Festival of Winter Ales: the line-up….

I’ll hold my hands up, somebody put half an ale in one, because my guilty confession is, I’ve not yet had the opportunity to doDOCA’s annual Festival of Winter Ales. This’ll change this year, attendees will have the added bonus of me sauntering about dribbling piffle, but if I tell you what acts are appearing, it won’t put you off too much!


If, like me, you’re an apple-a-day chap, you’ll be pleased to note as it’s held in collaboration with Stealth Brewery, they’ve ciders as well as ale. Our man Andy Fawthrop tells me there’s usually ten-twelve types of cider; just enough for me! That said, when in Rome; I maybe, just maybe, open to ale conversion for the duration only. Double-whammy, to soak it up they have to pie too. Andy can’t review it though, as he’s there in a professional calibre, and I simply won’t allow anyone to review an event they helped organise ……ehm …. (okay; in-house joke if you note our last article it might, I said might, just amuse.)

Matt Barnard pint
Matt Barnard

So, down to me then, a harsh critic softened by alcohol. But Matt Barnard I suspect will swing it. DOCA aim to make it cabaret; Matt has performed across the world as a compere, actor, musician, singer and as himself in this unique one man show he brings to the festival.

He was the resident compere of the cult Sensation Seekers Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, starred in London’s oldest variety show in the West End in and performed his unique act at the famous London Palladium. He also appeared in the Hollywood movie Mrs Henderson Presents in which he performed the famous sand-dance with Gareth Jones. Matt Barnard has won many awards for his solo show including at the Feldkircher Gaukler Theatre Festival in Austria.

Matt Bernard
Just because Matt Barnard does it, doesn’t mean you should try this at home

It should be noted the festival spans over Friday and Saturday (28th and 29th February.) Both days are divided into two sessions. While Matt covers all, there’s a different act for each session; pleased to see they’re some of our local favs. I imagine half-cut real ale fans ushered out via a digital sign, like at the Oasis leisure centre, “yellow wristbands your time is up!” But attendees for the early slot on Friday, for example, might not ever leave (another local joke); Devizes-own Vince Bell booked and all. We need not bio Vince, surely? His emotive lyrics, constructed from personal experience or annotations of the area are always delivered with passion, proper job.

vince bell
You ain’t ever leaving.  Our Vince. Image by Nick Padmore

Swindon-based folk-rock four-piece, Splat The Rat slap the Friday late slot. Taking songs of old and giving them a modern going over, they’ve nailed many great gigs locally, none I’ve personally witnessed, but they’re high on my things-to-do list. Expect lively arrangements, singalong songs and a rousing good time. https://www.facebook.com/splattherat/

splat the rat
Splat the Rat

Things get complicated Saturday afternoon. An extensive cross-section of original songs and rearranged covers, It’s Complicated make them their own. Yet it’s not just what they do with It’s Complicated, it’s the way that they do it! Take it from me, it’s not complicated at all, in fact it’s simply enticing, marvellously professional, and when Jacqueline sings Etta James, oh my. https://www.facebook.com/Its-Complicated-364813334370698/

It’s Complicated

Worthy to note, if you do this slot, you could jog over to the Town Hall and catch them again, with Daydream Runaways. I’m planning to; you could carry me! Devizes Town Hall plays host to a black-tie Casino Royale evening for Just4Children’s ‘Carmela’s Fight to Stay Mobile.’ See here for details.

Kris Dollimore
Kris Dollimore

Back at the Corn Exchange Saturday night is all about Kris Dollimore. He’s played with many international bands and artists including The Godfathers, The Damned, Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Thunders. He’s also a member of Del Amitri. As a solo artist Kris has toured the length and breadth of the UK & Europe performing at clubs, venues and festivals. He has also released four critically acclaimed solo albums. Kris’s guitar skills have always been admired in whichever genre he has played. A man, a guitar and a voice. With a largely acoustic repertoire, precision playing is expected and delivered, earning him a hard core following of loyal fans and admirers. Expect bluesy guitar playing, soulful singing, and foot stomping sounds. https://www.facebook.com/KrisDollimoreMusic/

I’m looking forward to (hic!) breaking my Winter of Festive Ales cherry, be there, tickets here, see if I can handle it!

© 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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Night for the Waiblingen Way Fire Fund

Featured image by Gail Foster.

All Images by Nick Padmore, unless otherwise stated.

Reviewing my own organised event being a slightly naughty and obviously bias idea, I’d still like to notify you how it went. View this then as a journal entry of my weekend as opposed to a review, per se, and the opportunity to thank everyone who kindly offered their time to help…. 

Chloe Jordan

Returned now from a frosty Sunday morning in Potterne; my son had a taster piano lesson at CJ School of Music. Andrew Hurst presented a one-on-one introduction to music in such a friendly and humble manner he was immediately absorbed, and playing a simple tune in under half-hour. It’s something I cannot help him with; not a musical note in me, but I have a fascination and respect for those who can; you knew that much.

Coincidently his lesson should be the morning after the originator of this wonderful and newly opened music school, soprano singer Chloe Jordan, held a surprised Cellar Bar spellbound. Not before thirteen-year-old piano prodigy Will Foulstone, a pupil of CJ’s music school did likewise. Will featured on Devizine back in April 2018, when a video of him playing attracted the interest of Danny O’Donoghue, frontman and pianist of The Script and coach on the Voice UK. A surprise meeting with Danny saw Will jamming with The Script at the O2 arena.

The Amazing Will Foulstone. My dodgy photography!

Well, our Cellar Bar may not be the O2 arena, but Will was welcomed, and his piano interpretations of era-spanning pop was the perfect opening for our fundraiser. For though it maybe a January night where the temperature nose-dived, a fair crowd turned out, in what I wanted to be a celebration of how our town can bond and support in crisis, rather than a sombre occasion. Yet with the collaboration of an assorted bunch of local acts, it reflected both moods equally, I feel. For Liz Denbury has already done a sterling job, raising £4,000 for those affected by December’s fire in the flats of Waiblingen Way. If this could top it up it would’ve been nice, but I was determined not to pressure for any contribution, as so many have already chipped in. Delighted to report then, the evening raised a further £292 for the cause.


While the Cellar Bar hosts the brilliant Open Mic nights, every last Thursday of the month, I’d wager such diversity to appease my eclectic taste buds and especially, a soprano singer casting so wonderfully into the air the sound of opera, has not been seen in the venue for many-a-year. Though accompanist Susan Braunton and Chloe best played to the crowd, and wowed them with popular offerings, such as the Frozen theme, a Greatest Show song, and an own-penned amusing children’s song, as well as opera. Best heard in a church or concert hall, Chloe won the hearts of an alternative crowd, if leaving us with a dilemma of how to follow such a class appearance.

Liz Denbury who set up the Waiblingen Way Fire Fund. You can still donate here.

Mirko & Bran; The Celtic Roots Collective

Contrast, the order of the day. A switch to folk with Mirko and Bran of the Celtic Roots Collective. A duo who simply improve with every gig, in confidence and technique. Their brand of an Irish folk style throws known foot-tappers and rock songs into the melting pot. Through Whisky in a Jar, Dirty Old Town they rode, to traditional songs and the Irish Rover; with their help, things were beginning to return to the Cellar Bar’s usual ethos.


Unscheduled but always welcomed at our gigs, poet Gail Foster arrived with two poignant sonnets, relating to the cause and delivered with personal emotion, “You didn’t see me, right?” and “Come, Friendly Bulldozers to Wobbly Way.” Thank you, Gail, spot on as usual; I’m so glad you made it.

Gail Foster

Time for acoustic singer-songwriter, Ben Borrill and guitar to step up to the cobblestone stage, and he did with gusto, humour and his untroubled attitude to performance. This cool and modesty grounds underestimation of Ben in some, I feel, who launched into covers with ease, causally making them his own, and it exhibited in eminence, skill and entertainment value, which was also touching, considering why we were there.


It’s no wonder our headline act looks to Ben as their choicest support act. After a few words of thanks from Liz Denbury, it was time for the band who’d been hanging around all afternoon setting up gear, to finally conclude the night. Doubtless was I, that Daydream Runaways would capture the audience with a lively finale, but with augmented professionalism since I last saw them live, they exceeded my expectation.

Daydream Runaways. Image by Gail Foster

I was honoured, as prior to the opening, I was treated to a taster while they tuned, and retained the secret they’d cover Blur’s Song Two, for instance. It was there we spoke of future plans. Being we’ve fondly reviewed their singles, I asked whether an album was in the pipeline. It’s never a simple question in this era of changing formats, I know some hold favouritism of EPs, whereby others strive for an album. This caused a differing opinion between drummer Brad Kinsey and guitarist Cameron Bianchi, but without tension they debated the idea. Diplomacy between gentle banter displays strong unity in this Swindon-Devizes amalgamation, both on and offstage. Despite powerfully-themed tunes such as Closing the Line, with despairing narrative of the closure of the Honda Plant in Swindon, I sense unison, but figure they’ve not reached their magnum opus yet. Hold tight for that moment.


With youth on their side, Daydream Runaways need not daydream at all, and it seems plans are little more than to continue on the current path. Thoroughly relishing every moment projects to the audience for The Daydreamers, they lap it up. Frontman, for want of a better term as they’re glue, Ben Heathcote oozes enthusiasm and unveils this joyful aura over the crowd, with the talent to back it up. Meanwhile bassist, Nath Heathcote seems quietly confident of their astounding impact.


Fused with a selection of classic indie favourites, they slide in their own compositions unabridged and without complaint, as if these are equal in importance to the crowd, as they obviously are to the band. After just over a year, I honestly think they’re fast becoming so. This comes from hard work and dedication, and it really shows in this lively indie-pop four-piece. I may have high hopes for these guys, but after tonight the crowd at the Cellar Bar have joined those at Vinyl Realm’s stage at the Street Festival, and the Southgate in understanding why I crowned them best newcomer this year.


Phew, what a blinding finale to an awesome night, I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their absolutely brilliant and individual performances. I also thank the staff at the Cellar Bar, to Liz, and obviously all who braved the winter chill to join us. It’s heart-warming and makes Devizine feel actual to me to stage such events. A big thank you also goes to Mike Barham, for despite having to venture off with his band Nerve Endings and not getting to fulfil the bill this time, rolled in earlier than I to setup and do the tech stuff. With quality such as this, I’d welcome the idea of future fundraising gigs which celebrate all that’s amazing on our local scene; cheers to all, see you at the next one!


© 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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First Devizine Presents gig of the Year on Saturday, see you there!

We’re getting all excited here at Devizine towers, as the band I tipped best newcomer of last year, Daydream Runaways are heading the Cellar Bar on Saturday night in an event we’re proud to put our name to. In fact, I take no credit, it was the band’s idea. I’m there purely to prop up the bar, which would be better than allowing me to sing, and encourage you to bundle me if I was to even contemplate it.


It’s been a rather rushed-out and impromptu gig, and now I find myself disquietingly anxious you will be there. January is a quiet month, people strapped for cash and the weather doing its wettest. It’s your job, and all I will ask of you, to prove me wrong. I look forward to meeting you all on Saturday night. We’ve stated we’re kicking it off at 7pm, might start a little later, I don’t wish for anyone to be playing to minimal audience, so I encourage you to get early tucker and pop in as soon as possible.

January it is though, as we’re urgently fundraising for the Wailblingen Way Fire Fund which Liz Denbury has worked so hard to promote. It’s been a huge success already, that is why the event is free. If you’ve already donated, we thank you, and welcome you to this treat. There will be a chance to contribute to the fund at the door, but without hassle. I’d be the world’s worst chugger! View this, though it may become a sombre occasion at times, being for an issue which has touched us all emotionally, but I ask we view it as a celebration also, of how at times to tragedy we can bond and raise such a wonderful amount of money. Liz will be on hand to explain how and why she has fronted this cause, and will give us a few words on the night.


I’m delighted to announce Chloe Jordan will be performing, adding especially to the eclectic nature of our line-up. Chloe is a local soprano singer with a breath-taking voice and blossoming career after training with internationally renowned soprano Janice Watson. She has also recently opened a new school of music in Potterne called CJ School of Music of which I’ll tell more about in the coming month. I do not know exactly what to expect from Chloe at this stage, as to what she will sing, note it will be classical-related and know it will be awesome!


Sadly, Mr Mike Barham, who is billed, has had to decline last minute. Nerve Endings won a competition in Bracknell, I’m told, and play the final heat there, or least something like this. I congratulate Mike, Rob and Luke; knew you could do it. But, dedicated to this gig from the off, Mike has agreed to drop in early in order to set it up for us prior to setting off for Bracknell; so, cheers, Mike, total legend.

To replace Mike we had two, as the guy takes the space of two, but if you heard the fantastic Patrick Goodenough was coming, I said those words but I lied them. Unfortunately, Patrick has had to pulled out, but local singer-songwriter, Ben Borrill will be there. Ben, a regular support for Daydream Runaways, brings an accomplished acoustic set with a passionate delivery and a charming persona; can’t wait to catch up with him.


Slotted somewhere in the middle we will be treated to Mirko and Bran’s Celtic Roots Collective, who are gathering local bookings with their brilliant take on Irish folk fused rock. Foot-stomping sing-along tunes that they are! All we need now is you, watch those slippery steps and please, come on down, as despite all these great acts kindly contributing their time and effort, it wouldn’t be the same without you, especially if you bring me a cupcake.


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Three-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee, Josie Long Coming to Bath

Three-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Josie Long brings her latest show, Tender, to the Bath Komedia on 20th February. Josie is back on the road with a brand-new show about the mind-bending intensity of new motherhood, but it is also about kindness, gentleness and joy.

A cult-optimist herself, Josie wants her audiences to feel optimistic about the future, although in this current day and age, that’s a big ask. But at the very least there will be some silly voices. Society’s biggest issues that we’re facing today, from climate change to Boris Johnson, cannot be ignored, but Tender’s main focus is about bringing new life into this ever-changing world.

Image by Idil Sukan Draw HQ

Having started performing comedy at just 14, Josie went on to win the BBC New Comedy Award, Chortle Best Newcomer, Best Newcomer at the 2006 Edinburgh Comedy Awards and then was nominated for Best Show at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards three years running. She has since sold out West End runs, performed at the most prestigious comedy festivals in the world, written five solo tours and sold out shows in LA and New York.

On screen, Josie has been seen on 8 Out of 10 Cats (Channel 4), Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC2), You Have Been Watching (Channel 4) and Skins (Channel 4), for which she also wrote. She has presented on BBC 6Music, was nominated for a Radio Academy Award for her adventurous short documentaries Short Cuts on Radio 4 and earned a BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award nomination for her two short feature films, Let’s Go Swimming and Romance and Adventure and her recent feature film, Super November, was nominated for a BIFA Discovery Award.

Josie Long
Josie Long Image by Giles Smith

In 2011, Josie started an ongoing project called the Alternative Reality Tour; an anti-cuts, pro-youth, no-profit performance in a bid to fight for social justice and support public art, and is co-founder of the Arts Emergency Service, a charity which aims to support students from underprivileged backgrounds who wish to study arts degrees.

Josie’s new podcast Speaking with Shadows is available now at: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/inspire-me/speaking-with-shadows/episode-1/ Her previous show, Cara Josephine, is available to watch on Soho Theatre on Demand at: http://www.sohotheatreondemand.com/show/josie-long All The Planets Wonders and Josie and Jonny Are Having a Baby (With You!) are available to download via Josie’s website http://www.josielong.com

Click to buy Tickets

★★★★★ “Riotously hilarious…such a uniquely optimistic hour of comedy…it is a dose of medicine which is so very needed” THE SKINNY
★★★★★ “A playful and intelligent hour” ONE4REVIEW
★★★★★ “Beautifully written… you leave feeling hopeful, with enough energy to keep fighting and a good dose of joy and silliness” FUNNY WOMEN
★★★★★ “Incredibly funny… a joy throughout” YOUNG PERSPECTIVE
★★★★ “The mother lode of love, joy and laughs” THE GUARDIAN
★★★★ “What a delight it is to have Josie Long back… the perfect cure for a spot of November SAD” THE TELEGRAPH
★★★★ “In Long’s hands, the material is revitalised… there’s something refreshing and sort of revolutionary about it” THE i
★★★★ “Articulate, passionate and intense, but heart-warmingly funny, too” EVENING STANDARD
★★★★ “Her relentless cheeriness would win over even the most cynical of hearts” THE ARTS DESK
★★★★ “As infectious as always…Tender is explicitly personal and positive” THE SCOTSMAN
★★★★ “It’s a genuine joy to spend an hour with Long” THE LIST
★★★★ “Long’s skill as a comedian is undimmed… so personal and so humorous with it, too” FEST
★★★★ “There is so much love in the room for Josie Long” EDINBURGH FESTIVAL MAGAZINE
★★★★ “We need people like Josie Long now more than ever” BROADWAYBABY
★★★★ “A cleverly constructed and thoughtful show” THE WEE REVIEW

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Celebrate Chinese New Year with Alzheimer’s Support, Chef Peter Vaughan & Indecision

Celebrate Chinese New Year and support one of Wiltshire’s best loved charities.


What better way to celebrate the Chinese New Year than a 3-course Chinese meal cooked by Chef Peter Vaughan of Vaughan’s Kitchen and dancing the night away to the ever-popular local live band, Indecision?


Alzheimer’s Support have a fundraising dinner and dance at Devizes Sports Club at 7pm on January 31st, and it promises to be a fantastic evening out to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Cor, I love eating Chinese food; if it was an Olympic event I’d get a gold! But I’ve never tried any of food magician Peter’s, although, unlike a magician, he intends to show you how he does some of his tricks. Guests will be treated to a cooking demonstration from Peter before the dance.


Warning: do not read this next bit on an empty stomach, the menu looks like this:

Starters: Prawn crackers; Assorted Dim sum; Yuk Shung (Chinese Lettuce wrap)
Main course: Aromatic Wiltshire pork Szechuan Pepper; Crispy tofu hoisin sauce (vegetarian); Egg fried rice with Chinese 5 spice; Stir fry of Chinese leaves with pickled ginger
Dessert: Chinese pineapple apricot cake with mango & lime cream

The evening comes at the end of the winter’s bleakest month, so why not jazz up January with a great night out? Tickets at £30 a head include a three-course meal and drink on arrival. All proceeds will go to support people living with dementia in Wiltshire.

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A Dirty Harry, some Ex-Men, a One Love Orchestra and more @ MantonFest 2020

Tickets for this summer’s Manton-Fest are up for grabs, a one-day festival I’ve heard only good things about.

The date is Saturday 27th June. A £20 Early-bird ticket will guarantee you’re in for this previously sold-out mini-fest, this year you can book a plot for your gazebo for £5, parking has been moved to a separate field allowing more space, but let’s see what your money will get you this year shall we?

The headliner is Edinburgh’s Blondie tribute, Dirty Harry. While there’s Blondie tributes aplenty, the band say, “the essence of Dirty Harry is to put on a show Blondie would give the nod to and in true punk style.” Call me, I’m convinced, and slightly hot under the collar; with the advantage of YouTube you can judge for yourself, modern technology eh?

The Ex-Men are next on the hierarchy, as the name suggests, it’s an amalgamation group made up of Alan Sagar ex Big Country, Graham Pollock ex The Hollies, Peter Barton ex the Animals, Phil Bates ex ELO and Geoff Hammond ex Denny Laine; you get the idea. A stimulating sounding assembly with a wealth of experience between them couldn’t possibly go wrong.

The Ex-Men

Vintage blues with a hard edge groove is the ethos of Barrelhouse, who promise up-beat original tracks and classic covers. You be forgiven for assuming the Swinging Blue Jeans would headline, but this classic-sixties rock n roll group have no members of the original skiffle sextet. Yet the band went through constant changes throughout its expansive history, with replacements dating back as far as 1963, when they had their memorable hit, “Hippy Hippy Shake,” and frontman Alan Lovell has led the band for over twenty years.

London-based Bob Marley tribute, the One Love Orchestra could well be my arm twister. Formed in 2010, by musical director and lead guitarist Marcin Bobkowski, One Love Orchestra comprises of reggae musicians who’ve worked with legends like The Wailers, Max Romeo, Johnny Osbourne, Lee Scratch Perry, and UB40, and bring a moving tribute to the legend.

Lancashire singer-songwriter Joe Martin returns after being a hit last year, Manton’s own mellow blues-based Ed Witcomb will also appear, along with local rock covers band @59, and Skedaddle open the show with their mix of soul, blues and jazz. More are promised, if this isn’t enough to be getting on with, and I dunno, it just sounds like a splendid day. For what begun as an event to aid much-needed restoration funds for Manton Village Hall, its grown into an important occasion on our local circuit and aids other local charities.

Ed Witcomb

More info and for tickets look ‘ere….


© 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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PREVIEW: Bradford Roots Music Festival 17th – 19th January 2020 @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford

Andy Fawthrop

If you’re looking for a whole week-end of music-based events, with lots of sessions for children too, then you should do yourself a favour and head over to Bradford-On-Avon. It’s a bit out of D-Town I know, but it doesn’t take long to just tootle over to the really splendid Wiltshire Music Centre.

Now in its eighth year, Bradford Roots Music Festival, now extended to three days, is all about two things – showcasing the vast array of musical talent that has any connection with Bradford, and raising (lots of) money for good causes. This year’s beneficiaries will be Dorothy House Hospice, Zone Club (creative club for disabled young adults) and Wiltshire Music Centre. All the artists play for nothing and the event is administered and operated wholly by volunteers. That way all the funds raised go to the good causes.

This year’s event starts next Friday night (17th Jan) with a concert featuring Louie Millar, Crossing The Rockies and Verdisa. This concert is almost sold out, so get your skates on!

Then the main two-day Festival spreads itself across Saturday and Sunday from 11am each day. Saturday’s programme goes through till 10pm, and Sunday’s programme finishes at 4pm. There are four stages in operation, including the superb main WMC auditorium. Over the two days there are more than fifty different acts scheduled to play, including music concerts, shanty sessions, children’s concerts, jazz, blues, poetry, morris dancing and much more.

Particular acts to look out for are The Magnificent AK47, Will Lawton & The Alchemists, Lee Broderick, Billy In The Lowground, and The Yirdbards, although there’s so much going on that it almost seems invidious to pick out individual artists.

roots 2020 flier-1

Apart from all the music events, there are several spaces given over to craft workshops, merchandising, tarot readings, a Peculiar Gin Company gin bar, a Box Steam main bar and an artisan fair. Just outside there’s a huge marquee hosting JC’s Kitchen, which runs all weekend serving hot drinks and great array of home-cooked food.

I can’t recommend this event highly enough – there genuinely is something for everyone to enjoy, with great food, great beer and a great atmosphere. It’s superb value for money and there’s plenty to do and see for children and for adults. If you’ve never been, I urge you to check it out. You can buy tickets online, or on the door. Day tickets for Saturday or Sunday are available, as well as a 2-day Weekender Ticket.

The Wiltshire Music Centre is also a superb venue in its own right, hosting a year-round programme of top UK and international artists from all genres – classical, folk, blues etc. Worth checking out if you are after top-class entertainment.

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