an assortment box. That’s just weird, everyone knows the blackcurrant ones are the best and raspberry a close second.

More Facebook group members have fallen out over the great pineapple on pizza debate than Brexit. Forget fights over Oasis or Blur when you throw in a tin of Quality Street and ask them to arrange from best to worst. The other day, right, I took a shark-sized bite from a doughnut only to discover to my absolute horror, some compete psychopath had put custard in rather than jam. What kind of sicko even contemplates that?

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Pure Evil, at Asda

While many children will only eat a thing if it’s endorsed by Spongebob or their favourite superhero, (I appreciate this; love Peppa Pig, especially lying on a bread bed smothered in ketchup,) the affluent will consume any old entrails provided the name of it has been swanked up. Give it a Mediterranean namesake and they’ll pay triple the price-tag. I’m not buying it; crème Anglaise? Custard, mate. Jus, don’t give me jus, it’s watery gravy; stick another oxo cube in it for crying out loud. Fromage et jambon panini, yeah right, it’s a cheese and ham toastie, pal.

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Whether it’s pondering if peas should have a home in a pasty, or if gherkins belong in a Big Mac, what divides us all is our taste buds. They don’t rely on gender, race or religion, they just randomly respond to some things better than others, or do they? I mean, tastes can attribute to class; The Queen chomps on swans by the dozen, but I only get penguin biscuits. You can tell my working-class background by the stench of Iceland’s hotdog pizza on my breath. Yet when I spotted in their fridges a chicken tikka lasagne, even I considered it a trailer-trash step too far.

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Tastes also fluctuate depending on trends. Have you noticed, no one slices pork now? It’s got to be “pulled.” Pulled pork meant something entirely different when I was a teenager! My gran would slap us if she saw us buy a premade sandwich, yet delis sell them by the truckload. They sell grated cheese in bags, we buy it; have cheese grater, left abandoned, crying in the cupboard.

It also attributes to culture, yet exploited by soundbites like delicacy or gourmet. What may be considered an exotic delicacy here, is actually staple diet elsewhere, because it’s cheap and in abundance. Take maple syrup, so pricey for a drizzle, yet lucky Canadian’s have it running from a third tap!

Maple Syrup Weekend

Rice, couscous and noodles are popular in Asia because they are obtainable and economical, treated like potato and bread here. Yet we lap these things up. There’s posh pubs in East London who sell tourists plates of pie with eel liquor as if it’s a local delicacy, a word usually meaning rare, luxurious food, sophisticated. EastEnders ate ‘pie n mash’ because of poverty, eels were leftovers at the port, just as lobsters were too in North America until the mid-19th century.

By Dickens, how far are you willing to take it, gruel? Japanese Fugu, or bird’s nest stew? Flamingo tongue, a prized dish in ancient Rome. Escamoles in Mexico, that’s ant’s larvae to you and me. Half a million dogs are slaughtered annually for meat in the Philippines; teatime kids! I know we must convert to vegan, but think “bacon” and it’s an ecological step too far for me. I can and will eat vegetarian food, so long as there’s a chicken on the side.

If it’s not the ingredients it the presentation, honestly, I don’t care if it’s slopped on a plate like a car crash, dribbling over the edges, provided it tastes nice. I don’t need to be waiting an extra ten minutes for you to “plate-up,” carefully aligning each faultlessly equilateral chip atop of my cod, delicately garnished with a smudged splash of ketchup and pea puree. That’s if it’s served on a plate at all. Masterchef, right, seems the strength of the “dish” is based upon purposely not being on a dish at all. What’s wrong with a plate? Spaghetti Carbonara served in an old go-kart tyre, beef wellington in an actual welly. Duck-a-l’orange in a paddling pool, minted lamb kebabs on a pavement slab, that kind of thing; nobody order the coq-a-vin.

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If I contemplate it’s all a bit much, I digest the Devizes Food Festival have launched this year’s events on a new website, by a new committee. 28th September to 6th October, sets the dates, time enough for you get over my rant about habits in the Philippines. They’ve adopted the pineapple as their logo, but why, you may ask. Interestingly, you can grow pineapples in the UK with use of a polytunnel; who knew and why didn’t they tell me? Because I’d go scrumping no doubt; blinkin’ love pineapple, me.

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Partly because the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality and friendship, the connection is Adam Taylor’s ‘A Gardener near Devizes.’ Published in 1769, there’s a treatise on how to grow a pineapple. No polytunnel needed to heat it, he used a horse manure pit, probably for the first time too. This pineapple hothouse meant smaller estates could afford to serve pineapple, but did Adam order it as a topping from Dominoes, I ask you?!

For the duration of the festival you can pick up a Pineapple Trail Sheet (for a small contribution) from Devizes Books or Wiltshire Museum during the Festival, and hunt for Princess Pineapple, and her eleven friends, peeking out from shop windows throughout Devizes. The Museum will also hold a display on the Pineapple, both in the treatise, and local architecture; yeah, you seen it too, just can’t think where!

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The Devizes Food Festival has a varied range of events. Devizes Mayor Judy Rose will be officially opening the Festival at the Corn Exchange for a FREE World Food Lunch on Sunday 29th September from 12.30. There you can explore the globe on a plate. With a handful of 50p vouchers to exchange, local residents with far flung roots invite you to sample a family favourite from their homeland, from the cuisines of Poland, New Zealand, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Fiji, the USA, Scotland, France and plenty more nations of the world. I asked if I could rustle up my Essex-stylee beans on toast speciality without response; what? It’s got Maldon sea salt on it.

Many other events seem to be about eating in strange places; Town Hall lock-up, Kennet Furniture Refurbiz, the bell tower at St Mary’s and even Erlestoke prison; porridge anyone? There are the usual food quiz and Come Dine With Us events, visits to Wadworth, a’Becketts Vineyard in Littleton Panell, East Farm at Winterbourne Monkton and a pumpkin prowl at VP Collins, Bromham. Oh, and it’s pizza time at Vaughan’s Cookery School. Peter, please divulge your opinion on pineapple on pizza.

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Check the website for details, of course the grandest moment in the Festival is the marvellous market, on the 28th September at the Market Place. I had a feast there last year, enough me to stop fussing about apricot jam tarts, custard doughnuts, Escamoles and why pork has to be pulled rather than sliced these days. Guess I’m obsolete, pass the prawn cocktail and switch on the teasmade.

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© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

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REVIEW –Vince Bell – 7th July 2019 @ The White Bear, Devizes

VB @ the WB!

Andy Fawthrop

 

OK so it’s the day after the (wonderful!) Devizes Beer Festival and you’ve worked your way through the hangover. You’re starting to feel normal again, but the sun is still shining, the world is still a beautiful place, and you really don’t want to start thinking about Monday just yet. What you gonna do?

Well, here’s a possible solution – head on down to the White Bear. Let me explain.

The White Bear (one of the oldest pubs in Devizes, blue plaque on the wall, blah, blah, blah) is rather on the up over the past few months. New landlords Marc & Georgie have been transforming the place since they moved in. Not only do they have an agreement with Wadworth that the pub can also supply a limited range of non-Wadworth beers on their pumps, and not only has chef Marc shaken up the menu with some glorious and interesting new food choices, and not only do they have some wonderful B&B accommodation, but now they are experimenting with providing a new laid-back music venue.

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The plan is to feature a different artist every Sunday in the 5pm to 7pm slot, in a small, intimate venue with good food and beer, and to create a pleasant and laid-back vibe, perfect for winding down the week-end.

First up this Sunday was local musical hero Vince Bell. But before he took to the mic we had a great support slot from Fraser Tilley, who turned in an enthusiastic and lively set featuring both original and covers material (Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, T. Rex and others). He in turn was supported by drummer Tim Watts, laying down some very gentle percussion accompaniment (having played with It’s Complicated at the previous day’s Devizes Beer Festival). The two of them provided exactly what was needed – an uncomplicated (geddit?) drift of songs that had the audience listening and applauding.

After a short break, Tim stuck around to accompany main man Vince. Last time I saw Vince was a few weeks back at Long Street Blues Club, playing support act to Skinny Molly in front of a very large and noisy audience. On Sunday the audience was much smaller, much more intimate, but equally enthusiastic. Vince seemed relaxed and quickly established an easy rapport with the assembled crew, which (obviously) included many local friends. His choice of material was good, mixing his own self-penned numbers, with a few covers including those from a certain Mr Bowie, the Killers, David Gray etc. For an encore he asked the audience which they’d prefer – one his songs? Or a cover? The audience wanted both, and that’s what Vince obligingly delivered.

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So, for the launch of yet another musical venue in The Vize, was it a success? An unequivocal thumbs-up from here – good venue, good beer, good food, nice cool atmosphere and, of course, some great music.

Future gigs are to be announced, but next Sunday (14th July) is already lined up with Bristol-based singer/ songwriter Andy Juan.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

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Devizes First Scooter Rally; A Historic Weekend

Chatting to Gouldy of the Daybreakers, due to play Minety Festival the following day, we mutually complimented the setup at The Devizes Scooter Rally. Pleased for his input, as there was always a risk, being this is my first scooter rally, that any review would be comparable to a festival. Prior to the event, I admit I was mindful to this, telling myself not to hype it, as it’s a scooter rally, not a festival. Yet Gouldy described the archetypical rally as lesser in design and setup than your average festival. Given this notion I encouraged The Scooter Club to embrace wider appeal; they were in agreeance, it wowed and will undoubtedly go down in Rowde’s history.

This paid off, for two years in the planning, and some bumps between us along the way, the Devizes Scooter Rally was uniquely designed and executed with individualism and panache, binding a positive festival vibe with the style of a scooter rally, surely producing an event to shame other similarly labelled events; and all for the first time too.

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Booking The Tribe, Swindon’s hip hop-reggae whizzers, popular on said festival scene, was attributed to this notion; partly my suggestion, but to open wasn’t. Perhaps this wildcard could’ve fitted later, yet, their wider appeal indeed took the younger’s interest, even if not digested by traditional scooterists. They played an arresting and dynamic set as always, rapper AJ Mayhew joining the slight crowd for a dance momentously inspiring for the younger.

More so, it was the plentiful choice of food stalls, bars and side attractions which blessed this event with that genuine festival feel, as opposed to the average rally’s hashed barbeque, hosted by the least drunken skinhead, and the bar being the pub across the road! All slight, but there were fair stalls, rides and a bouncy castle to keep young ones amused. Food stalls of pizza, noodles, burgers, hog roast varied catering, retro clothes stalls and the Vespa Owners Club had travelled afar to join many local ventures such as Vinyl Realm holding their first stand.

Aside the brilliant homemade bar, with pumps and Pimms, which was reasonably priced even for a pub, let alone event, choices were also available, from separate coffee or Prosecco bars, and the strikingly Caribbean yet local rum distributor Muck & Dunder’s mobile bar, which I could make my second home!

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So fruitfully the Scooter Rally developed, combining the favourable elements of festivals and scooter rallies equally to create what they wished, done their own, localised way. Villagers and Devizes residents mingled with widespread scooter aficionados in a joyful ambience. Meeting enthusiasts who’d journeyed from the North, or Exeter, was amalgamated with strictly Rowde branded humour, such as parish councillor, dubbed “Rowde Mayor,” John Dalley, who had his head shaved by Tracie Lawson of Devizes Beauty Boutique for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

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Late Friday evening, drinks may’ve flowed, but chatting to DSC Colonel, Adam Ford, there was little doubt, though the monumental organisation thrusted into an event of this calibre, that he’d do it all again, next year. For when it came together, a fabulous time was had by all and full marks must be awarded to all members of the club.

To nit-pick there will be lessons learned, the PA needed a little hoof, least villagers only went to their Facebook group to inquire where the wonderful music was ascending from, rather than complain. This came to a head at the concluding act, Bad Manners tribute, The Special Brew, who worked professionally through technical faults to bring a madcap finale we’ll be talking about for years to come. Lighting and washing facilities for those camping, may also have been on the hitlist, though elements ramp the ticket stub, and it was ever kept a reasonable price.

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Friday then, and local folklore heroes, The DayBreakers followed the Tribe, with their wonderful brand of folky-retro-pop. South-coast’s ska legends Orange Street headlined with a tight and proficient set of ska and two-tone classics, they simply astounded, leaving us with little doubt the weekend was a winner.

Trilbies must also be raised to the solo effort from renowned DJ Terry Hendrick in the marquee, who both filled in whenever necessary and bought each evening to a climax. Neither angered by my pestering, browsing his astounding collection of seven-inch rarities, he even allowed me a little taster on his wheels of steel!

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Local retro covers band, Cover Up did a grand job opening Saturday’s live music, upon the return of the scooterists on a ride-out across Devizes and villages, parking by the stage for browsing devotees. For me, the highlight was always to be Swindon’s Erin Bardwell Collective, whose rock steady and boss reggae classics appropriately fit the sunny afternoon breeze. As well as Double Barrell, Let Your Yeah be Yeah, and Jackpot, there was a sublime cover of Horace Andy’s Skylarking, a blend of Harry J’s Liquidator with Staple Sister’s I’ll Take you There, and just one of their own songs, a new one called Just Loving You.

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The Start bought the event to boiling point, Essex’s finest gave us a loud and proud varied performance, shelling us with iconic Two-Tone and sixties to eighties mod-rock anthems which defined the eras. The Start were confident and highly enjoyable, rousing the crowd for Special Brew. If it was an unfortunate technical fault, worry didn’t project dismay, they battled through and such was the unabridged event, it mattered not.

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What a marvellous weekend, possibly the most bizarrely enlightening the village has ever seen, unless you different? Detroit USA, Kingston Jamaica, London, New York and Coventry; all established places on the soul & reggae map. Thanks to Devizes Scooter Club, we can now add Rowde to that map!

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© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Big Yellow Bus Project Comes to Swindon

In 2017 truck driver Gerry Watkins raised four grand to buy a double-decker bus which he converted it into a homeless shelter in Cirencester. The project was hailed a success and received media support, and live music fundraisers. With the Cirencester bus now fully refurbished with bed compartments containing timber-framed bunk beds, eating and kitchen areas with a wood-burner, Gerry vowed to bring the concept to other areas in the south west.

Today, he’s proud to bring the idea to Swindon, with a new bus in need of renovation. “I know Swindon needs more than just one bus, but this is a start,” he said.

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Such an inspiring DIY story shows the individual can make a difference, yet Gerry is keen to add, “the whole project relies on the sheer kindness of the community and fundraising events to raise funds to purchase materials.” After a campaign to local businesses, Gerry wanted to purchase the bus for £2,900, and told BBC News, “it’s in pretty good condition for the money I paid for it.”

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In March Charles Martell, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire paid The Big Yellow Bus Project a visit along with a longstanding supporter, Lady Bathurst, to present a cheque for £500. But the funding needs to continue. A variety of events have been arranged in the past to do just that, from seaside coach trips to bingo and raffle nights, fund raisers have also included some great punk and ska nights in Cirencester and Stroud, with the backing of local bands such as The Strays, Shaggy Dog Raconteurs, Train to Skaville, Ska-Bucks, Sugar Motown and Plucking Different. Here’s hoping the support will be continued in this new project.

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All the work carried out for the previous project was checked by the relevant authority and any homeless person using the bus must be signed up to a rehabilitation course. Gerry also hopes to set up training courses to help the homeless get back into work. We wish Gerry all the best with this outstanding contribution to a growing problem in the South West, please, if you can, show some support for this inspirational project, here.

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© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

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Female of the Species, Back for 2019!

Even if they are deadlier than the male, Devzine still loves The Female of the Species. Separate they are dynamic performers, each assigned to the crème of local bands, but when they get together it’s like the Spice Girls were librarians. We’ve covered their Melksham Assembly Hall annual fundraising gigs in the past, now they look set to take 2019 too.

Recently announced date with the ladies then, 30th November and supported by some so far unannounced special guests, this show will be knockout, believe me, witnessed it last time. It’s becoming as traditional as Christmas, this annual jaunt for solo singer Charmaigne Andrews, Jules Morton of Train to Skaville, Nicky Davis of the Reason, Julia Greenland of Soulville Express and last but my no means least, the one and only Claire Perry of Big Mamma’s Banned.

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They blend all their separate influences to create one super party as polished as Mrs Bucket’s (pronounced Bouquet) mantlepiece, and as about as much fun as an orgy in zero G, not nearly as fruity, but it does at times border. Devizine interviewed them all in one go, a occasion I’ve still not recovered fully from, and we celebrate this announcement with bell on.

So, bookmark the date, tenner tax, and all, I mean all, proceeds go to a chosen charity each year. This time it’s for Stepping Stones. Stepping Stones is an Opportunity Group for children with special needs. From Ages 0-5 with varying levels of need, Stepping Stones, based in Trowbridge, covers the West Wiltshire Area from Trowbridge, Melksham, Westbury, Warminster, Bradford on Avon and all the surrounding villages.

 

This non-profit organisation is only partly funded by Wiltshire County Council. Each year they have to raise £40,000 in order to continue to provide the service to the children. They pay for extra therapy sessions for the children and also fully fund both the Music therapy and Hydrotherapy sessions. There can be no better way to support this worthy charity then to party with the Female of the Species!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

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Daydreamers Run Away to a Fairy Tale Scene

The new single from Daydream Runaways is out on Thursday; I get a sneaky listen to it…..

Beginning of May and we had nothing but praise for debut single, Light the Spark, from indie-pop four-piece, Daydream Runaways. Since, they’ve enjoyed home gigs at Devizes’ Southgate, and Calne’s Talbot Inn, ventured further afield, supporting Aidan Simpson at Mr Wolf’s in Bristol and whipped up foodies on the main stage at Longleat Food & Drink Festival.

It’s little wonder why they’ve received glowing reviews on Broadtube Music Channel and OddNugget as well as right here, but just to confirm the dedication to their music is paying off, I’ve got the next single playing, due for release on Thursday (4th July.)

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Continuing on the panache of uplifting indie with a danceable edge, the next single, Fairy-Tale Scene, delivers this with urgency and attitude, a romantic theme at its core. Universal lyrics evokes the lustful, living-for-the-moment ethos of an initial, chance meeting evident in modern relationships, rather than the heading’s reference to a fairy tale romance.

The opening riff reminds me the House Martins, an energetic Happy Hour track indeed, as it runs its two-minute-forty catchy melody pop-tastically, with slight eighties, pre-indie label overtones. Yet, I mean that in a good way, honest I do; it’s well-crafted, a smooth, beguiling number that I’d consider an improvement on Light the Spark.

I pictured the adolescent emotional closing of The Breakfast Club during my listen; Judd hands the earing to Molly and she slips it into her ear, as Simple Minds cry Don’t You Forget About Me. I don’t know about you, but my school detentions never ended anything nearly as quixotically starry-eyed!

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That was the beauty of those John Hughes teenage rom-coms, the endearing, fairy-tale conclusion, the sincerity of youthful relationships, of impending love against peer-pressure, but never without the evoking mood of a classic song, breathing gist and passion into the climax. Watch the final scene of The Breakfast Club, or Pretty in Pink with the sound muted, just not so tear-dropping without the song. That is the key to the theme of Daydream Runaways’ Fairy-Tale Scene, almost reflecting their namesake, and it drives it forward wonderfully.

If John Hughes had this single on his desk in 1984, he’d have been imprudent not to at least consider using it. Well done to Ben, Cameron, Nath and Bradley, they will be an unmissable hit at DOCA’s Street Festival, playing our brand-new Vinyl Realm stage, prior, catch them at the New Inn Melksham on the Friday 5th July for the launch party of the single, and later when they return to the Southgate on 30th August.

Pre-Save the single here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/daydreamrunaways/fairytale-scene

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Images by Anabella Kazubska

© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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