Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 1st – 7th February 2023

Thank the heavens we can kick January out of the door! It’s been a warmer week though, hasn’t it? Still wouldn’t reach for the Hawaiian shirts and straw sunhats just yet. The weather is a tease, loves to give you a taster of the potential of the coming season, then reverts without warning or the slightest concern that you risked lobbing your thermal long-johns in the wash!

Some people prefer winter though, apparently; weirdos! Here’s what we’ve found to do in Wiltshire for the rest of us; hermits stay in, covered in blankets, re-watching Wednesday and praying into a bag of cheesy puffs for season two! Get a life, Wiltshire is not a cultureless void, see below if you don’t believe me!

Links and details can be found on our event calendar: here. Just takes ages adding them in here a second time; ain’t nobody got time f’ dat!

Ladies Day continues at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes until Saturday 4th all sold out now, but the next production hosts improvised comedy Instant Wit, for one day and that day being 18th February. Not forgoing the welcome return of Devizes Film Club showing the 2020 film Minari, about a Korean-American family moving from California to a remote Arkansas farm in search of their own American dream. That is on Friday 9th February.


Pinch, punch, Wednesday 1st February it will be then, and Trowbridge’s Pump celebrates Independent Venue Week with The Howlers, Langkamer and Mumble Tide.

Regular acoustic jam at The Southgate, Devizes.

Seventh Avenue Arts presents Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years at Pound Arts, Corsham. Danny Baker’s Sausage Sandwich Tour comes the Wyvern, Swindon.

The Greatest Magician continues until 4th at Rondo Theatre, Bath, and staying in Bath, Monkey Bizzle meets The Scribes Komedia, Flats & Sharp at Chapel Arts, and Junior Bill at The Bell.


Thursday 2nd Quiz Night at The Devizes Literary & Scientific Institute in aid of Devizes & District Food Bank by Devizes Labour Party.

Moon plays The Vic in Swindon, Truck at The Tuppenny. Ben Portsmouth’s This is Elvis 2023 Tour at the Wyvern, and Limehouse Lizzy at Swindon Arts Centre.

Brennan Reece’s Crowded come to Rondo Theatre, Bath, and for music, find Del Barber & Band at Chapel Arts.

Still Moving DJs at Salisbury Arts Centre, Open Mic at The Winchester Gate, and Jamie Lingham’s regular From The Book at Brown Street, Salisbury.


Friday 3rd and it’s Potterne Cricket Club’s Quiz Night at Potterne Village Hall.

While revellers descend on Weston-Super-Mare for the Incider Festival, Jaz Delorean is at The Pump, Trowbridge, but I believe is near sold out, you’ll need to be quick, or own a time machine for this one!

A new regular feature at The Barge on Honey Street, open mic session continues Friday.

Sophie Duker’s Hag at Pound Arts, Corsham, Phoenix Dance Presents ‘We Are Connected’ at The Neeld, Chippenham.

In the top three flamenco guitarists in the world, Juan Martin is at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Malaya Blue Band at Chapel Arts in Bath, some Impromptu Shakespeare at Rondo Theatre, and David O’Doherty’s Whoa is Me at Komedia.

Wow; Fairport Convention play the Wyvern in Swindon, with Lucy Porter’s Wake Up Call at Swindon Arts Centre. Dohny Jep headlines a triple at The Vic, with Nervendings and Riviera Arcade.

Cressers Last Stand’s The Growing up Tour at Brown Street, Salisbury, while The Jonny Phillips Trio play the Winchester Gate.


Saturday 4th, The Shudders come to The Southgate, Devizes, (Update: The Shudders can’t make it on Saturday. To the rescue, they have laid back dude Grizzly Rhys Morgan at The Southgate instead,)while Devizes Scooter Club hold a Back to the 80’s Party at The Cavalier. But the concentration in Devizes should focus on The Corn Exchange, where we are thinking green. Make a hot-water bottle at Devizes Library during the day, and bring it to the Wiltshire Climate Alliance fundraiser with Seize the Day; preview here. Editor’s Pick of the week? Could be!

Damm! play The Bear, Marlborough, meanwhile it will be Vyv & Jackie’s farewell at The Lamb, after over an incredible 43 years they’re retiring and we wish them all the very best. A solemn occasion it refuses to be, as Pants will out! If you don’t know what that means, I suggest you read undoubtedly the funniest interview we’ve ever done, with Pants, last week. Got to be Editor’s Pick of The Week, if Seize the Day is too, I can’t decide this week!

Phoenix Dance presents a second night of ‘We Are Connected’ at The Neeld, Chippenham.

Still Marillion play The Vic, Swindon, with One Chord Wonders at the Queens Tap, The Bellflowers at The Tuppenny, Homer at The Swiss Chalet, and Six O’clock Circus at Coleview Centre. Troy Hawke’s Sigmund Troy’d at the Wyvern, and Paul Foot at Swindon Arts Centre.

Stray Dogs will be ‘Unleashed’ for a Charity Gig for The Music Man Project at Burdall’s Yard, Bradford-on-Avon.

The Roy Orbison Experience at Chapel Arts, Bath, with Akasha at The Bell.

From 11am, Drag Queen Story Time at The Winchester Gate, while the evening in Salisbury gets punked, with Carsick headlining at foursome at Brown Street with Who Ate All the Crayons, Lucky Number Seven, and Seaside Glamour.

Staying punk, The Cheese & Grain hosts the Frome Punk Fest.


Sunday 5th and if you’ve achieved nothing over the weekend all is not lost, the monthly Jon Amor Trio residency at The Southgate, Devizes at around about 5pm, with guest Thomas Atlas.

Also, Julian Gaskell & His Ragged Trousered Philanthropists are at The Bell, Bath, while Stephen Lynch’s The Time Machine Tour arrives at Komedia.

The Psychology of Serial Killers at the Wyvern, Swindon, wraps up our weekend, but do keep a check on the calendar, for updates and planning.


Monday is Monday, not a lot going on. Do a jigsaw puzzle or something.


Tuesday 7th is the Wyvern Theatre Swap Shop at the Wyvern in Swindon, Randy Feltface’s Feltopia at Komedia, Bath, and Wiltshire College FE Student Showcase Samphire at Salisbury Playhouse.


Have a great week, behave yourself, within reason, and don’t forget to keep up-to-date with our calendar, for next week sees aforementioned return of Devizes Film Club, now based at The Wharf Theatre, a triple bill of folk at Pound Arts, Canute’s Plastic Army & Harmony Asia at The Tuppenny, Swindon, Emily Breeze at the Pump, the second stage of Take the Stage 2023 at The Neeld, in which we wish Nothing Rhymes with Orange the best of luck, 50 Years of Fender at Swindon Arts Centre, Ben Borrill at The Three Crowns, Devizes with Junkyard Dogs at The Southgate, and Big Mama’s Banned at the Pilot, Melksham, Adam Ant tribute Ant Trouble at the Vic, the Dub Pistols with Don Letts The Cheese & Grain, Frome, and so much more!

Trust other websites or Facebook pages with what’s to do and you’ll miss truckloads; Devizine is the only one around these darkened backwaters to collate them all; give the man a Twix.


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 25th-31th January 2023

Oh, hey there, it’s me, here to tell you what we’ve found to do in Wiltshire this week, leading us nicely until the end of January. Second winter month nearly down, one more to go, shorter one, then spring, yay! My feet were so numb from the cold after getting in from work this morning I couldn’t tell if my slippers were on the right feet!

As usual I cannot be bothered spending an age posting links here, you can find them all, with further details on our event calendar: here.


Wednesday 25th Wiltshire Museum in Devizes has The Bookshop Quiz, presented by Devizes Books, where I’m guessing you’ll find tickets! Staying in the Vizes, don’t forget, regular acoustic jam at The Southgate.

The Shing-a-lings play The Bell, Bath, while there’s a Queen Extravaganza at Bath Forum.


Thursday 26th find Jules Hill & Charlie Bath at The Tuppenny, Swindon, and Jim Blair at The Beehive, and the regular Chuckles Comedy Club at Meca.

Stallards in Trowbridge have an open mic night.

National Theatre Live film of Othello, at Pound Arts’ The Crucible in Corsham.

And in Bath we see the opening night of The Greatest Magician at the Rondo Theatre, running until 4th February. A dazzling new magic show, presented by James Phelan, the magician most famous for jamming the BBC switchboards after he correctly predicted the lottery, still he’s charging for tickets! This astonishing, enigmatic, five star rated magic show will leave you aching from laughter and dizzy in disbelief, apparently. Directed by the late Paul “that’s magic” Daniels, the enigmatic show comes to the stage for the first time.


Friday 27th the RSPB will be at Hillworth Park, Devizes, until Sunday, for a Big Garden Bird Watch.

Always great fun, Blondie & Ska play The Pelican in Devizes.

Find the ever-popular Kova Me Bad at The Lamb, Marlborough, while Marlborough Town Football Club has an open mic night from 6pm.

The wonderful Sour Apple are at Old Lane, Chippenham, while there’s one of those grownup pantos of Aladdin at The Neeld; really, though, has anyone been to one of these? Do let us know if it’s any good!

The incredible Jaz DeLorean features at Chapel Arts, Bath, while The Magic of Motown comes to Bath Forum, and Edward Bourne presents Sketchbook, at Rondo Theatre. A play where songs become sketches and sketches become songs as he embarks on his first gig as a jazz keyboardist, only to find the hour overrun by an hour-long string of sketchy flashbacks.

Flow & Hustle play The Winchester Gate in Salisbury.

In Swindon, find Texas Tick Fever at The Beehive, The Jukebox Graduates at The Swiss Chalet, and a triple punk bill at The Vic with Drag Me Down, Mad by Mourning and I See Orange. T-Rextasy tribute at the Wyvern.


Saturday 28th sees Sustainable Devizes at the Corn Exchange for a Think Energy talk from 10-2pm.

The Worried Men play The Southgate, and is quite simply unmissable for you rock fans, whereas B-Sides are at The Three Crowns, and though I’ve not heard these guys before, you’re always in for a great night there anyway!

Find Rob Childs at Woodbrough Social Club, and Josh Kumra at The Bear, Marlborough.

The annual charity 7 Bands in 7 Hours at Calne Liberal Club is happening Saturday, with End of Story, Six O’clock Circus, Homer, Apache Cats, Boston Green, Ukey Dukes and Lonely Daughter; a fiver recommended donation on the door. Think we should make this Editor’s Pick of the Week.

Melksham Rock n Roll Club monthly dance features The Rads, while Sonic Alert play The Pilot.

World Music Club at The Beehive in Swindon, Dury Duty, Mark Colton’s famed tribute to Ian Dury at The Vic, and the most amazing Bob Marley tribute, Legend is at Meca.

From Melbourne, Australia, sister duo Charm of Finches play Pound Arts, Corsham; haunted indie folk, about love, grief and whispering trees, with support from Luke De-Scisco.

Tim Baker plays Chapel Arts, Bath, while a Lucy Lucy and Pameli Benham comedy play, It’s the Hope is what you’ll find at the Rondo.

At Salisbury’s Brown Street find the P45s and Break Cover for a Salisbury Cat Protection fundraiser.

A tad further out, Rage Against the Machine tribute The Machine Rages On play Frome’s Tree House, and there’s the WinterFest at Clevedon.


Sunday 29th and Melksham Assembly Hall have a record fair.

The Film Orchestra play Blockbuster Movie Themes for an audience on Springfield Campus in Corsham.

Comedian Lloyd Griffith presents his One Tonne of Fun tour to Swindon Arts Centre, while at the Wyvern, Buffy Revamped is an Edinburgh Fringe smash-hit fast-paced parody for Buffy the Vampire Slayer aficionados, told through the eyes of Spike.

Rev. James & The Swingtown Cowboys play The Bell, Bath.


Monday 30th is the opening night of Ladies’ Day at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre, running until 4th February, Amanda Whittington play, Directed by John Winterton, previewed here, and tickets selling out fast!

Meanwhile, find Aaron Catlow & Brooks Williams at The Bell, Bath


Tuesday, I got nothing, yet, but do keep a check on our event calendar as updates come in, and check ahead for events in February, here. You need to start thinking about tickets for Wiltshire Climate Alliance’s benefit at the Corn Exchange with Seize the Day, of course, The Festival of Winter Ales, Sheer’s Emily Breeze at the Pump on 10th Feb is another one you’ll need to be quick on, and I like the sound of Adam & His Ants tribute Ant Trouble, who play Swindon’s Vic on the 11th. Seriously though, guys, thinking of trying to bring these guys to Devizes, good idea? Just need a venue, any suggestions?

Have a great weekend, wear an extra pair of socks!


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Beating January Blues, Bradford-on-Avon Roots Style

If the last thing you’d expect as the final sound you hear before leaving a festival carpark is of scraping frost off windscreens, notion of festivals as a summer thing is about to be turned on its head. January blues is curable in Wiltshire, The Bradford Roots Music Festival is your prescription.

Devizine is not Time Out, writing about our music scene is a personal voyage of discovery, but until now I’d not reached the core. Because Bradford-on-Avon boasts The Wiltshire Music Centre, a modern, purpose-built hub of music and arts, and I’m happy to confirm it’s a wonderful place.

Andy fondly reviewed their past roots festival, on the strength of this and the stunning line-up, it deserved sending my grumpiest of hibernating reviewers, so here I am, with beanie on.

Situated on a housing estate next to a school, first impressions are school-like, by design and decor. Interesting, a festival in a school, even has a coat rack, and fire doors held open by polite teenagers; imagine! If I get a detention here, I’ll be glad.

I believe it’s part-funded this way. Cause and effect are a wide age demographic; yes, a majority are those elders who can afford to fork out £20 in January, but it notably caters for the youngest too, with a vast craft area and workshops, a dinnertime finale of the latter being a Wassail kids’ procession led by Holt Morris Club in the foyer.

Also noteworthy, though I missed this, part of the proceeds goes to Zone Club, an in-house musical programme for learning disabled adults, who’s improv show opened the festival. The other half goes to the centre itself, which has charitable status, and is worth its rather hefty weight in gold.

Wowzers, I was impressed enough already, with plentiful to engage in, yet I’m told this three-stage single day is scaled-down post lockdown, previously housing two other stages and a food court, over three days. Though it was expressed this is the level they’d like to see it return to in future. I’m letting the cat out the bag, you can’t keep it a secret forever, Bradford, the south-west needs to know!

Though if food options were filtered to one, Bradford’s own Evie’s Mac N Cheese wagon is most definitely the one, my burger was to die for! There’s me, stomach-thinking first, when I’ve so much to report, so, so much great music, some completely new to me, others well-grounded in my favourites, and many to tick off my bottomless must-see list.

Aqaba

If I told you what I didn’t love, it’d be quicker, but blank! The only way to do this, is to get chronological, but before I do, it’s crucial to point out what’ll become clear by the end; the logo’s tree growing out of a guitar, and the whole name of Bradford Roots Music Festival can be a tad misconceiving; going in with the preconception it’s all folk, fiddles and hippy-chicks dancing barefoot, though these are present, to assume it’s the be-all-and-end-all is wildly off target. The diversity on offer here is its blessing, its quantity and quality is serious value for money, and likely the most important elements I need to express in order to sell next year’s to you, which I do, because it was utterly fantastic.

Not forgoing the hospitable atmosphere, its easy access under one roof, and its professionalism in staging the best indoor local festival I’ve been to, if not a forerunner for the best local community-driven festival, period. On programming I could point similarities to Swindon Shuffle, in so much as grabbing an international headline isn’t their thing, favouring promoting local acts. But unlike the Shuffle where you wander Old Town pub-to-pub, there’s a treasure behind nearly every fire-door.

Lodestone

Arriving as prompt as possible, unfortunately not as early as I’d have liked, finding Phil Cooper and Jamie R Hawkins packed up and chatting in the foyer, I consoled myself by noting there’s so much happening under this cathedral of music’s roof I won’t miss. Firstly, I found the main stage, a colossal acoustic-heaven seated hall, where came the cool mellow vibes of Chris Hoar’s Lodestone, soon to be renamed Courting Ghosts, with drummer Tim Watts from It’s Complicated, a band booked to headline the third stage, Wild and Woolley, but had to cancel.

Lightgarden

Though at this time, I’d not even found said third stage, dragging myself away from the balcony to the foyer, where a smaller makeshift middle stage hosted the duos and acoustic acts. The beautiful folk of Lightgarden currently attracting a crowd.

Mark Green’s Blues Collective

People tended to settle in one place, I rushed from stage to stage, excited as a sugared-up kid at Disneyland! Discovering the third stage was the best thing I did, as Mark Green’s Blues Collective thrilled with a reggae-riffed version of Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

The Graham Dent Quartet

Decided I need to settle down, smooth and accomplished piano-based jazz on the main stage by The Graham Dent Quartet could’ve easily helped, but hot-footing back to the third stage to catch Junkyard Dogs was a must.

Likely my acme of the daylight hours, if it’s nearly as impossible to rank the best thing any more than picking faults in the festival, Junkyard Dogs rocked this stage with sublimely executed Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry timeless classics of the raw RnB origins of rock n roll, (apt for a “roots” festival,) with added amusing originals, a downtempo Suzie Q, and a funky guitar chilled Dusty Springfield’s Spooky.

Junkyard Dogs

With fantastic delta blues in the foyer, via Westward, and a Wassail choir workshop in the main room, I tended to hover around the more unorthodox third stage, where Mod-type synths band Aqaba rolled out some damn fine originals.

Westward
Caroline Radcliffe Jazz Trio

Meanwhile joyful lounge jazz was blessing the foyer with the Caroline Radcliffe Jazz Trio, as I made my way to way to the main stage once more, to tick Billy in the Lowground off my must-see list. Missed this unique banjo and fiddle five-piece folk ensemble when they’ve graced the Southgate, but though their fiery foot-stomping loud ‘n’ proud scrumpy & western is hard-to-pigeonhole, I won’t be missing them next time.

Billy in the Lowground

This is where the stages vacated for dinnertime, and the Wassail children’s parade accompanied an entertaining Morris dance ruled the hour. It may’ve felt as if the festival was slowing pace, but it was only temporary. Outstanding Bristol-based soloist Zoe kicked off the foyer happenings again, a stalwart of the festival, while young Swindon popular post-grunge wild card, Viduals blasted the third stage.

Zoe
Viduals

It was great to meet the level-headed youths of Viduals, one to watch on the indie circuit, asserting the third stage now was for younger attendees. Man, they had some upfront drumming I likened to Animal from the Muppets, and some defined originals!

Foxymoron

The similarly youthful band, Foxymoron, to grace the headline at the third stage since It’s Complicated’s unfortunate cancellation, sounded prodigious, slightly more accomplished with slithers of retro post-punk, but I confess with so much going on, I didn’t catch enough for a full assessment. Because, I was equally surprised by Karport Collective at the main stage, but in a different way. Didn’t get any info on these guys, only to lean over to the frontman expressing my delight at them daring to cover Outkast classic Hey Ya at a roots event! If a pop repertoire of Fatboy Slim’s Praise You medlied with that Elvis breakbeat rework, wouldn’t fit at a folk festival, they did Bowie’s Let’s Dance too, engaging a mass-exodus to the dancefloor; surely a defining factor in my point about diversity here. Gallant five-piece, Karport Collective pulled a rabbit from their hat, and would be a superb booking for a function or large lively pub with universal appeal.

Karport Collective

Dilemmas over what to watch beached, the ultimate decision was the finale, where subtle yet powerful folk duo Fly Yeti Fly took the foyer, and my new favourite thing, Concrete Prairie played the main stage. Let’s get this straight, okay? Concrete Prairie are unmissable by my reckoning, though this is my third time seeing them live, and Fly Yeti Fly is one I so desperately want to tick off my list. The problem is solved by this easy access, we’re only one fire-door away from simultaneously viewing both, which I did; bloomin’ marvellous!

Complete with double-bass accompaniment, predicted gentle positive acoustic vibes from Fly Yeti Fly, if a song about burning the furniture for firewood on a frozen canal boat is gentle and positive! But, oh, how a duo can hold an audience spellbound, Fly Yeti Fly are the enchantment. My night was completed by their tune Shine a Light, which (plug) you can find on our Julia’s House compilation, together with swinging that fire-door to catch the sublime country-folk of Concrete Prairie as they polished off a set of debut album tracks, covers and new songs, with the magnum-opus Devil Dealt the Deck.

Concrete Prairie

Still at 1,000 feet of an impressive mountain; Bradford Roots Festival, I conclude, is faultless.


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 18th-24th January 2023

Back to a possibility of snow on Wednesday, the big freeze makes an unwelcome return, so please, if you’re heading out be careful. For those careful few, here’s what we’ve found to be doing this week. As usual you can find more details, links, and whatnots on our event calendar….

Wednesday 18th sees Winter Gems, a Lawrence Society art demonstration evening by Pam Lewis from Marston at Devizes Town Hall, and the regular acoustic jam at The Southgate.

Meanwhile, Amadou Diagne & Group Yakar play The Bell, Bath.

There’s an adult panto at the Wyvern, Swindon, Cinderella & Her Naughty Buttons. And Memory Cinema returns to Swindon Arts Centre screening The Wizard Of Oz.  Memory Cinema provides a facility where those living with dementia, their carers, friends, and families can watch a range of films.


Thursday 19th the incredible ZambaLando are live at The Beehive, Swindon, while the Wyvern, Arsenal legends Ray Parlour, Paul Merson and Perry Groves give a talk.


Friday 20th is heat one of local amateur musician’s contest Take the Stage, at The Neeld in Chippenham.

Melksham Assembly Hall plays host to Forbidden Nights, ladies, behave yourselves!

In Swindon the A K Poets take The Beehive, Get Carter play The Vic, and there’s Rave On – The Ultimate 50s & 60s Experience at the Wyvern.

Daytime in Bath, Rock the Tots take their Around the World Tour to the Rondo Theatre, and in the evening they’ve The People’s String Foundation Duo. One on my must-see hitlist, Adam and the Ants tribute Ant-Trouble play at The Royal Oak, and From the Jam are at Bath Forum.

They’ll be dancing in the dark at the Cheese & Grain in Frome with Springsteen tribute, Bruce Juice.


Saturday 21st and rock covers band Beyond the Storm play The Southgate, Devizes. Find Homer at The Cooper’s Arms, Pewsey, and El Toro at The Lamb, Marlborough.

At the Barge on Honeystreet, find NFA-TV and BishBosh presenting a night of “musikal mayhem” with the Radical Dance Faction, MC Basher, Doghouse and MCs, tenner on the door, extra £12.50 to camp.

Editor’s Pick of The Week this week must be the Bradford Roots Music Festival at Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, which we’ve previewed HERE and unless completely snowed in, I hope to check it out personally.

Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years at The Neeld, Chippenham.

Devizes-own blues legend, Innes Sibun Blues Explosion play The Bell, Bath, while the Rondo Theatre has Jen Brister’s show, The Optimist.

The Rolling Clones tribute at The Vic in Swindon, Locomotion at The Swiss Chalet, Voodoo Room at Swindon Arts Centre, and ABBA Forever at the Wyvern.

Man of the World presents the Music of Peter Green at The Tree House, Frome, and that’s your Saturday night! Unless you know different? Do let us know.


Sunday 22nd Warmington, Lindley and Webb at The Bell, Bath.


Monday 23rd Eddie Martin’s turn at The Bell, Bath.


Tuesday 24th sees a Fish N Chip Supper & Quiz Night for the RNLI at Devizes Conservative Club.

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls play Bath Forum, while Cirque – The Greatest Show comes to the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.


Keep on scrolling through our event calendar to see just how 2023 is blossoming with things to do, far sooner than spring I might add! Have a great weekend, stay safe and don’t go changing just to please me.


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The Bradford Roots Music Festival Returns

I know, it’s hardly festival weather, but this one is all inside! Inside the glorious Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon that is, on Saturday 21st January 2023, and it’s a whooper!

The popular Bradford Roots Music Festival returns kicks off at 11am, and runs until 10pm, for a day of great music to warm away the winter blues and celebrate all Bradford on Avon has to offer.

Building on Lisa and Chris Samuel’s brilliant work since founding the festival in 2012, Bradford Roots’ new team of community programmers will fill the Centre with folk, blues, pop, and rock, as well as workshops for all the family, great local food and drink and the famous Wassail. A true feel-good event, Roots is synonymous with community spirit, local talent, and an inclusive atmosphere.

There’s a huge range of local artists performing across all three stages this year, including the returning Fly Yeti Fly, St Laurence rock band Foxymoron, a Big Sing Workshop to lead participants through the Wassail, and celebrated group and Bradford Roots regulars Holt Morris who will put on a special dance performance.

 Dee Way, one of the new festival programmers shares what makes the festival so special to her: “Roots to me means a music festival under cover to cheer up the winter, to raise money for some very worthwhile charities, and to have a thoroughly good time with family and friends. This is a great opportunity to see and hear a wide range of musicians performing – all who have a local connection. It is also a brilliant opportunity to find out more about Wiltshire Music Centre and enjoy a family day out.”

 As well as music, Evie’s Mac & Cheese will be pitched-up on the front lawn all day and serving delicious grub, sweet treats, and hot drinks. Vegan and gluten-free beers will be available from Bradford on Avon microbrewery Kettlesmith, and scrumptious ciders from Honey’s Cider – both local brands who are proudly sponsoring this year’s festival! Enjoy their flagship refreshments alongside the usual WMC Bar offerings.

 Attendees can also get involved in the famous Wassail, led by Holt Morris, where participants in the Creativity Area can show off their handmade glowing lanterns!

Tickets are now on sale – one ticket gives admission to all the events of the day, and under 12s go free! Price: £22 Adult / £12 U18s + students / Free U12s. Book online: wiltshiremusic.org.uk/whats-on/bradford-roots-music-festival-day-2023

That’s the technicalities out of the way, let’s feast our eyes on all that’s performing at Bradford Roots this year, and, as it’s me and I like favouritism, point out my personal preferences!

To get the ball rolling, one you should never miss, Concrete Prairie are superb, and if you’ve not heard about them yet you must be new to Devizine, cos I’ve been waffling on about them for a while now, and get tremendously excited whenever their name crops up!

Billy in the Lowground, Fly Yeti Fly, It’s Complicated and those Junkyard Dogs all go without saying, and although The Lost Trades aren’t there this year, two-thirds are, the boys Phil Cooper & Jamie R Hawkins will be in attendance.

The ones I don’t know about, but you might know different, are Karport Collective, Big Sing Workshop with Jane Harris & Clara Atkins, Graham Dent Jazz Quartet, Lodestone, Jazz Factory,  Doves, Peace Choir, Zone Club, Z O E, Caroline Radcliffe Jazz Trio, Westward, Timur Dersuniyelioglu, LightGarden, Joe Hunt, Adrian Long, Littlemen, Aqaba, Foxymoron, Mark Green’s Blues Collective, Terry Sheppard’s Open Mic Hour and, and this is a big AND, an and I shouldn’t try but, well, you never know, might have a natural talent for, Wafaa Powell Belly Dancing Workshop!!

 Follow the Festival online: facebook.com/BradfordRootsFestival #BradfordRoots2023


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 11th-17th January 2023

Well into new year and things are building up again slowly, let’s have a little looky at what’s going on locally over this coming week, if you fancy going out to beat the January blues….

As usual, details and links can be found on our updating event calendar; keep checking for future dates, and, some events for this week will inevitably crop up and I don’t often update them on these articles, only on the calendar. 

Wed 11th and I am assuming there will be the regular Acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes. Meanwhile, at the Bell in Bath you can find the Dusk Art Rhythm Quartet.


Thursday 12th is the opening night for Beauty & The Beast, running until the 15th at The Rondo Theatre, Bath. Never too late for a panto!

Mark Farrelly, who you might recall as the creator of Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope, as seen at Devizes Arts Festival last year, has a play at Swindon Arts Centre. It’s a tribute to Frankie Howerd, called Howerd’s End.

Staying in Swindon, Canute’s Plastic Army play The Beehive, Swindon, while UK Pink Floyd Experience is at Wyvern.


Friday 13th might be unlucky for some, but not if you like Chicago blues and you live in Devizes. Editor’s Pick of The Week this week takes us to the Long Street Blues Club, where direct from the US of A, Billy Branch presents at night of Chicago Living Legends, Jamiah Rogers, and John Primer.

Suitable for ages 10+, Living Spit’s Puss in Boots– More Than A Feline comes to The Neeld in Chippenham, which contains a small amount of strong language and awful puns.

Outrageous comedy at Pound Arts, Corsham with Simon Brodkin’s Screwed Up Tour.

One local band to watch out for, Here Come the Crows, they play the Vic, Swindon, while the Calling Planet Earth show is at the Wyvern, a new romantic symphony that goes on a journey through one of the greatest musical eras of all time, the electrifying 80’s. Obviously, I’m far too young to remember that!

Oh, and Absolute Bowie at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.


Saturday 14th and you’ll find Finley & Mark at The Three Crowns, Devizes, and Celtic folk at The Southgate with the Cooper Creek Band.

The Buttmonkies at Stallards in Trowbridge, Legacy at the Pilot in Melksham.

For alt-rock, Britpop, and a dash of punk, check out Static Moves at The Pelican Inn in Froxfield.

Lauren Housley & Nigel Wearne play Chapel Arts, Bath.

Find His Way- The Frank Sinatra Story at The Neeld, Chippenham.

The Beehive in Swindon has an Open-Deck Vinyl Night, while Sister Sister play The Swiss Chalet, and Martin Kemp DJs an eighties set at MECA, plus, there’s a Rapport CIC Performance at Swindon Arts Centre called The Suitcase.


Sunday 15th and The Neeld is the company of Charlie Hides with some Comedy Drag Bingo, while Circus of Horrors: Haunted Fairground is at the Wyvern, Swindon.

For Bath-centric folk instrumental, find The Barton Street Regulators at The Bell, Bath.


Monday 16th sees the first instore session at Sound Knowledge, Marlborough, as Rozi Plain comes to play an intimate set.

Riaan Vosloo’s Uphill Game play The Bell, Bath.


And Tuesday I got nought, so far, save the first councillor’s surgery at Devizes Town Hall from 6pm, with Devizes Town councillors Chris Gay and Ian Pennington.


Unless I missed anything? Do let us know!

By now you should be thinking about tickets for Bradford Roots Music Festival at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, happening next Saturday 21st, The line-up can be found HERE. There’s also The Neeld’s Take The Stage happening next weekend. At the end of the month The Wharf Theatre’s production of Ladies Day, and lots more good, good stuff happening as ever, but you’ll only find them all collated and neatly folded together as one on Devizine!

 Have a great weekend!


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Ladies’ Day Opens a New Year at The Wharf Theatre

The Wharf Theatre in Devizes begin their 2023 program with Amanda Whittington’s Ladies’ Day, running from January 30th to February 4th……

This play, which premiered in 2005, is the first of a trilogy which follows the adventures of Pearl, Jane, Shelley, and Linda. It’s written by Amanda Whittington with arrangements with Nick Hern Books, and directed by John Winterton.

The ladies are a fish-filleting foursome for whom work, love and life are just one long hard slog until their fortunes look set to change when Linda finds tickets to Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot, the year it is relocated to York.

Out go the hair nets, overalls, and wellies as the four of them ditch work, do themselves up to the nines and head off to the races for a drink, a flirt and a flutter. Secrets are spilled with the champagne but if their luck holds, they could just hit the jackpot and more besides!

Described by The Stage as, “as much fun as a day at the races and, arguably, better value for money,” Ladies’ Day will be the first production at Devizes Wharf Theatre, with more to follow. So, while we await the Wharf’s homegrown program, outsourced productions include a fresh and inventive improvised comedy called Instant Wit, on 18th February, and on February 25th, when the Apollo Theatre Company presents The Songs & Monologues of Joyce Grenfell.

Though word on the grapevine is you’ll be treated to some Shakespeare and The Railway Children, this coming year, and The Wharf also plans a theatre open day one Saturday in April, when they hope people will join them for refreshments and a tour of the theatre, offering the chance to see what goes on behind the scenes.

Tickets for Ladies’ Day can be purchased by ringing 03336 663 366; from the website; wharftheatre.co.uk and at the Devizes Community Hub and Library on Sheep Street.


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Devizine Review of 2022!

Featured Image by Simon Folkard Photography

Happy New Year from Wiltshire’s wackiest what’s-on website. It’s that time again when I waffle on endlessly in hope of summing up an entire year on Devizine. What can I say? It helps me grasp the ups and downs, highlights the things we could’ve done better but most of all, the things that went down well in 2022. And you get to see for yourself, our local area is awash with so many great events, so much great talent, and few things of concern……

Though I’m reserved to the fact, Santa’s good list starts afresh as early as January, so those who deliberately go out of their way to spoil the wellbeing of others and upset public peace will be called out accordingly, regardless of what position of power they might think they hold over others; Santa reads Devizine and Devizine states the facts, fact! See? It just did!

For the most part, though, Devizine is a happy place. If I must pick a favourite article I wrote this year, I’ve chosen an interview with John Petty, the brainchild of Devizes’ legendary event, the Boto-X. But it’s a rare thing for us to be retrospective, most coverage is about the here and now, and there’s so many highlights to mention, advance apologies for waffling!

January, I was still reviewing international music releases, as per-lockdown when we scrambled somewhat in the dark for content. It put me between a rock and hard place, the ol’ melon twister as to what exactly Devizine is; a music review blog, or a site dedicated to local affairs. While it straddled between the two for a while, I made the executive decision that Devizine is, first and foremost, a local affair, for local people, therefore if you’re not local the “things for you here” have been greatly reduced this year, as I’m sworn to dedicate it to the first and foremost.

Not to suggest I didn’t appreciate receiving new tunes from afar, and if I can make a tenacious link to something local, such as bands including a local venue on their tour, I will. The biggest niggle has been time, and time is key to decisions I’ve needed to make with content. As Devizine grows and lockdown is archived to the history books, I get inundated with enough local content to keep me busy, therefore reviewing international music has been put on the back-burner. Though reviewing locally produced music is still something we relish in, please send them in to us.

If I had the time, I’d consider reintroducing it, and in that there’s a reason to brainstorm how I balance my in-tray with working full-time and spending quality time with the family.

Part of this begun end of last year, when Christmas saw my son gain a “gamer’s corner” of our lounge, and to create the space I relocated my PC to my bedroom. At first, I admit I liked the idea, gave me office type space to think, but as the year went on, I realised I was missing family time, upstairs like a hermit. This meant I was either rushing out content fast as I could, or attempting to create content on my phone app, which doesn’t work quite as well. The new year’s resolution, then, is to acquire a shiny new laptop, allowing me to disappear upstairs when I need to concentrate, but create content and update the event calendar far more efficiently while still spending time downstairs with the family.

If I used the term “Devizine Towers” to make you believe we’ve a Trump-like office block, employing staff in various departments, (mostly in the complaints department) it was a big fat fib for humorous effect. But you’re no fool, I guess you knew this anyway.

Fact is, Devizine is a non-profit labour of love. Though this notion hasn’t put more folk off contributing and helping to make Devizine comprehensive in coverage. I’m eternally grateful for everyone who has helped in this, from longstanding reporter, Mr Andy Fawthrop, to Ian Diddams, Ben and Vicky, Lorraine, and the few other occasional contributors.

Take the “Devi” bit away, and you’re left with “zine,” and that’s the ethos we run with, a free press, DIY concept without the confines of mainstream publishing; ergo, we can publish whatever we see fit, and anyone and everyone is welcome to submit anything for consideration. This transpires to you all, if you go to a gig, for example, and think “everyone needs to know how fantastic this band are,” please consider jotting down a few words on the subject, snap a couple of wobbly photos on your phone, and send it to us. You don’t need to be Shakespeare, we are not your English teacher, and can even edit any spelling or grammatical mishaps to the best of our ability!

To stats and all that mathematical malarkey. 2021 we received well over double the hits to the site, but to double it again felt a little ambitious. We didn’t achieve it, but we did get 23% above the record-breaking 2021 with a further +18K, so again we’re heading up the right direction, with 100K hits seeming like an achievable target this year. To have achieved this, being I feel I slacked off slightly with supplying regular content sometimes through the year, I think is amazing, and I appreciate everyone who enjoys reading Devizine; thank you all, blinking love yer, group hug!

The best hitting article this year was from May, when immediately after DOCA’s Street Festival, I highlighted all the forthcoming big events coming in Devizes, headlining it “The Big Ones; Forthcoming Summer Events in Devizes.” Strange how, going on the success of this, in December I published a second “Big Ones” piece, this time highlighting on a wider scale, the best large-scale events and festivals locally over the entire 2023, incorporating anything deemed conceivable to travel to from here. But this was not nearly as successful on hits. Pondering why, I must consider we’re Devizes based, ergo content about Devizes seems to get most attention. Start to venture any further than the Lavingtons and that’s foreign soil!

Yeah, I’m aware the name Devizine directly links to Devizes, but I like the name, it’s grounded now, besides, I believe it’s important to let folk from other local areas know, Devizine’s boundaries are flexible, incorporate anywhere conceivable to travel to for an event, so ideally from Salisbury to Swindon, Bath to Marlborough, but hey, like I say, we’re flexible and I’m not going to hold it against you if you live in Newbury!

In fact, even if I often loiter sober, Billy-no-mates fashion, I’ve enjoyed my voyages of discovery outside of D-town most of all. Particularly Swindon Shuffle, MantonFest, Trowbridge Town Hall, Seend Community Centre for The Female of the Species gig, a trip to Aldbourne to see Painted Bird and Deadlight Dance, and especially the fond memory of going on the road to a Portsmouth gig with Talk in Code. It also goes a long way in the introduction of acts from elsewhere, who often find gigs in town after we’ve featured them playing elsewhere, or within an album review.

Fair to point out at this conjunction, our preview of The Party For Life organised Suicide Prevention gig at Melksham Town FC was the second highest hitting article this year, blowing my Devizes-only theory out of the water, and forgoing the best hit articles are often based upon how many people share and re-Tweet social media posts. The organisers of this one was so pleased to get some press coverage, in an area where the mainstream press seem more interested in national headlines and celebrity click-bait tosh, they rarely support local affairs, especially in entertainment.

This is what gives me the motivation to continue with Devizine, despite some criticism of a completely fictional political sway, or knickers twisted from the few we’ve had to call out the behaviour of. To know we’re appreciated, to hear stories of how we helped, be it a venue finding a band, or visa-versa, or a charity able to reach out, these things are what keeps our spirits up.

Feel-good articles, you know? That’s the ticket, so when young local actress Jess Self won Vernon Kay’s Talent Nation in November, people flocked to our coverage, making it our third best-hitting article this year. These bring the person(s) of the subject delight and joy, and that’s really what it’s all about, smiles on faces, people, smiles all round.

And given this, I really don’t understand why some people want to criticise us, ban us from their petty, clique social media groups, but they will, and that’s life. I got a name for them, I won’t spell it out here today; smiles on faces, remember?!

The fourth best-hit article of the year was a 30th anniversary piece on the Castlemorton free rave, a personal reflection on the historic event and the impact it had on society. But more importantly should be local current affairs, and when we broke the story of pollution in the water of The Crammer Pond in Devizes, well that became our fifth best hitter. Sadly, I really thought we’d made an impact here, and plans were afoot to address the unsuitability of the pond for wildlife and what can be done to rectify it by the town council.

Unfortunately, the issue has raised its ugly head again after the death of some wildfowl during December’s freezing conditions, of which bird flu was blamed but never proven. Nevertheless, no bird has died since a rise in temperature, bird flu is being used to politically point score and to suit other agendas by the powers that be. Is there nothing off limits to boost their egos, not even the deaths of wild animals?

Apparently not, as we continue to assist in campaigns against animal cruelty, especially of blood sports, the badger cull, and expose the trial hunt as the smokescreen it is. So, not only did we cover Lacock’s violence at Boxing Day perpetrated by the Avon Vale Hunt, when it came to light, the single police officer was a member of the hunt and did little to keep the peace, but other suspicious factors too, such as the proposed closure of Savernake Forest. Allowing only for a few set paths to be accessible around the Postern Hill site, environmental benefits to the forest were used in excuse, but residents were suspicious it’d give game hunters unrestricted access without the watchful eye of ramblers.

I cover these issues because I believe in them, and we don’t see enough being done to tackle the issues in, not only other local media sources, but within Wiltshire Police too, who’s fall into special measures surely proves what we’ve always said; the bogus re-election of a PCC in order to sustain totalitarianism for the Conservative Party has resulted in a candidate completely unsuitable for the role, a lack of motivation within the force, and people’s conviction in the Police in general.

I strive to wish to help any such organisations, to illustrate what they are doing to improve, should they wish to, but if it’s fluff they seek, they’re in the wrong place. Our services, our schools and charities are suffering from the incompetence of an uncaring government, we continue the fight for the everyman. That is not political sway, that’s common sense.

We will be reporting the facts of the Crammer debate as opinion pieces here, if you disagree that’s no issue, we won’t hold it against you, for it’s a close one to call. Much less certain councillors have decided their way or the highway. Okay, whatever hidden agendas lie there, but if you convince others to take matters into their own hands, resulting in children being harassed and verbally abused simply for feeding ducks, what have we become, blindly taking the word of someone with a popular Facebook page?!! Well, more’s the pity for them when I call them out on it.

On a happier note, sixth most popular article announced; George Ezra coming to Trowbridge, in what must’ve been the highlight of many young faces in our area. The response was overwhelming, and special thanks goes to Roger of Sound Knowledge, Marlborough and Kieran Moore of Sheer Music for making that happen. Bringing a top act like this to our area, without the need of an extortionate price, or ticket stub of festival proportions, allowing children and teenagers to catch a glimpse of live music by an inspiring popular act like Ezra was nothing short of miraculous, and I had a great time too!!

Something which doesn’t bother me as much as it seems to for a majority, the news DOCA have reset the date of Devizes carnival to the traditional date to the 2nd September was our 7th most popular article. MantonFest revealing their 2022 line-up came 8th, and what a brilliant festival it was, tickets for this year’s are on sale now, though I’ve procrastinated on a preview for the line-up, save inclusion on our aforementioned “Big Ones” article. Something we’re sure to knock up as soon as, because 2023’s line-up sounds equally as great.

From a proposal raised at a Devizes Town Council meeting by national organisers, the idea of a Devizes Cheese & Chilli Festival proved popular, being our 9th most popular article of 2022. Though, did this ever actually happen?! I certainly don’t recall hearing any more about it. Fact is though, Devizes already has our regular Devizes Food & Drink Festival, and that is well-established and as popular as ever. Dates for this year are to be confirmed, cheese and chilli I’m sure will be included, all you must do is support it.

The 10th most popular article of 2022 was concerned with Wax Palace, who held an officially licensed “rave festival” near Erlestoke. Much to the preconceptions of locals concerned, we spoke to organiser Harry, the man who ingeniously got a rave approved by Wiltshire Council, but when chatting to him it became clear how he managed it.

After this the sheer mountain of content we published continued, the day-to-day reviews of nights down our favourite venues, the concerns of public interest, and some silliness to boot! Though I must say, our cheeky, satirical pieces I’ve laid off from recently; must try harder!

Always popular, though not as previous years, like the very notion a McDonald’s would come to Devizes, was our essential April Fools joke. Our 11th most popular article this year, when I suggested Devizes Market Place will be pedestrianised; oh, the very thought of environmental progression angered gammons from afar, but seriously struck a chord with campaigners like Sustainable Devizes, and when you think about it, might yet be an environmentally sensible solution.

Yet, last year I struggled with an April Fools joke, while previous years were founded long before the date, I’m pleased to whisper to those brave enough to have read this far, I’ve already got a killer for this year, and it came to me immediately after All Fools Day 2022. On this though, no one seemed to have noticed the service road on my diagram was deliberately shaped like a small penis; a gag failed, maybe because clearly, none of you own a small penis!

But what of the importance of stats and popularity against our own personal enjoyment of attending events and giving our tuppence on them? Speaking to Andy about what we should or shouldn’t attend, I stressed, as we’re far from professional here, our focus should be on enjoying ourselves rather than seeing ourselves as pro-journalists, having to cover events we might not enjoy. Our objective therefore is surely to enjoy ourselves foremost; so, mine is a pint of scrumpy when you see me, cheers! Excuse the wobbly photos, we should view this as enjoyable or it’s not worth doing.

Taxing Andy’s superior mind for his most memorable events of 2022, off the top of his head, and in no particular order, he suggested: when Tankus The Henge played Devizes Arts Festival, and the Darius Brubeck Quartet too. Longcroft’s Lachy Doley gig in December, and Jazz Sabbath in November. Long Street Blues Club also features understandably high in his hitlist, noting April’s Carl Palmer, Skinny Molly, and March’s Soft Machine gigs. For me, both the Birdmen and the Errol Linton Band were my most memorable nights at Long Street, up skanking with the town councillor! Our gratitude to Ian and Liz for perhaps the most interesting and diverse programme at Long Street, ever!

As for Devizes Arts Festival, Andy became part of the furniture there, not missing a gig. I, on the other hand, skived, apologise profusely, and regret it too. Although, to catch Baila La Cumbia, or simply to have cumbia in Devizes was something I couldn’t miss, and must be one of my favourite gigs of 2022. That said, on my venturing out of Devizes note, I was welcomed over to Calne for their Arts Festival, to see one my new favourite things after fondly reviewing their debut album, and that is Concrete Prairie, who I’m glad to say, come to the Southgate on Saturday 25th March, do not miss it.

On our dependable Southgate, there’s too much to type about, again proving itself for another year to be the stalwart in providing regular live music, and simply for being such a fantastic watering hole. Andy notes the first Sunday of the month residences of Jon Amor, and I cannot possibly argue against this, reviewed them too, and even Ian Diddams stepped in to write his take on it.

I mean, right, bringing Beaux Gris Gris to the jam, who also played at Long Street is nothing short of awesome. Andy also gave honourable mentions of Southgate gigs to the Sarah C Ryan Band, Eddie Martin, and Jack Grace. Ben and Victoria noted the Cracked Machine gig at The Gate, whereas for me, SGO, again, Eddie Martin, but also 12 Bars Later, The Worried Men and Barrelhouse, all provided my most memorable evenings at this wonderful tavern.

Though despite working his little socks off at the Stealth bar, Andy was also quick to mention the Full-Tone Festival, which goes without saying. Such a marvellous annual event on our calendar, we had a fantastic time Full-Tone, thank you. Think classical festival, I’ll give you, but with Kirsty Clinch breezing the sunny Sunday vibes with her brand of pop-folk, or James Threlfall up there on the wheels of steel, how can we possibly now marginalise this? It’s incorporating everything, aside their love of classical, to the point the only part of the word classical we need to sum it up with is the beginning part; class.

Image: Gail Foster
Image: Simon Folkard

Time for tiny niggle, then, for Full-Tone comes at a price, a price you’ll see where your money goes should you attend, but with this in mind, the most fantastic event in Devizes must remain as the free-for-all DOCA Street Festival. This year I took a taster in volunteering to help, and consequently saw how much hard work goes into putting this on. All this said, I still partied, cider in one hand, clearing the bins in the other! And must say, throughout the wealth of talent present, the circus acts, and musical activities, which are too many to mention here, Mr Tea and the Minions rocked my world, and Loz’s farewell gift to Devizes, the Ceres display by Bassline Circus, was nothing short of the most breath-taking, inspiring, and apt thing I’ve EVER seen happen in Devizes.

Image Simon Folkard

But Devizes has seen the most amazing year for entertainment events in general, post lockdown, we are celebrating big stylee! Just think, I’ve written all this without even mentioning CAMRA’s Devizes Beer and Cider Festival yet, and that was phenomenal this year. With Ben and Vicky taking on the music task, they did a spectator job, Dr Zebo’s, I give you, Vince Bell giving it “you ain’t ever leaving,” and why would we? With Triple JD’s Hendrix-fashioned brilliance, followed by a reggae jam with Knati P and Nick; wowzers! Yes, it was so good I did fall into the flowerbed; thanks to my rescuers!

And while Wadworth gave us a free mini-fest, supporting local acts like Ben Borrill and The Roughcuts, Ruzz Guitar and the gang rocked Saddleback, which after a plethora of acts from Derby, turned into a full-scale dance event for an apt charitable cause. And The Crown at Bishop’s Cannings pulled out all the stops, giving us the inaugural CrownFest, something so utterly spectacular, I shit you not, Freddie Mercury mingled with the crowd!

Outside our area, I did MantonFest, which was a beauty, and later witnessed a Noddy-a-like yell “it’s Christmassss” at Marlborough College, while trips to Trowbridge Town Hall blessed me with meeting Gecko, and The Scribes, and wow, if Professor Elemental didn’t host a fantastic night with Boom Boom Racoon and The Real Cheesemakers. Nights I’ll never forget.

To bring hip hop to Trowvegas is one thing, to do it in Devizes is another, and though I sadly missed James Threlfall’s BBC Introducing night at the Muck and Dunder, I tip my straw hat to the rum bar, not just for presenting diversity to Devizes’ music events, but doing it in such style it bought the house down. I am, of course referring to the incredible Scribes visiting us in November, wow, that was a pina colada level of cool!

As far back as February, People Like Us played a packed Three Crowns in Devizes, affirming the pub’s reputation as a firm player on our live music scene. It’s always a great night, universally welcoming. Thinking back to The Roughcut Rebels playing a blinder one summery August, to the point, I’m basing my birthday down there on 4th March. Free to all, just turn up, we’ve hopefully some acoustic music in the afternoon followed by Talk in Code and the Ruzz Guitar Trio.

There’s just so much great, great stuff which happened last year, apologies if I missed mentioning your favourite bit, the article is going to epic proportions now and I need to put a cork in it. I just get so excited noting all these great happenings, it gives me great pleasure to be the happy chappy who helps to inform you about them.

I mean, look, I’ve not even mentioned our fabulous Wharf Theatre yet, who I’m delighted to really touch base with this year, and be invited to dress rehearsals, so we can get our views out on the performances prior to you delving into your purse for. Andy, Ian, and myself have given you the lowdown on TITCO’s The Dinner Party, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Hedda Gabler, Lovesong, but my favourite most was when Georgina Claridge played a Dorothy-type character in a most thoughtful, homemade children’s play by Helen Langford, called The World Under the Wood. We love the Wharf!

We had a feast at Soupchick, helped save Furlong Close, we told you about Swindon Paint Fest, we said about Midlife Krisis raving at the Vic in a milk float, we went to the Art Heist in Chippenham, we released a second volume of our 4 Julia’s House compilation albums, which you still NEED to buy, we even went down the “Bin” for UB40 tribute Johnny2Bad, but on bad, we cannot sing the praises of everyone, for that’s simply not realistic. The naughty list is open to invitation!

It was a shame to have to report how popular local Facebook group, Devizes Issues, administered by Tory town councillor Iain Wallis has seen it fit to block and ban Devizine for absolutely no given reason, as it has done with many individuals and even a local Covid support group. Nothing to do with a failed, laughable attempt to set up their own what’s on guide, (which only includes town council organised events,) no, of course not! It seems to enjoy regular culls of anyone who holds an alternative opinion to those of the admin’s, despite inviting members to participate in political debate on both local and national scales. So be it, we’re not looking back… the GB News of Devizes!!

We haven’t banned anyone from our social media pages, you can still enjoy the apolitical Devizine whatever side of the fence you sit on. We are an entertainment events and what’s on guide, ergo, there’s no need to include our personal political views, so we don’t. Why some think we should or shouldn’t do are shit stirrers from both sides, and we don’t play ball with shit stirrers. If you think different that’s your own issue, seek a doctor’s advice, not mine!

What a shame, that had to be said, but I feel it did. I’m not going out like that! For the most part Devizine continues to be the Time Out of Wiltshire, and I’m proud of this, and I’m eternally grateful to everyone who supports it. So, here’s to 2023, hoping it will be as good as last year, hoping we’ll get to cover more of it, be as comprehensive as possible, to not rise to witch hunts against us, and be the go-to website for the free-thinking local.

I urge you to tell us your story, inform us of your events, give us the scoops to cover, tell us about your talented family member, tell us about a niggly issue in need of exposure. Yeah, you can rant on Facebook or Twitter, but you won’t get the same level of attention, we are here to shake up the area, we are here to bring you the news on how great-a-place this is. If this means we’re the black sheep because we refuse to comply, so be it.

Devizine for 2023, I say, though I would, wouldn’t I?! We want to host some events too, btw, we want to raise some funds for charities, and we want to have a good time doing it! Do not get in our way of this simple ethos, with your pathetic and frankly perverse urge to kiss arse!


Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 21st December 2022 – New Year’s Eve!

Okay let’s get this out there before the kids munch through all the Quality Street, and have a double whammy Christmas and New Year run down of everything (we’ve found so far) happening around these parts over the yuletide; I feel like the Radio Times for live local entertainment!

But first, allow me take to take this opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year…. I hope you are all on the good list. Find all links and further details on our event calendar, and keep scrolling to plan ahead and scan for updates, they do occasionally happen!

Sustainable Devizes’ The Advent{ure} Reuse Christmas continues at The Little Green, Devizes until Christmas Eve.


Wednesday 21st is Winter Solstice, for sunset at 16:00, and sunrise on Thursday at 7:30. See here for advice if visiting Stonehenge or Avebury. Meanwhile Andy will be on the piano at The Barge on Honey-Street for some carols.  And you’ll find The Hammervilles at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.


Thursday 22nd Melksham Assembly Hall hold The Polar Express Pyjama Party.

Fin & Mark entertain at The Condado Lounge, Devizes, while Matt Owens & The Delusional Vanity Project play the Tuppenny, Swindon, and Far Cue attend the Three Horseshoes Bradford-on-Avon.


Friday 23rd Illingworth play The Three Crowns, Devizes, while One trick Pony takes over the Southgate for a Ugandan Children Centre fundraiser, with the promise of an afterparty with nibbles and funky disco. Talking funky, Funked Up play the Pelican Inn, while it’s the Long Street Blues Club’s Christmas party with Gee Baby I Love You. Any of these options can be washed down with a stint at The Exchange nightclub, where Stevie MC is behind the wheels of steel for an Ugly Christmas Jumper retro party night till 2am.

Outside of Devizes I’ve not got much to offer you, Rave Against the Machine play The Vic in Swindon, ska punk outfit Operation 77 will be at The Lamb in Marlborough, while Marchella are down The Wellington.

Pogues tribute, The P’Hogues are at Frome’s Tree House, Frenzy at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.


Saturday 24th, Christmas Eve finds 12 Bars Later at The Crown in Bishops Cannings, (UPDATED: Blondie & Ska have stepped in last minute as 12 Bars couldn’t make it) and a Christmas Eve party with DJ Lynx in the mix at The Exchange, Devizes. Illingworth play Old Town’s The Royal Oak in Swindon.


Sun 25th is Christmas day, and all silent night, enjoy your Brussel sprouts!


Our calendar from Monday 26th to Friday 30th has also drawn pretty much a blank to-date, hence while I’m getting the fortnight over and done with one big shebang today! Play it safe if protesting against Boxing Day fox hunts in Lacock or elsewhere. Find details for the protest at Lacock HERE.

Live music can be found at The Beehive in Swindon on Wednesday 28th with the Experimental Blues Orchestra, and on Thursday 29th with The Shudders, both start at 8.30pm.


Kick back into the live music action in Devizes on Friday 30th when Jon Amor plays The Southgate, and then it’s……


New Year’s Eve, Saturday 31st, and we’ve lots to get through, obviously. Seend Community Centre win my Editor’s Pick of the Week, even if it’s a fortnight special, where the Train to Skaville will be boarding. You need to get tickets for this steaming New Year’s Eve ska social.

Meanwhile in Devizes, DJ Andy Saunders is at The Conservative Club, there’s Glitzy New Year’s Eve Karaoke Party at The Pelican, and Plan of Action play The Crown at Bishop’s Cannings. Then, it’s all fancy dress at the Exchange with DJ Lynx.

Here’s what we’ve also found round-and-about for seeing in 2023, Get Carter play the Consti Club, Chippenham, while The Salutation Inn have a NYE party.

NYE disco party at The Civic in Trowbridge, and a party at The Wiltshire Yeoman too.

The Tuppeny in Swindon hos a New Year’s Eve Party, and that’s all we know about in Swindon.

Shindig Festival takes over Club Lomah in Bath for a Shimmy Discotheque.

No Middle Ground play The Burbage British Legion, the reBBels play Mere Social Club. Paul Jude Wilson is live at The George Inn, Middle Wallop.

New Year’s Eve Parties at The Lord Nelson, Marshfield, Players Traditional Carvery, Westbury, and The Packhorse, Larkhill.

Subgiant at The Winchester Gate, Salisbury, while The Deloreons play Salisbury Arts Centre, and find Miss Chief and the Makers at The Old Ale & Coffee House, and a NYE party at Ox Row.

In Frome the Foo Fakers and Nirvanot tributes play the Tree House, while The Hammervilles take the Cheese & Grain’s New Year’s Eve party.


If we missed something, let us know, for now though, we’re into 2023, happy new year, see you on the other side. Event organisers, your new year’s resolution should be to inform Devizine of your events, and don’t make us come looking for you!


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The Big Ones: Looking Forward to 2023 for Local Festivals and Large Events

What better time than when the temperature drops like a sack of potatoes on official potato sack dropping day, to think about next year and all the fun you can have without having to trek over mountainous landscapes or oceans? Sometimes even with your clothes on!

So, without further ado, let’s take a sneaky peek at some of the many festivals and large events happening around these supposed “cultureless backwaters” in 2023, and I think it’ll put any critics on their ass……

It should be noted this list in far from comprehensive, and many other events will surely come to our attention, ensure you’ve message us with your events we may’ve missed. Meanwhile, some of our favourite regular events have yet to secure a date. As soon as they do, we will add them to our event calendar, and slot them into place on this here article too.

No dates set yet for Trowbridge Festival, Devizes Arts Festival, and Swindon Pride, among others, but we suspect they’ll announce soon; watch this space. But what we do know is this……

Now, before we headlong into the summer months, some folks are like polar bears and do not allow winter to spoil their party, so let’s kick this off in January. Don’t let me sound like your mum, but take a warm coat!

January


21st January: Bradford Roots Music Festival

A stable and reliable indoor multi-day event at the ever-busy Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, where you can find a series of events, showcasing the very best of local talent. Expect folk, jazz, indie and, of course, roots music, combined with crafty local beverages and delicious food offerings for the ultimate celebration of this iconic community festival. Last year the festivities were broadcasted online too for the first time, and we assume this will happen again this time. Details are HERE.


28th January: Winterfest Clevedon

Perhaps a little early for a trip to the seaside, but WinterFest in Clevedon offers sixteen bands over two stages at The Salthouse. Line-up is a who’s-who of local Bristol-based talent: Adam & The Hellcats, The Shucks, Mr Zippy, Louis Stone Band, Captain Zero, Mireille Mathlener, Eddie Mole Band, Ragz, The Black Museum, Sophie & The Sticks, Magpie 22, Telhalla, Billy Driscoll, MJ Reynolds, and Drew Bryant.

Bowled over by boasting all this, they however neglected to give any tickets details! But we know previous years hasn’t cost much over a fiver, habitually on the door, and is usually charity fundraising. Info HERE.


February


 3rd-5th February: Incider Festival (Weston-Super-Mare)

Staying west coast, this one is dangerously entertaining, and fuelled by cider! A trio of days indoors at Sand Bay Holiday Village near Weston-Super-Mare. Starting at £159 per person with no booking fees, your ticket includes chalet accommodation, meals, live music, entertainment, and leisure facilities; all you need to bring is a towel, a big smile and money for the bar!

To put things into perspective, the festival states these strict rules: No tribute bands. No X-Factor. No Carling lager. No tossers! Which should give you a vauge indication of what to expect! Tickets on sale now.


18th February: Festival of Winter Ales (Devizes)

DOCA in association with Stealth Brewery kick off 2023’s Devizes event calendar with this regular beauty. The Festival of Winter Ales is essential fundraising for DOCA, but what is more, it’s a whole lot of drinking fun with entertainment and a more types of beer and cider than you could sensibly test them all; but who said anything about sensible, you can least try! Our roving reporter Andy might be able to shed some light on the line-up, he has leaked that Alex Roberts will be present for the afternoon, and the fantastic Dr Zebo’s Wheezy Club for the evening session, and that’s all I got for now!

Two sessions running on the Saturday, first from 11am-5pm, and later from 5:30-11pm, at The Corn Exchange, Devizes. Tickets on sale now.  


March

I’ve got nothing yet for March, what the heck is wrong with March?! But I will be celebrating my 50th at the Three Crowns, Devizes on March 4th and hope you can come to that? Talk in Code, Ruzz Guitar Trio, Ben Borrill and hopefully and few other special guests will be coming, they might even give us a tune or two! It’s free but I plan to have a whip round for a chosen charity, so bring your purse; yes, the pink one.


April


15th April: Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival

The Jazz Knights return for their 3rd year of the Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival at the Christ Church in Old Town, the venue with undoubtedly the best acoustics in Swindon. Not much more to go on this for now, other than there maybe some extra days around the weekend added, but for now, it’s the Saturday only. More info to follow, here’s the Jazz Knights website.


May


1st-7th May: Swindon Festival of Literature

At thirty years strong, plans are now underway for the next live in-person Swindon Festival of Literature. If you have any authors or speakers you would like to recommend, please get in touch with them HERE.


12th-21st May: Bath Festival

From books to music, Bath Festival is the city’s long-established gem. Sign up for their newsletter to find out more, HERE.


25th-28th May: Shindig Festival (Ilminster)

The dance music Mecca, Shindig is set in the posh grounds of the Dillington Estate in Somerset and while looks too good to be true, is well-established and known for its reliability. As well as camping and glamping, you can, at a price, stay in the plush hotel, and Shindig has an inspiring children’s program. Tickets are on sale, hurry, HERE. 


26th-29th May: Chippenham Folk Festival

Early bird tickets are on sale for Chippenham’s gem in folk music. The High Street is engulfed in a sea of colour and sound. Dance Sides, representing traditional styles from the UK and beyond, perform at key points around the high street and the main festival site at Island Park. Sides can also be found dancing and singing in the local pubs, as well as showcases on three public stages around Island Park. Open to the Public is a craft tent showcasing traditional crafts, hand produced wares and tasty treats from fudge to mead, also a music fair and many varied food stalls.

Those wanting a more participative festival experience can immerse themselves in tune and song sessions, both programmed and spontaneous, across the towns pubs. Beside the towns historic Butter Cross an outdoor ceilidh takes place each lunch time.

Inside more formal festival venues there are over 200 events. These allow ticket holders to plan a weekend to suit their own tastes. To soak in the sounds at the concerts, perform in club style events, develop skills in a vast array of workshops or stomp, twirl, and swing into the night with a choice of ceilidh, contra, and folk-dance events…. sound good? It’s just up the road! HERE.


27th-28th May: Devizes International Street Festival

The best day in Devizes, fact! DOCA’s International Street Festival is a double-day of music, street theatre, food, and drink, and it’s all free! The Market Place and all around it becomes a colourful festival; be rude not to…. go HERE


June


17th June: Test Fest (Taunton)

Taunton Rugby Club plays host to a one-day music festival, fundraising for It’s in the Bag Testicular Cancer Support, and offers great music, good food, beer, children’s activities and a silent disco. Details HERE.


21st-25th June: Glastonbury Festival

Elton John headlines the Saturday night at unarguably the world’s most historic festival, only across the county border. Need I say more about this one?!


24th June: Melksham Pride

Plans still underway for Melksham’s second Pride, but to mark it your diary will be good enough for now. HERE.


30th June-2nd July: Minety Music Festival (nr Malmesbury)

This renowed festival continues to go from strength-to-strength. Tickets are up for grabs already, and they’re boasting Owen Paul, Reef, Dodgy, EMF and locally based legends such as Gaz Brookfield, The Dirty Smooth, Rave Against the Regime, Talk in Code, Will Lawton & The Alchemists and too many more to list. Not been myself, but everything I hear about Minety tells me to make the effort! Tickets out now, HERE.


July


1st July: Mantonfest (Marlborough)

This is one which should be on everyone’s agenda, it’s quaint and simple but effective and fun. If Marlborough was a festival, this would be it! A friendly vibe with a vast demographic, it is the gem on Marlborough’s event calendar. Rolling Stones Now tribute headline, with James Oliver, Madness tribute Badness and of course, the constant jewel of MantonFest, Barrelhouse. I love it there, and I say, do this one if nothing else!! Tickets and Info HERE.


1st July: Devizes Beer & Cider Festival

In its 22nd year, The Devizes Beer & Cider Festival is the stable must-do for everyone in Devizes, because they all love beer! Spoiled for choice, hundreds of brands of real ale and cider, and the dependable music program which supports our local scene; I’m there already in my mind! HERE.


6th-9th July: Nass Festival (Shepton Mallet)

If Shepton Mallet was never a hip hop capital, it is now. Nass is all about high energy stuff; skating, BMX, street art and an urban musical line-up, including the Wu-Tang Clan, there to celebrate their 30th anniversary. There’s camping, and tickets are up for grabs now, HERE.


8th July: CrownFest (Bishops Cannings)

Terrible poster, great event! To list here every local pub which puts a man with a guitar in a gazebo, flogs some manky hotdogs and tries passing it off as a festival would be insanely unfair on those who really makes an effort, and last year’s inaugural CrownFest was one of them, one of the best of them; it was top notch. With proper-job stage and pyrotechnics, lots of food choices and kids’ entertainment, camping and generally all-round good vibes, this has bags of potential for a second year.  

8th July sets the date for 2023, at thirty quid, tickets will go on sale from 3rd January, and camping is £15 extra. It’s all rather tribute top-heavy with Bob Marley & The Wailers, Abba and Tina Turner tributes, with Cap’n Rasty’s Skiffle City Rockers, Junkyard Dogs, and The Leon Daye Band. There’s me contemplating a few more original local acts would better suit, but that’s just my personal preference, it’s a good day out nonetheless.  


8th & 9th July: Chippenham Food & Drink Festival

Double-day food and drink festival at Monkton Park, Chippenham, bringing some of the best chefs, wine tasting and talks, craft beer and cider, live music, children’s entertainment (kids go free,) and cheese masterclasses; tickets are going like hot cakes, HERE!


15th-16th July: Market Lavington Vintage Meet

This ever-popular family fun event in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance and local community projects will have displays of vintage and classic cars/vans/motorcycles/commercial and tractors, military vehicles, stationary engines, miniature & full-size steam engines and miniature train for kids to ride on.

Several car clubs will be having club stands. Wiltshire Air Ambulance fund raising team will be there as well as Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. There’s a static display of birds of prey from K&H Falconry, who will also be doing a flying demonstration in the arena on both days. There will be gun dog demonstrations in the arena from BASC.  A fun dog show will take place in the arena on Sunday followed by the popular tug of war competition. There will be numerous trade and craft stalls as well as demonstrations & collectables. Several catering outlets will provide a delicious range of food and Botanico bars will be providing beer, wines and spirits from their converted classic 1976 VW bay window camper van. Children’s entertainment will be a bouncy castle, swing carousel, fun house. Organisers have again applied to the RAF for a flypast by aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Red Arrows.

Tickets available now: HERE


22nd July: My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad (Swindon)

The inaugural Swindon Shuffle organised one day music festival at the Old Town Bowl, in tribute to Swindon’s premier music promoter, Dave Young, and raising money for Swindon’s Prospect Hospice was heralded legendary last year, and though few details have been released to-date for 2023, I’ll guarantee you right now, this one will be very worthy or your attention. Backing the very best of our local music scene, My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad’s tickets are up for grabs now, HERE.


22nd July: Marlborough Festival

If Marlborough has scrambled somewhat in the dark since the closure of its historic Jazz Festival, Marlborough Rising set to replace it but phased out, this year we see a new kid on the block, simply titled “Marlborough Festival;” why not?!

This inaugural one dayer takes place at Marlborough Town Hall, where they outline the plans for a community Music & Arts festival in 2023 and beyond. Suggestions welcome, but it already offers guest speakers, live music from Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers, a champagne reception with food from Rick Stein, Tipi Tapa and Pie’s Pies. Tickets are £30 each, available from Sound Knowledge, The Lamb, and HERE.


27th-30th July: Womad (Malmesbury)

Pricey, but you get what you pay for, and this is nothing short of legendary. This most diverse, world music extravaganza is on our doorstep, and attracts people worldwide. How they are coping with post Brexit visa issues will no doubt add to the ticket stub, but this magical festival really speaks for itself. If you can, do it, and report back to me, if nothing more than to make me jealous! Tickets not on sale yet, but HERE is the link where you can add your name to the mailing list.


27th-30th July: Camp Bestival (Lulworth, Dorset)

Se in two locations, the other in Shropshire, the Jurassic Dorset coast is within reach for us, and this one also speaks for itself. Tickets up for grabs now, HERE.


28th-29th July: Mfor Festival, Lydiard Park (Swindon)

Postponed from last year’s cancelled festival, this pop-based festival at Lydiard Park has been cancelled again, claiming the next one will be July 2024. Unless you apply for a refund your ticket will automatically be transferred to the 2024 date…. this is including the already transferred tickets from this year! With this track record I’d be asking for a refund if I was you, rather than hope and pray your 2022 tickets will see you into a festival two years too late. It is a shame, but it also sticks as a warning to festival-goers; be vigilant in where you splash your festival budget. The other side of the coin says advance ticket buyers are essential for organisers to make ends meet, and without them it risks the future of the event; a double-edged sword. All enquiries should be directed to info@mforfestival.co.uk


28th-30th July: Devizes Scooter Rally

If Mfor was the only local large event we currently know of clashing with Devizes Scooter Rally, its cancellation might be Devizes Scooter Club’s advantage, not that the clientele rests in similar genres. The Devizes Scooter Rally is nuts and bolts modest, retrospective goodness of the mod, skinhead and scooterist variety. Though for some it’s a niche they’re prepared to trek the country to attend, on their hairdryers, one thing which separates this from other scooter rallies is its continued devotion to attracting and catering for locals with only a passing interest too. That is why I will sing its praises, plus for two other simple facts; it’s affordable and won’t leave you feeling ripped off, and after two previous years it is surprisingly reliable, for a bunch of skins!

Look, see what I mean, early bird weekend passes include camping, and that’s a snip at £25.00, but a weekend pass anyway is only £30. There are also day passes for half-price, and a Saturday day pass is only a fiver. Live music from ska legends Orange Street, who were the highlight of their inaugural rally in 2019, Sharp Class, The Butterfly Collective, and local ska covers from Killertones. DJs also play a large part of the scene, and Fenton, Big Phil and Phil Seymour spin the tunes ahead of Northern Soul legendary DJ Terry Hendrick. The Devizes Scooter Club work tirelessly to bring us this annual event, and it’s worth every penny. Tickets HERE.


August


3rd-7th August: Wilderness Festival (Chipping Norton)

Complete change of scene now from our Devizes mods, Wilderness is a four-day boutique festival spanning music, the arts, food, and wellbeing, all set amidst the idyllic surroundings of Cornbury Park, near Chipping Norton. The Chemical Brothers, Christine and The Queens, Fatboy Slim, Sugababes, Confidence Man and Pip Millett are amoung the hefty line-up. I’m in dark on this one, but it looks rather special, in a hippy-love freakout kinda fashion; have I got time to grow and beard and buy a straw hat? Tickets on sale now, HERE.


25th-27th August: Reading Festival

Reading festival, the younger man with tighter jeans and high-tops’ Glasto! Say no more, it’s fairly local, it’s grounded in historic legend, perhaps only overshadowed by Glastonbury itself. I could research the line-up but being honest, I think you’re like me, and too old to know any of them!

Okay, just in case you’re not, Billie Eilish, Sam Fender, Foals, The Killers, Imagine Dragons and Lewis Capaldi headline; lucky tickets HERE.


26th-27th August: FullTone Festival (Devizes)

Not much to go on yet, but early bird tickets are up for grabs for Devizes’ third orchestral merges with pop extravaganza. On the Green, as usual, The Full Tone Orchestra’s homecoming plans to serve up six amazing sets from Proms to Iconic Themes from TV and Film, Huge Dance Anthems, Big Band, Massive Great Big Musical Theatre and The Absolute Best of Elton John. Plus, of course guests which are to be confirmed. Though I know a secret which Jemma might tell me off for breaking, so I’ll keep it under my hat, for now, but it will be something to look forward to, trust me!

Early Bird tickets on sale HERE.


27th August: Potterne CC Festival

Sunday of the bank holiday is also the regular date of another great shindig which sells out faster than it takes to drive there from Devizes, just down the road in Potterne. The Potterne Festival, not called “PotFest,” or it might have different connotations, organised by Potterne Cricket Club, is a regular mini-festival which punches above its weight. Details to follow on this, but see HERE for updates.


31st August-3rd September: End of the Road Festival (Blandford)

End of The Road Festival is located at Larmer Tree Gardens, near Blandford, in Dorset. Line-up yet to be announced, but it offers as much alternative shows as well as music, from comedy, talks and films to literature and healing workshops. Seems like a great all-rounder. Get in quick though, this sells out fast. HERE.


September


10th-17th September: Pewsey Carnival

We’d surely be here all night if I was to list every local town and village carnival, but Pewsey’s is different, for a week it is Wiltshire’s Rio de Janeiro! Okay, usually a chilly Rio de Janeiro, but a Rio de Janeiro all the same. The marvellous things about it is the simple notion that everyone comes out to enjoy it, and truly is historically our county’s most widely renowned carnival, so put it in your diary and I’ll see you feeling sorry for yourself in the Cooper’s field come September! HERE.


14th-17th September: Swindon Shuffle (Swindon)

Swindon is the place to head this weekend, if you wish to worship our local music scene. The Shuffle is free, supplies multiple gigs in all of Old Town’s pub venues, and raises vital funds for Prospect House. No details yet, though it offers no headliners, no hierarchy, just the very best of local live music; just another to stick firmly in your diary. HERE.


23rd September -1st October: Devizes Food & Drink Festival

Always with a packed program to fill your bellies, Devizes Food & Drink Festival is a stalwart for foodies. Details of this year’s festival are yet to be announced, stay in touch with them by signing up for their newsletter HERE.


23rd September- 2nd October: Bath Children’s Literature Festival

From Bath Festival comes a second event, just for your little bookworms. This is grounded in absolute top-notch guest authors, and no doubt will be no different this time. More info HERE.


28th September- 1st November: Marlborough Literature Festival

Pam Ayres has been rescheduled from the pandemic year, and goes to show just how prestigious the Marlborough Literature Festival has become. Check the link for info and the brochure, and where to get some tickets.


October


14th October: Swindon Ska Fest

A new one from last year, I believe, though The Moonrakers Inn in Swindon has always hosted the best local ska bands. This sees The Killertones, The Corsairs UK, The Bee-Skas, Ska’d For Life, and Sister Sister, an Amy Winehouse tribute from Caroline Lowe and DJ Dave Clark. This is a Specialized project, fundraising for various charities, including the Teenage Cancer Trust, and wait for it, tickets, on sale soon, are only a fiver; pick em up, pick em up, HERE.


Do not take this list as exhaustive, though it might make for exhausting reading! But for now, that’s all folks! Updates will be added, when details of more large events are released, so bookmark the page, or pay attention to our event calendar. Let’s make 2023 a real belter!


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What is this life if, full of jostle, we have no time to stand and waffle? A truckload of stuff to do this coming week, don’t let me ramble on pointlessly, you know how it works, more info and links can be found on our event calendar, HERE.

Sustainable Devizes’ Advent{ure} Reuse Christmas continues at The Little Green, Devizes, and runs until Christmas Eve. Little Red Riding Hood continues at the Wharf, but alas, is sold out.


Tuesday 13th there will be beer & carols at The Southgate, Devizes, and some Christmas Memories at Melksham Assembly Hall.


Wednesday 14th and it’s the regular Acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes. Also, a lunchtime harp recital by Lise Vandermissen at Pound Arts, Corsham, and the regular Chuckles Comedy Club at Meca, Swindon.


Thursday 15th and Kairo Beats, Chloe Hepburn and PX do the Tuppeny, Swindon, while Christmas by Candlelight is happening at Meca.


Friday 16th sees the Butch Hopkins Memorial Gig at The Corn Exchange, Devizes.

Humdinger play The Cooper’s Arms, Pewsey.

80s-90s Christmas Party at Melksham Assembly Hall.

Highly recommended Monkey Bizzle play The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, while you’ll find Bluesoul at The Boathouse, and Swinging at the Cotton Club at Wiltshire Music Centre, after a related swing dance workshop.

There’s a Rockin’ & Swingin’ Evening at Chapel Arts, Bath.

Over in Swindon, find Barrelhouse at The Queen’s Tap, Bublé at Christmas is happening at Meca, but don’t get over excited, Bublé fans, he’s not there, rather it’s some of the country’s top musicians celebrating the music, the arrangements, and the tours that the man himself has made so successful…. apparently!

The Sweet play the Cheese & Grain, Frome, with Abba tribute SOS at the Tree House.


Saturday 17th and it’s Lego club at Chippenham Library from 3-4pm.

Christmas in the Park at Hillworth Park, Devizes, though tickets to see Father Christmas are sold out now. Sustainable Devizes will be at St James for a toy and book swap (details) until 2pm. The Corn Exchange has the Devizes Christmas Vegan Fair.

Near sold out, it’s everyone’s favourite soprano, Chloe Jordan, who is at Devizes Town Hall with a Classic Christmas concert in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Devizes Community Choir are at St Johns, for a Big Sing Christmas Concert in aid of Dorothy House and Open-Doors. Highly recommended, Dr Zeebos Wheezy Club play The Southgate.


Editor’s Pick of the Week

It’s Chrrriissssssmmmasss at Marlborough Memorial Hall, when MantonFest hosts a Christmas Concert with Slade tribute Slyde, and naturally, the fantastic Barrelhouse. Despite all the amazing stuff going on this weekend, it’s not Christmas until Noddy, or least a Noddy-a-like calls it, so I’m thinking this should be Editor’s Pick of the Week.


Meanwhile, Pete Lamb’s Heartbeats play Woodborough Social Club’s Christmas Dance, and throw in a free ploughman’s lunch on the deal!

In the Sham, the Assembly Hall has The Rock-A-Toons for a Melksham Rock N Roll Club dance, and The Beverley May Band plays The Milk Churn.

Double-header at The Lamb, Trowbridge with Lucky Number Seven & The Foundations. John Kirkpatrick’s Carolling & Crumpets at Pound Arts, Corsham. It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year show at Chapel Arts, Bath.

Danny and the Randoms do The Swiss Chalet in Swindon, while it’s the annual 12 Bands of Christmas at The Vic, and the Tuppeny has a DJ set from Random Rules, “I’ll Make You a Tape.”

Shy FX featuring Stamina MC at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, with The Ramonas at The Tree House, and Flash Harry plays The Cornerhouse.


Sunday 18th The Christmas Celebration of Music for Miniatures will be at Devizes Corn Exchange. It’s Christmas Party time with It’s Complicated at The Southgate, and Jamie R Hawkins does an afternoon set at The White Bear.

St Agnes Fountain play Marlborough Folk Roots club, at Marlborough Town Hall.

GBH Big Band at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while The Worried Men plays The Three Horseshoes.

Christmas Sunday Swingout Social at Meca, Swindon, finishes off our weekend listings, and if I have to type the word “Christmas” one more time, I’m going to come over all Uncle Scrooge! Note though, this list is NEVER exhaustive, more events are coming to our attention, so keep one eye on our event calendar and the other on our social media pages.

Monday 19th, find Scratchworks Theatre at Pound Arts, Corsham with a show Wild, Wild Woods. Tuesday 20th and I’ve got nothing; hide under the duvet!

And you know what, events for New Year’s Eve are looking pretty thin at the moment, perhaps you need to send us details of what you’re doing for the big one?!


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REVIEW – Gigspanner @ Pound Arts Centre, Corsham – Tuesday 29th November 2022

A Night Of Extreme Violins

Andy Fawthrop

Yes, I know it’s not in Devizes, but it’s pretty darned close.  And it was definitely worth the trip out on a grim Tuesday night when nothing else was happening.  Folk or football?  Well, as Bill Shankly never actually said, this gig was far more important than mere life-or-death on a soccer field.

Gigspanner, if you don’t know, is now the full-time musical project of ex-Steeleye Span’s violin genius, Peter Knight.  Having gradually become slightly exasperated with the repetitive nature of Steeleye’s musical repertoire, despite the occasional new album, Peter left in order to pursue his own musical interests.  And boy has he done that in spades over the past ten years or so.  His trio, including guitar and technical wizard Roger Flack, and percussionist Sacha Trochet, has become legendary in folk (and other) circles for their ground-breaking exploration of musical forms, pushing the basics of folk way, way beyond previous known limits.

The Pound Arts Centre was absolutely packed last night, with every ticket having sold some time ago.  They’d managed to squeeze in two extra rows of seats at the front, and so it was that 120 of us welcomed these wonderful musicians to the stage.  Given the depth of applause, I’d guess that most of them were already big fans of the band and knew what was coming up.  And what came up was absolutely superb.  Building on the basic building blocks of a few “traditional” folk songs and tunes (She Moved Through The Fair, The Constant Lovers, The Bows of London and The Hard Times of Old England), the band built these foundations into something quite spectacular.  They moved these pieces far beyond the normal, extemporising and exploring as they went, and produced some spell-binding passages of music.  It was fascinating, it was beautiful, and it was utterly captivating.  Using violin, guitars, pedals, effects, and a range of percussion, the three of them wove some amazing musical patterns.  It’s absolutely unlike stuff you’ll hear anywhere else, and played live on stage right in front of you, it’s completely gob-smackingly good.  But there was even more.  Not content with re-defining what constitutes live “folk” music, there were some new musical journeys based on Peter’s own contemporary song/ tune-writing skills such as Seagull, Butterfly and (a collaboration with the late Terry Pratchett) I Will Wear Midnight.

And, as ever, there was laconic commentary and dry humour from Peter as he introduced each piece, followed by one of my favourite pieces of live musical “theatre” in a piece they’ve been playing from the earliest days called Louisiana Flack.  In this party piece, and without the aid of a safety net, Peter plays a very fast fiddle piece, whilst Roger takes up a pair of drumsticks and simultaneously taps out a complementary beat/ tune across the neck and fingerboard, hopefully avoiding Peter’s fingers.  Just watching these two consummate musicians pull this trick off is one of those breath-holding moments where you’re not quite sure what you’re seeing.  And it came off superbly, demonstrating the complete level of trust that these two musicians have for each other.  Truly amazing.

Altogether we got two good hour-long sets, which seemed to pass in but a few moments, and an outstanding ten-minute long encore of The Faerie King.  With only occasional lyrics (Peter’s singing voice isn’t why you go to see him), it was one very, very large helping of superbly played and presented music. It might have been based on “folk”, but what we heard would actually defy genre or mere pigeon-holing.  What you need to know is that it was very, very, very good.

Last night was, as it happened, the last night of the trio’s current UK tour, but it’s not all over.  The never-resting Peter Knight is starting a two-week tour on Saturday with John Spiers, then next year it’ll be back to all the other projects in his life – The Gigspanner Big Band (with Philip Henry and Hannah Martin aka Edgelarks), collaborations with other musicians, Feast of Fiddles, as well as his teaching master-classes, composing and recording.  The man never stops.  No wonder he continues to draw plaudits from the musical press and to win so many music awards.  This man is definitely not, as he self-deprecatingly describes himself, “a fool with a fiddle”.

Chatting with a clearly delighted band after the gig, they told me how much they loved playing The Pound.  CDs were selling like hot cakes, the audience had been great, and it’s such a lovely, friendly venue. They always get treated like royalty (not you Andrew!), so I’m pretty sure they’ll be pencilling in another date sometime next year.  And if they do, then you owe it to yourself to get a ticket and go – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Their future gigs are listed on www.gigspanner.com/ which includes dates in Swindon and Bristol next February.  And there’s lots of info on their other projects, such as Saltlines, too.

And, finally, just a word about The Pound Arts Centre.  It’s a cracking little venue, now back in full action, with a complete programme of events across drama, film, music, comedy, children’s activities, art exhibitions, workshops, and classes.  It also has an excellent café & bar just off the foyer.  You’ll have to look on their website for future music artists and online ticket information at www.poundarts.org.uk but (for example), they’ve got Jonny Coppin’s Christmas Show, Bowjangles, Sandi Thom, and John Kirkpatrick, all of them before Christmas.  They show modern films and often carry live telecasts of live performances from London venues.  If you’ve not been over there, it’s definitely worth checking out.


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Announced this evening, DOCA said, “based on what we’ve heard, we have made the decision to move the Carnival back to the traditional date, the first weekend of September.”

Confetti Battle and the Colour Rush will remain on a Saturday, DOCA suggesting it’s “been a welcome change overall,” and will be set two weekends prior to Carnival. This will create the “Carnival Fortnight,” as it was before, alongside some fringe events of entertainment in collaboration with local businesses. The International Street Fair will stay in early summer.

The key dates for next year look at little something like this:

International Street Fair – 27th & 28th May

Picnic in the Park – 18th June

Colour Rush & Confetti Battle – 19th August

Carnival Parade – 2nd September

Hummm, summer; I’m there already!


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 30th November – 6th December 2022

No point in amending your bad behaviour now, far too late; you’ve got to have been good all year round to get on the good list. So, may as well carry on as usual, as this week sees us in the wintery but festive season. Are you ready, excited? Here’s our rundown of stuff to do this coming week in our local province, walking in the winter Wiltshire….

Details and Links, and for planning ahead, check our event calendar.


Last day of November then, tomorrow; Wednesday 30th, acoustic jam at the Southgate, Devizes, and Doric String Quartet at the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.


Starting Thursday 1st December on The Little Green, Devizes and running until Christmas Eve, Sustainable Devizes have the Advent{ure} Reuse Christmas, where you can be part of a living Advent Calendar! Create a scene or event for one evening during advent on a Christmas story or theme, to be displayed/performed for all to enjoy, and so many organisations have contributed to this. More HERE.

Meanwhile, Sarah McQuaid plays The Pump, Trowbridge, Martin Harley at Chapel Arts, Bath, The Bob Porter Project at The Beehive, Swindon, and UK’s hottest drag act, Holly Stars presents their first solo show Justice for Holly, at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.


Friday 2nd December, Sour Apple play The Pelican, Devizes, B-Sydes at The Pump, Trowbridge, Train to Skaville at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon. There’s also an evening of acoustic country with the Alan West Band at Chapel Arts, Bath.

Every Friday night from now until Christmas is Christmas Party night at the Exchange nightclub in Devizes, doors at 10pm, free entry before 11.

Shows include Through the Decades with Roy & Buddy at Melksham Assembly Hall, and Stardust: A Musical Journey at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

Pink Mac play The Vic in Swindon, while Bone Chapel take The Beehive.

Oas-is tribute at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while L1nkn P4rk tribute at the Tree House, and for want of an originals band in Frome on Friday, the incredible 41 Fords play The Sun Inn.


Saturday 3rd, and Devizes Lions have their Christmas Fair at the Corn Exchange, from 9am-2pm. The Churchill Arms, West Lavington also have a Christmas Fayre, from 2-5pm. Regular Lego Club at Chippenham Library from 3-4pm. And I’m sure there’s Christmas fairs going off all over the place, but it’s a daunting task keeping up with all of that!

Onto music, and our Phil Cooper plays The Southgate, Devizes, Alex Roberts is at The Barge on Honey Street. Grant Sharkey plays The Pump, Trowbridge, while Triple JD are at the Old Road Tavern, Chippenham. The Ultimate ABBA Tribute play The Consti Club, Chippenham.

St Marys, Marlborough host the Marlborough Concert Orchestra Winter Concert, and Barrelhouse on their home-turf at The Lamb. Meanwhile, in Swindon, Oasish & Stereotonics play The Vic.

Westwards leading and it’s a Boot Hill All Stars pilgrimage to The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, Oye Santana at Chapel Arts, Bath, while DJ Dave Pearce presents Dance Anthems at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, and Billy in the Lowground take The Tree House.


Sunday 4th, Seend Community Centre has a Christmas Concert in aid of Alzheimer’s Support, and the Wessex Concert Orchestra play a Winter Concert at Devizes Town Hall.

Trowbridge Philharmonic Choir at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, and an ultimate Christmas party for the little ones at Meca, Swindon called Calling all Elves.

It’s not a massive weekend for live music, the build up to the festive period, but if in Bath on Sunday, it must be an afternoon session at The Electric Bar, where you’ll find Concrete Prairie live in session.

And that’s all folks, have a good weekend. Please do send me some details of your Christmas events, and especially New Year’s Eve, which is looking unusually bare on our calendar this year.


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 22nd – 29th November 2022

Heads down for the last week of November, and there’s so much to get through. As usual, links and details to all events mentioned here are listed on our event calendar HERE, so check it out, as it may yet be updated before the week is through.

The observant among us (I’m told there are some!) will notice I’m deleting past dates now, so today’s date will show at the top of the calendar, hopefully making it easier to follow. I’m looking at better ways to present this info, but to be honest, Google calendars are impractical for storing the vast amount of info we have here, and the site is restricting on what we can do. I’m working on it but finding a method which is easy and quick to put up the information and equally user-friendly is tricky.

Anyway, lots to get through… Tuesday, I got nothing, the regular acoustic jam night down The Southgate Devizes on Wednesdays, and on this Wednesday, 23rd, Richard Robbins presents Passage of Time at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Matt Deighton plays The Tree House, Frome and there’s a Willow Reindeer Festive Workshop starting at Salisbury Arts Centre, running until 30th.


To be honest, there’s so many craft fayres and Christmas events happening it’s impossible to keep track and also keep sane! Do look out for them on your local social media groups.

On Thursday 24th Milton Jones brings his Milton Impossible tour to the Cheese & Grain. There’s open mic at Stallards, Trowbridge, while their town hall has The I’s Have It, a pre-Christmas celebration of Italian and Irish, with music from Luca Rossi and Ruairi Glasheen, plus a delicious three-course Italian feast.

With the theme ‘Cold Weather, Warm Hearts’ the week ends with DOCA in Devizes, starting Thursday Devizes Window Wanderland 2022 will be go! DOCA are inviting our local community to create something special in their windows to show just what an amazingly creative place Devizes is. Anyone with a window can create a display, but you should have registered for this already. All the public now need is the interactive map of Devizes highlighting all the different window locations.


And onto Friday 25th, the Devizes Winter Parade will light up the town, need I say more? Only to wish all the DOCA volunteers the very best, and Annabel and Ashley especially for their maiden voyage at the helm! There’s been a few social media posts about what to expect, such as the Celestial Sound Cloud; an interactive sound art installation from Pif-Paf Theatre, to be installed in the grounds of St. John’s on Friday and Saturday. They all look breath-taking, and the Shambles will be open late for shopping, and all this is leading me to believe this is going to be the most memorable one yet. Lanterns assemble!

Atop of this, The Pelican holds a Christmas Lantern Parade Festive Karaoke Party, and it might be your last chance to catch the highly recommended People Like Us before Christmas; they’ll be at the Three Crowns, Devizes; tidy!

Elsewhere on Friday, John Otway plays the Pump, Trowbridge. Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment presents The Moon Hares at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, and Matt Owens & The Delusional Vanity Project play out their album “Beer For The Horses” at its launch at Chapel Arts, Bath.

Fossil Fools play The Vic, Swindon, while Fort Boyard & SexJazz do the The Rolleston, and its soul night at Meca, with an evening called Lost in Music.

Barnstormers Comedy at Salisbury Arts Centre, and that’s Friday done.


Saturday 26th is big, and it’s not just Lego Club from 3-4pm at Chippenham Museum! Winter Festival in Devizes continues, plus…….

I believe they’ve sold out now at SoupChick, who hold their second feast in the Shambles, Light of Kashmir promises to be beguiling, exclusive evening celebrating Kashmiri Cuisine and Couture, hosted by Angela Cave of The Parrot Cage and Anya Toropov of Soupchick. I attended the first one of these fabulous feasts, my tastebuds are still loving me for it. I am so sorry to miss out, but I will be at our Editor’s Pick of The Week!

Editor’s Pick of the Week: The Sribes at the Muck & Dunder

Despite Friday’s Lantern Parade, which should in most reasoning be my pick of the week, I’m certain there will the entire population of the Devizes area attending, ergo there’s no need to plug it anymore. No, what I’m talking about is the evening at the Muck & Dunder Rum Bar in Devizes I’ve been waiting for an age for, when hip hop sensations The Scribes bring boom bap to town; this, I tell you now, will go off. Tickets are running low, get in now, they’re only a fiver, and I hope to see you there, with one hand in the air! I did a poster for it, but they didn’t use it, I thought it quite good, and being they’ve not done another poster for it, I’m using to highlight it here, but you should note, it’s not the official poster!

Rockport play The Southgate, Pink Mac at the Barge, Honey-Street, Chaos Brothers at the Lamb, Marlborough. Melksham Rock N Roll Club have The Delray Rockets, and there’s the 20 Things for 20 Years Big Ball at Spencer’s Club.

Oh, and don’t forget The Toy Pig Race at Erlestoke Golf Course, which sounds too much fun for me!

The Moscow Drug Club, another disappointed missed gig for me after reading Andy’s superb review when they came to Devizes Arts Festival; they play the Pump, Trowbridge. Meanwhile find The Reservoir Hogs at The Wiltshire Yeoman, on Chalk Road.

Lonely Road Band play Colerne Liberal Club, Alter Eagles at Chapel Arts, Bath. Also in Bath, the interactive Alice in Wonderland Experience begins. Calan at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, also there, Bath Camerate presents Mother & Child.

In Swindon, there’s a Sahara Trek Fundraiser for Prospect Hospice with Slagerij, Death is a Girl, and Buswell & Nyberg, plus DJ Dust at Level III, while State of Quo play The Vic; they might be a tribute act, but I’m not certain of whom!!

Panto time, of course, Wharf Theatre announced they’ve sold out for Little Red Riding Hood, though we may yet be able to bring you a review of the night. So, find Cinderella starting at Salisbury Playhouse, opening Saturday, and running until January 23rd. Staying in the Spire, The Spitfire Sisters play Salisbury Arts Centre.

That’s Saturday dusted, from hip hop to panto, and rock n roll to pig racing! Last but by no means least, lucky ones get to see Turin Brakes play the Cheese & Grain, Frome; where else?!


Sunday 27th and Jon Amor’s residency at The Southgate, Devizes has been shifted from it’s usual spot, first Sunday of the month to this Sunday, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

The fantastic N/SH plays Avebury Music Night, and the Bath Symphony Orchestra are at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon; weekend over, unless you’ve heard something we haven’t; then why did you not tell us about it?!

Nothing on Monday and Tuesday, yet; get some shopping done, don’t be like me and wait to the last minute because you’re too busy telling everyone else what they should be doing!! See you at The Muck? Hip hop hooray!


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The Dinner Party – TITCO @ The Wharf Theatre, Devizes

An Open Love Letter – To TITCO

by Ian Diddams

Most reviews are quite sombre, written in the third person with a degree of distance.  Not this one. It’s time to throw that book away and speak from the heart. This “review” is openly praiseworthy and could even appear sycophantic. Meh. Whatever. It probably is somewhat cringeworthily first person centric – always a no-no. Though I would hasten to add that while I mention “me” and “I” quite a lot the real recipient of attention is most definitely…  “The Invitation Theatre Company” a.k.a TITCO.

Some history.  TITCO was started by Jim and Mary Roberts, in Devizes, back in the 70s, based on a bunch of friends coming together to put on shows others didn’t. They both passed on in time and TITCO “went to sleep” for a while – until resurrected with a passion by Jim and Mary’s daughter Jemma in 2009. Since then, Jemma and her husband Anthony have driven TITCO on in a similar vein to her parents – a bunch of friends putting in shows nobody else does.

There’s one very important word in the above paragraph.  The F-word.

Fast forward to 2022, November. And “The Dinner Party”. It’s been mentioned that this will be the last TITCO show for a while – and the setting of “The Dinner Party” (TDP for future reference!) is a beautifully framed homage of that situation. Set as if in Jemma and Anthony’s home (complete with genuine pictures and wall art from their real home I can testify – plus their lovely dog, Wilson!)  the setting is that of a get together for “Titters” – the members of TITCO.

This is where my review gets personal, and breaks the traditions as explained above. I was invited into the TITCO fold in 2015 for “Pirates of Penzance”, was made a Titter in 2015 and have shared a stage on multiple occasions since then. The rollcall is amazing…  including “Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of the War of the World’s” (WOTW)– twice. Driven by Anthony’s pride and joy “The Full Tone Orchestra” (FTO) of course.

So you see, I am part of this amazing company.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” …  As some bloke once said…
And of course, Sisters (Sister Act 2016!).

Friends.  Friends that come together and create amazing shows.

Which brings us back to TDP. Naturally.

So, the bunch of friends meeting for a dinner party naturally – this being TITCO – leads to spontaneous singing and performing as everybody takes it in turns to entertain the table or sing together in shared beauty. The evening’s menu is a mix of old and new, well-loved songs. From a starter of a few run-a-dub, London based favourites (“Last Night at the Conductors Arms”) onto a main course where some pretty serious singing came out. Promoted from his youthful renditions of Frederick, Sean Andrews gallantly moved into Major General mode – followed shortly after by “Luck Be A Lady Tonight” (A FTO Big Band speciality of his). South Pacific made its appearance (Brief History of Musicals 2015) with a heart rendition from the chaps of “Nothing like a dame” but not until after a spirited, marigolds glove tassel twirling (*cough*) performance of “Wash That Man” !

The revamped TITCO’s first musical – JCS – was paid tribute to with Herod’s song – led by the joyous Tim Hobbs – and the ladies’ exquisite “Could we Start Again Please”? Blood Brothers came to the party also with “Marilyn Monroe” by Ally Moore and an ensemble “Tell Me It’s Not True”. The “big show” additions continued with Chris Worthy singing “Forever Autumn” from WOTW …  but we were also shown little TITCO in-jokes throughout the show. Let’s just say that one Titter is NOT a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan – but succumbed to the (Hot) Mikado’s “The Hour of Gladness” …  good on ya Jemma! The main course came to its end with a couple of light-hearted pieces – “Me and My Shadow” by Chris and Anthony – somewhat a party piece of theirs, truth be told – and a fantastically hilarious version of “Pam” by Tina Duffin.

That wasn’t quite all of the main course though. As an almost surprise and wonderful lets-slip-this-in, one of TITCO’s stalwart accompanists Dominic Irving dueted with Mari Webster on “City of Stars”. Dom is one of those people that can play about a million instruments brilliantly – but I’ve never had the pleasure of hearing him sing – until tonight. Wow. Just – wow….

The night was hurtling towards its conclusion now. Five ensemble pieces completed our pudding course – with tear jerking numbers “Seasons of Love” and “Hallelujah”, and the uplifting and vibrant “Circle of Life”, “From Now On” and “Rhythm of Life”.

Then the dinner party was over, and so the guests wended their way into the night, Jemma said good night to Anthony…  who called Wilson into the garden.

Lights Out.

I started this review saying this was an open love letter to TITCO.  And it is. From your invitation in 2015 until today as a company TITCO has shown me friendship, inclusion, and provided me with every opportunity I could want in TITCO shows – and allowed me to run the show bars!.  From a somewhat fay pirate (Pirates of Penzance), to a mobster (Sister Act), The Voice of Humanity (WOTW – twice), to cow & narrator (the “cowrator” in “Into the Woods”), Albert the publican (Last night at the Conductor’s Arms ), then a hectic seven characters and twelve costume changes plus ladder climbing in two hours (Spamalot). And of course ensemble singing and solos in concerts and the FullTone Music Festival. You built me. I’ve done amazing shows with other companies, but TITCO built me. And I thank you.

I wasn’t involved in tonight’s Dinner Party – a medical procedure (a good one I hasten to add!) precluded my involvement. But I sat in the audience, watching my friends deliver another polished smooth performance. Under my breath I sang with them. I laughed at the little in-jokes. I wanted to be there with them – but then I couldn’t have enjoyed their joie-de-vivre, seen the love, the friendship oozing from their every pore. As a sign said on stage “Friends are the greatest gift in life”.

Chapeau TITCO. I raise my walking stick to you all tonight.

A final word (or ten…).  This is “the last TITCO show for a while”.  So I just want to say as I sign off my open love letter is…

From Now On …  Could we Start Again Please.

Love you all

Didds
xxxx


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