I Shuffled in Swindon, and I Liked It!

Yep, It’s Swindon Shuffle weekend, and so I thought it best to poke my nose in…..

Voice recognition they call it, I call it defective verbal dysentery. My precise articulation fails on a number of letters and numbers from my vehicle reg, and I’m wound up. Parking apps; pet hate, so, call a number, it says, fuck you, nonhuman Noddy, I’m relocating, to a known carpark where you put these primative nuggets of bronze into a machine, wondering why I, aging country bumpkin that I am, bothered to come to the smoke of Swindon centre in the first place. Though it was a passing aggravation, my only rant about the Swindon Shuffle, and hardly their fault anyways…..

Like a lukewarm sea, once you’re immersed it’s lovely, and if the ground I once frequented is so alien, Swindon College, Regent Circus, now an underground carpark unpermitable for technophobes with a neon multiplex atop, one step up the hill and dependable Old Town greets you. Dependable because other than a few shop facades changing, it’s prettty much the same as it always was, the one safe haven within the roundabout-infested sprawling metropolis with its name derived from “pig hill.” Apologies Swindonites, I’m tetchy only about your carparks, and every large town has them.

So now I’m decending Vic Hill with the pleasent scent of kebab houses, on a misson to cram myself into the sardine tin which is The Beehive. It’s my first port of call, a bee line, (gettit?) after reviewing the singlemost amazing debut album from a local act, I was coming to see Concrete Prairie no matter the machine, urbanisation and rammed public house.

But it’s the most welcoming sardine tin, it has to be, the bustling Beehive is a wonderful no-frills pub making do with the space it has, adorned with quirky decor, and filled with smiling faces there for this legendary fifteenth Shuffle, a multi-venue long weekend testimonial to local live music, in aid of Prospect House. I’m immediately feeling homely in this hospitable watering hole, if a tad sultry.

I have to grab a word with chief coordinator Ed Dyer, in which he reveals this time legwork is reduced by having a promotor at each venue, though every year it’s rammed like this at most of the venues. Took me to pondering if a mere market town of Devizes populas could ever accommodate such a scale event without a severely dispursed crowd in each individual venue, but here, it works.

And it works with half-hour sets, timed somehow, with precision engineering, this colossal musician assemble spanning too many names to mention, let alone amass a comprehensive coverage. But such was yours truly impressed with what I did manage to injest, I’m contemplating if I should make Swindon Shuffle a B&B getaway next year.

It was good to bump into Kelly Adams, of Lacock’s Wiltshire Blues and Soul Club, hosting this venue’s entertainment, old friend and newspaper entrepreneur Jamie Hill, and Joel Rose, whose set I unfortunately missed. The question was if Concrete Prairie could, in this petite space, recreate the magic of said album, and they did, with bells on. One cover, and a few peaches from the album was all it took to convince me this is a band we so desperately need to get into our town, their stage pressence was topnotch, their timing impeccable and original compositions just melt.

One silver lining to the parking botheration is I’m closer uphill to my car once settled in the reliable Victoria, which is where I’m hotfooting it to next. Keen to catch Salisbury’s upcoming recommended CarSick, though skate-metal-punk not my preferred cuppa I’m game for those who do it well. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you; CarSick pulled a sicky, though no reports it was actually in any kinda vehicle.

Instead, Kieran Moore, coordinator for this legendary venue under his stalwart Sheer banner, flew in a young three-piece called InAir, who thrashed it out professionally, in a most pleasing fashion, so one could feel the bass rumble under one’s feet; I like that in any genre.

For where the Beehive is a welcoming but crammed bustling hive, The Victoria has a large pit aback, geared toward gigging. While slightly more conventional, and certainly more spacious, it still holds charm and you know when you decend those stairs into the black magic box, The Vic will pull a rabbit from its hat.

Proir to InAir’s blown away set, I spotted the man himself, fronting the Saturday headliner at the Vic, it’s impossible to miss him. “You’re out of Devizes?!” he cried in mirth; am I not allowed to be?!

Mike Barham towered, chatting enthusiastically, while bassit Rob McKelvey stood smiling, a position he’d compromise before the finale by circular squirming the stage floor while strumming his last notes. Yeah, with missing drummer Luke Bartels, who’d arrive on the scene soonishly, complaining of the after-effects of the pre-gig curry they’d had, the one InAir promised themselves on stage never to do again, ah, bless, the joys of reuniting with the NervEndings lads on neutral ground.

And they did their thing, loud and proud as before, though slightly more professional I hassen to add, with boundry-pushing banter. It’s one hardcore band easy on my acceptance, because there’s a blues influence. Mike nodded to Devizes’ affection for blues, and attempted a tune geared that Jon Amor way, but it fell short of a younger crowd, there to mosh and roll, or whatchamacallit. A quick switch rammed the dancefloor again, and those purveyors of noise were at it, superbly. Something Devizions need not miss when Sheer takes the Bin for free, on the 7th October.

To conclude, for what bore witness to mine eye, Swindon Shuffle is more than worthy bounding over the downs for, and what’s furthermore, you’re best leaving any ill-conceived notions at home. For loutish hooliganism, I saw none, just a mass of widespread age demographic live music aficionados, relishing the moment of strolling Old Town in bliss. Bouncers, I saw one, happily munching on a salmon sandwich.

There’s no prentious big names, no grand finale tribute act wandering around like they’re the real McCoy, no ethos to let the local orginal acts do their thing early and get sloshed awaiting a mainstream headliner. This is wholly dedicated, not just to a worthy charity, but to promoting upcoming local talent, which is precisely the kind of thing we love here at Devizine Towers; go Swindon; it continues today, (Sunday.)


Furlong Close Celebration

Residents of Furlong Close in Rowde mingled with staff, the new owners, villagers, councillors, and many of the campaigners which made up the Familes and Friends of Furlong Close steering group, at a party to celebrate the saving of the Close from closure….

It has been a drawn-out battle with former owners HFT, since October 2020, when, in the midst of the pandemic, the residents of Furlong Close, their families and friends were thrown into a state of anxiety and despair at the news Furlong Close was to close, and its thirty vulnerable residents forced to leave their happy and settled homes.

In July, the group were delighted to announce Furlong Close had been saved. The site had been acquired by a new owner, Specialised Supported Housing, and new care provider, Agincare, took over the provision of care to the residents.

Chair of the campaign group, FAFF, Antonia Field gave a heartwarming speech, thanking everyone for their efforts, and MP Danny Kruger reflected on the national mourning, suggesting this occasion was “what England is all about.” For me, personally, getting the chance to meet and talk with some of the residents put all the sterling efforts of the group and villagers into perspective.

The residents of Furlong Close are a welcomed part of the village community, always have been, the gathering today proved this, a truly monumental occasion for Rowde.

The ribbon was cut, symbolic of a new, brighter era for Furlong Close, and a marvellous example of how people-power can turn a negative into a positive.

I tried to chat with a representative of Agincare, but she was preoccupied talking to a resident about the Marvel film “Thor, Love and Thunder!” Along with the sunny autumn afternoon, this said it all for the occasion, giving me faith in the new owners and thier relationship with the residents.


The Queen, Some Footbridges and Wiltshire’s Wackiest Race; Chatting to the Creator of Devizes’ Boto-X

“When the Queen came to open it, the boat which was doing the ceremonial opening was on the lock below the Waterways Board yard. The approach was through there, where she met the union members, and they walked out along the bank, above the first of the top of the Boto-X lock. She met people who were lined up along the bank, trying to not to push each other into the water! She came to the footbridge but didn’t go over, she got in the boat, cut the ribbon, and the canal was open. But she was introduced to people, and she was laughing, I mean, Jill said it ‘looked as if she was having a day out,’ not on official business.”

“She was introduced to me as the chap who organised this ridiculous race up and down the locks, before there were boats going along it. She said ‘oh what was it?’ So, I started to explain. I was facing down the locks, and she was facing me. It was no good trying to explain it without seeing it, so I asked her if she would mind turning around, so I could show her. I stood beside her, which apparently wasn’t permitted, and I illustrated vigorously with my hands how the starting gun went, and everybody jumped to their boats, charged down the hill, fell into the boats, getting very wet in the process, paddled like hell, climbed out the other end, over the hill, and by the end, she was in fits; I’ve actually got a picture of her laughing. I was told afterwards that you should always face the Queen when speaking to her, and you shouldn’t wave your hands around rather keep them decorously by your sides. So, I was expecting to be arrested for high treason! I asked Bill to send her my apologies, but he said, you don’t need to do that, she was having a day off!”

Some forty-five minutes into our chat, John Petty apologised for taking up too much of my time, which I wouldn’t accept, I could’ve listened all day to his fascinating recollections. For John wasn’t feeling up to what he’d planned this weekend, visiting Devizes for nostalgic reasons and to plan a presentation on what he is renowned for here; being the brainchild of the legendary Boto-X.

If you take the Devizes stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal, and the beautiful surroundings of the Caen Hill locks for granted, you might be surprised to know for decades after the coming of the railway, once the motorways of their day, canals were left to dilapidate. The Caen Hill Flight was reopened for leisure purposes in 1990, by the Queen. But prior to this much campaigning and fundraising had to be done, and as well as most likely the largest annual event ever in Devizes, the Boto-X was instrumental in that campaign.

“This was something specific, something which could only be done in Devizes; that’s what we tried to find.”

John Petty

If it wasn’t Devizes, I might’ve not believed my wife’s memories of the Boto-X when she relayed them some years ago, how “everyone came out.” It’s surely a story essential to archive, not only because due to health and safety regulations the chance of reviving it would be minimal, but the fact that, as well as the Queen, thousands upon thousands of people laughed, and thousands upon thousands of pounds were raised over the near decade it ran for.

John now resides in Exmouth. He came with his wife, Jill, to the Devizes area in 1978 from Ipswich. John was employed to run engineering firm, Roundway Mill. Having holidayed on canals, they were inactive members of the Canal Trust. The Trust at this time had moved their headquarters to Devizes, and so Jill became the Membership secretary, and John soon took the post of chairman of the local branch. At this time, John explained, “they’d done a lot of the restoration, from Foxhangers to Bath, and from Devizes up to Reading; but they were left with the twenty-six blooming locks, all forlorn with empty gates and side ponds.”

“We used to get annoyed, walking down the flight, thinking nothing was happening, but they needed another ten million quid, or something, to buy gates; we wished somebody could do something.” The Caen Hill Flight wasn’t used as parkland, “you went down the Flight, you couldn’t get across the locks, with no gates on them, and the other side the ponds had all been cleared out and were barren.”

The Rotary Club were assigned to organise an annual fundraising event. “It was suggested,” John chuckled, “we should have a dance, at Dauntsy’s School. We looked at each other and thought, bugger that, we’re not into doing dances!” Adamant an event needed to relate to the canal, inspiration came from the already well-established Devizes to Westminster canoe race, as they had to get out and carry the canoes around the locks. But John explained, “it was quite a gung-ho event, commandoes, army cadets, ranger scouts and pretty tough people. It was a great event, but it did nothing for Devizes, because people arrived about 2am, setting sail in the dark, and were gone.”

It’s unlikely the Flight would be the attraction it is today without John’s pitch to the union for footbridges. The only way across the canal before this was climbing over the lock gates which was forbidden through safety factors. At the time public assistance was reduced to pruning brushes, since the union didn’t want work taken from labourer’s hands. Because you’d need twenty-six bridges, they weren’t in the tight budget. As an engineer, John asked, “if I could get them made, would you blokes put them in? They all looked at each other and replied, ‘yeah, why not?’” Management approved his plans. “Each bridge had a plaque with the name of the donators on them; we had Pewsey Primary School, all sorts of schools and colleges, workplaces, volunteers from all over the place, arriving with a Land Rover and trailer with a footbridge on it. As soon as they were in, people started walking their dogs, and the place started to come alive.”

Asked by the Trust to raise some money, The Rotary thought, “why not do something big and bold?” And the idea for the Boto-X was born. There is little information about it online; to Google “Boto-X” will get you cosmetic surgery sites, a practise which came along during the reign of Boto-X, and John joked, they suggested suing them for taking their name! Though the name of this event is pronounced “boat-o-cross,” like Motor-X.

For those grown up here, this will be a trip down memory lane, for others new to the area, like me, what exactly the Boto-X was can be best explained by this video, submitted to YouTube by Noel Woolrych, who also played a major part in the Boto-X. It was, in short, and by tagline, ‘the Wackiest Race in Wiltshire!’

The two-day event ran from 1985 to 1994, encompassing the grand opening of the Caen Hill Flights in 1990. But John reminded us at the time the pounds were dry. “I went to my friends in the Union,” John continued, “who were friendly, because they liked their footbridges, and said ‘if you drop the stop planks into five locks, what would happen?’ ‘Well, don’t be silly,’ they replied, ‘they’d fill up with water, won’t they?!’ So, I said, ‘would you do it?’ ‘Suppose so,’ ‘would you have to ask anyone?’ ‘Not really!’”

The original idea was a raft race, but people would have to build the rafts. “You couldn’t have canoes either, because they’d be terribly unwieldy,” he clarified. Avon Rubber Company from Melksham supplied dinghies. “This had never been done before,” John delighted to tell us. “We got just about every local charitable organisation, The Lions, Round Table, Rotary, Ladies Circle, Mother’s Union, scouts’ groups, everybody got the message, without mobile phones and internet.” In a quest for publicity, John borrowed the boats a couple of months prior, and asked beneficiary surgeons to paddle across the pond for the sake of newspapers, television and radio. This was also an aid to finding out how long it would take to complete the course.

They even created a free newspaper to promote the idea, an eight-page broadsheet which the Ladies Circle raised money for through advertising. “Noel [Woolrych] took over from me as chairman,” John explained, after also telling me about the programme. “The Boto-X News was just a single A3 fold, Noel was Raynet, the emergency communications people, and provided radio communication.”   

Finally, after this amazing origin backstory, we got to talking about the actual race! “We had teams of eight, and each eight was given a three-man inflatable,” John recollects, “because that was cosy!” Split into two, half the team raced down five locks, while the others raced back up. “We had the start and finish lines in one place, so we only needed one stopwatch. We also said we wanted them to get sponsored hereto very worthy causes, we’re trying to finish the canal off, and trying to get money for the Bath Cancer Unit.” Put into assorted sets, teams could be made up of girl guides competing against commandoes, “it didn’t matter!”

The heats were timed, the money was counted, ten of the fastest teams of each category got a plaque, and the best sponsorship handicap too. This equated as the money raised divided by the time taken, “so that you could go very fast, and not raise much money, but perhaps win, or you could raise a lot of money going ever so slowly, and still lose.” The winning teams of heats were put into semis and a grand finale, and cheques were awarded to the beneficiaries there and then. “We raised nearly ten grand the first year, from scratch, and it poured with rain the whole weekend!”

“The ladies all arrived in their best summer dresses and high-heels, and by the time they got to the locks they were plastered in mud, and it was so wet, and so muddy that everyone ended up in hysterics!”

“The ladies all arrived in their best summer dresses and high-heels, and by the time they got to the locks they were plastered in mud, and it was so wet, and so muddy that everyone ended up in hysterics!”

John Petty

I wondered if the idea came from programs like It’s a Knockout, but John said not. “This was something specific, something which could only be done in Devizes; that’s what we tried to find.”

This historically astonishing extravaganza, which at its peak attracted around 25-30,000 people, sadly ended. John recalled after twelve events, though records suggest it started in 1985 and ended in 1994. It folded because of the finding of viral disease in the water. “Jill and I were involved for five years, then we were punch-drunk, thought it needed reviving and passed it over to Noel Woolrych, under very good committee.”

It was Devizes event of the year,” John proudly said, so I asked him if there were many large-scale events in town at the time, other than carnival, of course. “Nope! I don’t think there was even a carnival at the time, or if there was it….” John trailed off at this point, to continue affirming, “the Boto-x was the biggie of the year, no doubt about it. As I say, it was always the canoe race which got Devizes mentioned, but it had gone by the time people woke up on Saturday morning. Whereas we had beer tents, helicopter rides one year, and we had teams from RAF Lyneham.” At about 4:20pm on the Sunday before the award ceremony, John explained, “if you looked down the flight towards Trowbridge, you could see a little black dot, and that was a Hercules, which would do a flightpath up the Boto-X course!”

The Boto-X remains confined to history books, surely to revive this, or to organise something like this today through modern health and safety regulations would be a minefield. Though, John was quick to express, “we never had any complaints, locally, about traffic, bad behaviour, anything. And the thing, this ‘wackiest race ever,’ they called it, it must have been in contravention of health and safety regulations, but we were careful, we had a lifesaver in every pond. We were careful and so well organised, I don’t how we managed it!” Wiltshire Constabulary sent one cadet to police the entire thing, John fondly giggled, “I can remember her coming, this sweet little girl, who said ‘I’ve come from Wiltshire Constabulary to look after you!’ There she was, in a crowd of what must have been twelve thousand people, that was our law and order!”   

We breezed over methods of documenting this event, and I hope my efforts today will be a catalyst to discussion, photos and memories being posted on social media to build more attention to this, absolutely astounding event, perhaps otherwise lost in time. Then, people looking online for Botox will be completely confused by an overload of images of people falling from dinghies, into muddy Wiltshire ponds!


@ The Pelican, Devizes

Trending…..

Devizine 5th Birthday!

Right then you lot, Devizine is five years old today, or at least it was when I begun this monumental mission of reminiscing on how, why and what the hell I was thinking when I started it in the first place. Question is, do you want the short story, or the long, drawn-out one?

Oh well, that’s just tough luck then, isn’t it?! You can’t stop me in full shit stream, because, everyone’s good at something, mine is endlessly waffling on about crap, so that’s what I’m going to do. In the words of the unforgettable Lesley Gore, it’s my party I can waffle on about crap if I want to, or something like that.

In consolation, I’ve sprinkled this piece with a lot of lovely photos, well, it’s been five years and we’ve a lot to show off about. And what a wonderful ride it’s been; dancing, dodging, meeting so many wonderful and talented people, rattling a few cages, and I hope it will continue to be so, if I do say so myself.

Best, if any, place to start is childhood aspirations. Note, I never had any dreams of writing, let alone journalism. English at school was a pet hate, like every other subject, especially spelling, I was atrochous…… atreechois…. really bad at it.

Though I have to humour the media industry, I’d grow to detest Fleet Street wank-stains. To be a cartoonist was the thing for me, the like of Charles Schultz or Jim Davis favourably, they did, after all, make the most money. But I’d write for magazines, zines and FINs I submitted cartoon strips for in support, because they needed writers…. bloody slave drivers.

As time moved on and I created my own comic, reviewing works of other creative types within it was an aid to networking, and, most importantly, getting freebies. I also suffered with a lack of writers but plenty of artists, so I’d script for them, and gradually the writing took prominence over the artwork.

Self-publishing is a labour of love, and any excuse for procrastination was on the cards. Unpredictably stumbling upon family life was the perfect excuse for giving it up; there were nappies which needed changing before cross-hatching a nudy caricature of Cameron Diaz, and besides, I’d grown out of the psychedelic nature of the zine; fatherhood can change a lad. Word of warning, whippersnappers.

But once bitten, the creative cannot help but create, that’s why they call them creatives, see? I picked self-publishing up again when eBooks came around, as it was easy, and not so time consuming. As an author I spaffed out more books than Boris Johnson did lies, happy as a method of improving my writing skills; though it’s still a learning cuve…. curth… bendy thing. And okay, that’s the same joke, get used to it.

Devizine came about simply for looking at other avenues in which to offload my wobbly words to the unfortunate world. I pitched to satirical, (or “fake news,” to gammons of which satire is above their understanding) websites, but was only sporadically successful, even lesser-so my attempt to create my own satirical website, called Poop Scoop. Until I noticed a new local news-site called Index;Wiltshire. There, finally through this insane waffling lies the kingpin to Devizine.

The editor wrote to me, “you’re the most powerful person in Devizes,” as my weekly rant column amassed a thousandfold more hits than MP James Gray’s did. Dishonest flattery works; I marched on, slagging off everything that was shit about Devizes as I could possibly think of, for humorous effect, you understand? Some didn’t, and Monday morning hate-mail filled my inbox, which was amusing to start with but being grew tedious.

Aside common complaints from any medium-sized market town, the joke wore thin due to decreasing ammo. Devizes is actually a great place to live; could be better, like freewheeling Frome, or like Tijuana, the murder capital of the world, it could be worse. The need to keep the ideas flowing caused me to post a gathering material question on a local Facebook group. It was Jemma Brown who raised the most important point: why didn’t I focus on the positives about living in Devizes? Of course, she was bang on the money, but it simply wouldn’t do, for that’s not the nature of satire, that’s not the idea of “No Surprises Living in Devizes.”

At the time, I’d just crawled out from my hermit hole and seen for myself talent lurking in the mists of this Tory haven. Richie Triangle played The Black Swan, spurring me to meet Tamsin Quin, who was crowdfunding for a debut album. Jemma, naturally was aiming my attention to her productions, as the TITCO theatre company. I wrote of my findings in an ever-increasingly heavily edited version of my rant column, claiming I was spinning the negatives around, though it was lagging in ethos, because to know me is to know I’m happy-go-lucky, and I couldn’t keep the pretence of being some kind of left-wing Alf Garnett any longer.

The column suddenly became more about what events were forthcoming in Devizes, rather then ranting about how rubbish everything was. I think at one point I joked, “what do I look like, some kind of event guide now?!” Not realising I’d predicted the outcome.

Frustrated the column was so heavily edited, now a new editor took over, I took to publishing them on a personal blog, but blogs need love and attention, in other words shameless self-promotion. Devizine though, as I came to knock up a new blog with the idea of doing precisely what we do now, promotes itself, as featured creative types share the fact they’ve been featured, and generally, people seemed to flock to this gap in the market. The first ever article was an unedited version of the that week’s column, the second was about Tamsin’s Crowdfunder.

I never understood, and probably never will, why aside perpetual splashes on national news stories as an aid to fund submissions to scoop sites, regional newspapers here couldn’t at least mention, or give credit to all the talented people here too. There’s room in a newspaper for both surely? But their downfall is our triumph. Devizine is now the go-to to what to do, the rest of it is me just mucking about!

This, coupled with our policy of brute honesty, will always be why Devizine has become something of a (slightly) respectable local institution. Though it may not have started out this way, because a few who were supposed to be responsible for what’s on sections of local media outlets fell short of lifting a finger, and thought it better to sought to trash Devizine’s pending reputation. Funny world, I thought Devizine would be welcomed, and I opened, and still do, my arms to the chances to work with them regardless; c’est la vie.

I believe it’s levelled now. Hardly anyone posts on local Facebook groups, “any live music going on tonight?” And if they do, rather than being directed to Devizine by yours truly, someone else beats me to the recommendation. Which brings me nicely on to the ten zillion quintillion thank you accreditations.

For aside my waffling, the bulk of this article is nothing more than a tedious clip show, which has taken longer to load up than I planned, probably be the sixth birthday by the time I publish it! Maybe we’ll refer to it as a “photo gallery in dial-up connection speed!”

Cider in one hand trying applause without spillages, my photography skills are best avoided whenever possible. Though I do believe I’m getting better, nothing illustrates a review better than a professional or semi-pro photographer. We’ve used and abused so many, and other than Nick Padmore, who makes me sit on his knee, most of them allow us to use their wonderful snaps for free! Which is handy, cos Devizine has not made millionaires out of us, quite yet.

So, a massive thank you, which would deserve a huge hug, if I wasn’t to wonder if that was a zoom lens in their pockets, rather than them being pleased to see me, and also an apology, there’s so many photos here it’d be a minefield wracking my miniscule mind recalling who took what, so excuse me, I hope that you don’t mind, I’ve not been able to credit them individually. Take it as red, though, the out of focus ones are likely from me. The rest I owe to so many photographers, some mentioned here and now: Gail Foster, Nick Padmore, Simon Folkard, Helen PolarPix, Ruth Wordly, Matthew Hennessy, Abbie Asadi, and Chris Dunn of Inscope Design. Please give them a virtual applause and go check out their work via their websites and social media.

But everyone needs a thank you, don’t they? So many good people have come to my rescue, submitted reviews, scoops and content, to make Devizine both comprehensive, and how I see it; a community-led, erm, thingy. I’d appreciate any help I can get, I’m totally overloaded here, and apologise to things I’ve missed, but Mrs Miggins has to get her pint of semi, also. You know you run a what’s on guide when Facebook pings the notification, “you have 55 events this weekend!”

Sporadically then writers have contributed, and I have Ian Diddams, Jemma Brown, TD Rose, Jenny Dalton, Phil Bradley, and Helen Robertson to sincerely thank too. But none more than our esteemed man in the field, the brilliant Andy Fawthrop, for his constant bombardment of most excellent reviews have been a godsend, to the point we need a statue of the good fellow here, front and centre of the lobby in the prestigious Devizine Towers. Seriously, if I cannot get hold of any marble, though, it might have to be made of paper cups.

All I have to say now is thanks everyone, everyone who has supported us, everyone I missed on the roll-call, contributed in some way, and that’s a long list, folk like the ones who’ve helped us out with technical bobs and bits; Ida McConnell, and musically, Dean Czerwionka, Mike Barham, Cath, Gouldy and the DayBreakers, Clifton Powell and Nick Newman, Daydream Runaways and The Roughcut Rebels.

Or those who’ve given their time to play for us at one of our fundraising gigs, the above mentioned, plus, Chole Jordan, Will Foulstone, Tamsin Quin, Phil Cooper, Jamie R Hawkins, George Wilding, Bryony Cox, Lottie Jenkins, Mirko Pangrazzi, Bran Kerdhynen, Finley Trusler and Sam Bishop.

And I think I’ve waffled enough; sorry if I missed anyone, but they know who they are. Bloody love ’em too, I do; group hug.

Being the Wiltshire Air Ambulance bear, touring homemade breweries, the Palace cinema, spending a day with Clifton Powell with Arts Together, going behind the scenes with DOCA, a day on tour with Talk in Code, press screening of Follow the Crows, riding an E-bike with Sustainable Devizes, meeting Neville Staple backstage, plus all the event invites, and so much more my brain is aching, there’s been so many fond memories, but I think, if you had to ask me to pick just one, it’d have to be the time I did my milk round in my Spiderman onesie and met with Carmela Chillery-Watson and her lovely family. A day I’ll never forget.

It leaves me now, to sign off, you must be tired looking at all those people having fun, but I did pre-warn you about my waffling! Enjoy the remaining pictures in our picture show, maybe you’ve spotted yourself in there, five or less years younger. If so, I want you to know, you’re still that gorgeous, gorgeous for showing us your support and partying with us; here’s to another five years, gorgeous!!

Trivia: What is the most popular article on Devizine to-date?

A: The April Fools Day joke 2021, when I announced, McDonalds was coming to Devizes. I believe that one broke the internet! Sad, but true.

Trivia: When did you first force Andy Fawthrop against his will and better judgement, to write reviews?

A: I believe it was October 2018, and the first review was Joe Hicks at the Three Crowns; I maybe wrong, I often am.

Trivia: Who was that country looking gent who used mascot on Devizine?

A: I don’t know, stop hassling me with inane questions like a fanboy at a Star Trek convention!

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 8th-14th September 2022

Slight seasonal changes, wetter but still warm, slight Prime Minister changes, dryer but still a narcissistic numpty; ah well, let’s see, a day later than usual I know and apologise, what’s happening in Wiltshire over the next week……

The one link you need as usual, is our event calendar, where it’s all listed with ticket and info links, and it’s updated (fairly) regularly, so bookmark the beast and remain as you will be after reading this; in the know.  

Thursday 8th and there’s the Swindon Comedy Club at Kioki, with headliner Abi Clarke.

Friday 9th Hedda Gabler begins at the Wharf Theatre, Devizes and runs until 24th September. Hedda Gabler is recognised as one of the world’s great plays written by one of the world’s great playwrights and is generally regarded as Ibsen’s masterpiece. Hedda, on the face of it, is not your archetypal tragic heroine. Starting quietly, and quite humorously, the drama builds to its terrifying and riveting climax, involving the presentation set of pistols that Hedda inherited from her father.

One to watch, Sour Apple play the Pelican in Devizes on Friday, and look out for a new music program called Vamos, at The Old Road Tavern, Chippenham, they’ve got the wonderful Harmony Asia supporting Hoggs Bison. And find Illingworth at The Royal Oak in Marlborough, all free gigs.

“Hurrah, they are back to School” runs the tagline of the end of summer barbeque at Seend Community Centre.

Our renowned house DJ, George G Force is at Marston Park, Frome, while tribute The Smyths play The Cheese & Grain. Festival season hasn’t quite closed yet, it’s The Mucky Weekender Festival at the Winchester Bowl.

Meanwhile, In Swindon, Dangerous Kitchen play The Vic, The Salts at Swindon Arts Centre, and A Country Night in Nashville at the Wyvern Theatre.

Saturday 10th and back by popular demand, the start of the legendary Pewsey Carnival, yay! Procession is next Saturday 17th, with the Wheelbeero race on Thursday 15th, but this Saturday is Pewsey Carnival Wine Race.

Our editor’s pick of the week; Party for Life, Melksham

A world suicide prevention day fundraiser in the Sky Bar at Melksham Town FC. The Soul Strutters, Blind Lemon Experience and Roughcut Rebels play this big one, with DJs and pizza and others; sounds fantastic, we did preview it a while back, and I believe a few tickets are still up for grabs, follow their Facebook page for more details.

Staying in the Sham, The Pilot has a Family fun day with music and, fundraising for MIND, see the poster for details.

Crafts, stalls and entertainment are promised at Devizes Rotary Club’s Health & Wellbeing Showcase on the Small Green from 11am-3pm on Saturday, and for a musical evening in Devizes, rock covers band Black Nasty are at The Southgate, while People Like Us do their awesome thing at the Three Crowns.

Time also, for the Burbage Beer, Cider & Music Festival.

Another upcoming local band to watch is Salisbury indie-kids Carsick, who plan to blow the lid off of Trowbridge Town Hall.

Contrasts in Swindon as Rage Against the Regime play The Vic, while Shape Of You brings the music of Ed Sheeran to the Wyvern Theatre.

You might have caught him at Devizes Arts Festival this summer, Alfie Moore’s show Fair Cop Unleashed comes to Salisbury Arts Centre.

No prizes for guessing who Motorheadache is attributing, they’re at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while Dana Gavanski plays their sister venue the Tree House, with Cornelia Murr in support.

And unfortunately, The International Comics Expo, ICE in Birmingham which I’ve still got listed, has been cancelled, I’m just being too lazy to delete it!   

Sunday 11th, after terrible weather last Sunday postponed Devizes Town Band’s Children’s Proms in the Park at Hillworth, it will be combined this week with the planned main Proms in the Park.  

And save a Recital Series at Swindon Arts Centre, also on Sunday, that about wraps it up for the weekend, unless you know different? Unless you dare to tell me that I missed something?! Please do, I don’t bite, at least only a nip, on the bum; it’s free to list stuff on Devizine, just message us, we’re in it for the love.

Through the week I’ve not got much, but you know updates of the event calendar occasionally happens, though I’m currently undergoing the arduous task of getting next year’s calendar up and running, so bear with, bear with.

Tuesday 13th, I’ve got Kaleidoscopic at Salisbury Arts Centre and a RSPB: A Victorian Birder’s Wiltshire at the same venue.

Next week though you can look forward to Pewsey carnival, Swindon Shuffle, and the White Horse Opera is back too, along with lots more events to get your teeth into; I’ll catch you around at one sometime, maybe? What else are you going to do, “Simpsonise” yourself with a phone app; get real?!!


Trending…

Party For Life Reveal Final Lineup

It’s been a few months since we announced Party For Life are back in the biz of vital fundraising, with a Suicide Prevention Day fundraiser at Melksham Town FC on Saturday 10th September. So, take this as a gentle reminder, this event looks awesome, and besides, organiser Clare McCarthy has just sent us the final line-up details…. looky here, below; need I say more?!

Using the hashtag #STAY, Party For Life is hoping to make this a series of events, “because,” Clare explained, “those impacted by suicide have one big wish…that their loved ones #STAY another day.” Like their Facebook page for details. Tickets are £25, book via email to: tickets@partyforlife.co.uk or by Text: 07786 344 553.

Let’s help this event be a sell-out!


Volume 2 of Devizine 4 Julia’s House is Out Now!

Long overdue and only waiting for me to pull my finger out, I’m glad to announce the second volume of our compilation album series, 4 Julia’s House has been released as a download on Bandcamp. As of volume 1, which is still available, all the proceeds will go to Julia’s House Children’s Hospices in Wiltshire & Dorset.

The second volume is out now, you can download it here. Weighing in 35 tracks, there’s a great deal of acoustic rock and folk greatness, but we don’t stand on convention, you have to have eclectic tastes to run Devizine; all genres are represented here, as the compilation whisks through them, with love.

Julia’s House is not a typical children’s hospice. We provide practical and emotional support for families caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, providing frequent and regular support in their own homes, in the community or at our hospices.

I hope you’ll support this wonderful cause, and bag some great songs too. As much as the project is fundraising for the hospices, it also exists to promote and highlight all these great artists who’ve so kindly donated a tune to us. Many you’ll have heard of, many have featured on Devizine in the past, but others are new to us, which is of equal delight, and now they’re here we will support them in any way we can, cos I’m so grateful for them sending them in to us.

Thank you to everyone who has helped and contributed to this project. I know everyone will be aching to read the track listings and hear the songs on show. So, without further a’ waffling, here’s the songs, and their creators in the order they appear on the album; we will feature seven each article over the coming weeks, if my maths is correct that’s five articles, which if I listed them all here in one ginormous gert great list, it just gets too long-winded and if you’re anything like me, you’ve the memory of a goldfish!

Click the cover to download

1 – Sienna Wileman – Petals

2- Nick Harper – Riverside

3- Will Lawton and Ludwig Mack – Atlantic-O (acoustic version)

4 -Paul Elwood & Alice Simmons – Andromeda and Perseus

5 – Amy Fry – Home

6 – Josh Lobley – Glorious Mind

7 – Nigel Mines – Land on Mars

8- N-SH – Elemental Times

9 – Rebsie Fairholm & Marvin B. Naylor – Ark

10 – Sean Amor – Follow Your Own Way

11 – Bob & Amanda Condrey – No Barriers

12 – Lawrence Williams – Love Will Carry On

13 – Fly Yeti Fly – Shine a Light

14 – Daisy Chapman – Generation Next

15– Illingworth – Mockingbird

16 – Onika Venus – Reaper Man

17 – Hooch – Aluna

18 – Aural Candy – Arabella Whitely

19 – 80 Proof Mojo – A New Trick

20 – The Dirty Smooth – Black Jack City

21- The Sarah C. Ryan Band – A Woman in White

22 – Talk in Code – Young Loves Dream

23 – Subharmonic Ensemble – Worm Holes

24 – Brillstereodeck (produced by Robert Ellis) – Sunset

25 – Victims of the New Math – Twilight

26 – Zaia – Can it Be True

27 – Monkey Bizzle – Oi Mate!

28 – The Hotcakes of Wildfire – War of Words

29 –The Birth of Bonoyster – No Love Law

30 – Chloe Glover – Silver Lining

31 – Catfish – Clifton

32 – Salamander, feat Curtis Simmons – No Wrong

33 – Peter Lamb & Cliff Hall (Rob Walden-Woods)- Flying High

34 – Richard Wileman – Butterfly

35- John Wright – Little Nell


1 – Sienna Wileman – Petals

We open with a song which proves talent is hereditary, for Sienna is the daughter of Richard Wileman, a musical alchemist I’ve described in the past as “Swindon’s answer to Mike Oldfield.” His work under the banner Karda Estra is experimental soundscapes, yet he also performs more archetypically under his own name. Richard appeared on volume 1, but this time has sent us three tunes, one from him, another from musical partner Amy Fry, and this wonderful song Petals from Sienna.

This song knocked me for six when I first heard it in February, it’s hauntingly winter, a chilling echo of passion through the eyes of youthful romantic desperation, clinging to a teetering relationship, and Sienna expresses the emotive sentiment sublimely, using her voice as Kate Bush could, to resonance the desolation of the moment. That’s why it’s our opening song….


2- Nick Harper – Riverside

Obviously, I was over the moon when folk legend Nick Harper offered us a song, though he was a smidgen too late for inclusion on volume 1, he suggested adding it as bonus track, but I favoured if we’re going use his song, which we absolutely have to, it must be the start of a second volume. So, here’s the catalyst to volume 2, a handy bit of guitar work, expertly executed. The Times stated once that Nick, “does things to his [guitar] that would have had Segovia weeping into his Rioja.”

Riverside is taken from his 2016 album Instrumental; I was astounded by it’s almost flamenco influence, its drama, and the tension in it. Wow, eternally grateful to you Nick…. and Sienna, here’s the proof of my hereditary comment, Nick has become prominent, especially locally through his dedication to fundraising through Avebury Rocks from 2011 until 2019, but was inspired by his father, the legendary Roy Harper, of whom giants of rock will cite as an influence, from Jimmy Page & Robert Plant to Pete Townshend, Pink Floyd, and the aforementioned Kate Bush.

Website: https://harperspace.com/


3- Will Lawton and Ludwig Mack – Atlantic-O (acoustic version)

Will Lawton

Okay, I know I shouldn’t pick a favourite, but let’s just say this track is way up there, this acoustic exquisiteness is an absolute knockout. Like David Gray’s Skellig last year, it rolls like its marine theme, crashes like waves on a moonlit shore, so you could almost taste the salt in the air.

Will met up with Argentinian guitarist Ludwig Mack in October 2020, through Instagram. Mack had travelled to the UK to meet British musicians but arrived just hours before the first national lockdown. Stranded in a cottage in Hullavington, the duo realised they lived only a few miles away from each other and began collaborating before recording and releasing a four track EP called Heroes, recorded and produced by Lucas Drinkwater at Polyphonic Recording in Stroud. This breath-taking song, Atlantic-O is taken from this EP.

Website: https://www.willlawtonmusic.co.uk/

Heroes on Apple Music


4 -Paul Elwood & Alice Simmons – Andromeda and Perseus

Virtuoso of the five-string banjo, Paul is a composer with a love of the processes and syntax of contemporary writing, from Colorado. Past collaborations with the Callithumpian Consort of the New England Conservatory, bluegrass legend John Hartford, drummer Matt Wilson, Famoudou Don Moye of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, French musicians Jean-Marc Montera, Raphael Imbert, Simon Sieger, Pierre Fenichel, and Thomas Weirich, make up a prolific discography.

If you’re now thinking, wow, big up the Worrow for this campaign reaching out as far as Colorado, or otherwise getting all Royston Vasey on me, this is a local compilation for local people, the connection is with singer Alice Simmons, who lives in Wiltshire.

They teamed up and have been writing a number of winter-themed tunes for the past couple of years. Alice recorded her parts here in Wiltshire, and sent them over to Paul in the US and France.

We are delighted to have this fantastic, dreamy folk song on our compilation album, and thank them both for reaching out.

Website: http://paul-elwood.com/


5 – Amy Fry – Home

Written, produced and performed by Amy Fry.
Drums – Tony Fry
Guitar – Shedric

As promised, the second track Richard Wileman sent from his musical family in Swindon, then, long-time collaborator Amy Fry on vocals, and with her rolling clarinet sound, this is another corker, and Amy’s voice echoes gloriously. Quite exclusive this song, I’m led to believe, and I love songs about home, especially this one, Amy, thank you for sending it.


6 – Josh Lobley – Glorious Mind

Having returning artists and ones known to us is always a pleasure, but what is equally as great of this project is that we at Devizine are introduced to new artists by it too. Unsolicited come thick and fast, I’m beginning to worry I may have missed a few emails attempting to keep up with the influx.

I’m glad to have picked up on brilliant folk-rock singer-songwriter Josh Lobley from the hills of Shropshire. Platformed on Dying Ember Records, Josh’s 2019 EP Chapters can be found on Amazon, here. This song is not on this EP though, seems like quite a newer one, from July, and it rings of Billy Brag at his peak, its selfless prose is simply tantalising. Recorded, mixed and engineered by Andy Lowe of Hope Sounds. Plus, it’s got the most wonderful video accompanying it made by Dirtbox Productions, which I’ll leave here….


7 – Nigel Mines – Land on Mars

I love the honest expression of Trowbridge singer-songwriter Nigel Mines, of self-labelled One Cat Broke. Land on Mars is drifting acoustic, Bowie-esque, perhaps, but assured a beautiful song. Find Nigel on his favouring platform SoundCloud for more.


That’s all for now folks, I’ll be posting all about the next seven songs as fast I can get them sausage fingers typing again; we’re only skimming the tip of the iceberg. Until then, please buy the album anyway, see for yourself. But it is crucial for us if you could share this with your friends, family and even people you’d don’t like that much but put up with anyway! We love feedback, Do let us know what you think of it, thanks!

And oh, musicians who’ve not made it onto this release should note, this is an ongoing venture, we will bring out further volumes as soon as we’ve collected enough tracks, so feel free to send us your tune, but do ensure we’re informed that you wish it to appear on the album, and not just wishing a review. Of course, we could do both if you like! Thanks.


Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 24th – 31st August 2022

We can’t wait until roundup Tuesday, when we usually roundup the weekly roundup, it’s the last big summer blowout bank holiday, so we’re simply too excited and thought you might wanna plan early, so here it is, hold on to your horses… or just let them run wild, I’m not worried, just too excited, did I say I was too excited?!

Repetition is fine, but there’s no links here, too time-consuming, so please us this link to our event calendar, and you can grab details and ticket links from there, but you knew that already, I hope. Oh, did I say, repetition is fine?

All quiet on Wednesday 24th, but if you’re eager to get the ball rolling, 41 Fords play the Kilminton Home Guard Club in Warminster, entry by donation, and don’t forget Wednesday s are the regular acoustic jam night down our trusty Southgate in Devizes, and is always a wonderful night.


Thursday 25th then, and Honey Fest kicks off at the Barge on HoneyStreet, and banging out the whole weekend; I believe there’s a few tickets up for grabs.

Meanwhile, unmissable rock soloist Adam Masterson plays The Tuppenny in Swindon with Jules Hill in support. Bath Forum have The Billy Joel Songbook, and lots of lucky people will be making their way to either Reading Festival or GoatFest; have fun!


Warming up to Friday, the 26th August, when our brilliant Irish folk duo, the Celtic Roots Collective are at the Pelican in Devizes.

Over in the land of chips and ham, there’s an August Bank Holiday Beer & Cider Festival at the Three Crowns, and ska-punkers Operation77 play The Black Horse, Chippenham.

Illingworth takes on triple gigs this weekend, catch them at Flan O’Brian’s in Bath on Friday, where Komedia have a night with The Ministry of Burlesque’s Cabaret; ding dong!

Mod band Peloton plays The Vic, Swindon, and wow, the Cheese & Grain, Frome have Morcheeba, yes, I said Morcheeba; show offs!


Saturday 27th, is the big one. Shall I start it with the….

Editor’s Pick of Week: The Full Tone Festival, The Green, Devizes

Yep, you probably guessed it, it’s time for the hills of Devizes to come alive with the sound of music. It is the Full Tone Festival Weekend. Hurry and get your ticket, and say hi if you see me wandering around like a lost puppy. Said what needed to be said about this corker, let the show begin.

Over in Devizes Market Place from 9am-1pm there’s a Mind, Body & Spirit Market. There’s free live music all day at the Crown Inn, Bishops Cannings, with 12 Bars Later, Plan of Action, and It’s Complicated. Later, 12 Bars Later nip across to the Southgate, Devizes!

And where do I even begin elsewhere? Holt Scarecrow Trail begins, it’s Aldbourne Carnival, a Rod Stewart tribute at The Pewsham, Near Chippenham, there’s a Summer Party at Westbury Cons Club with Wade Merritt and Jay, followed by People Like Us, and the West of England Youth Orchestra perform at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

A debut performance, at the Gloucester Road Conservative Club in Trowbridge for soul band Dimensions, and that’s free entry. Kurt Vile & The Violators at Bath Forum, Apollo Ghosts at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, and in Swindon, the wonderful The Daybreakers are live at The Vic, while The Tin Shack Band play the Woodlands Edge. Oh, and The Swiss Chalet has a Harry’s Heroes fundraiser.


Sunday is where things usually start to calm down, but not this weekend. The 28th sees the second day of Full Tone, Great Cheverall Soap Box Derby and Potterne Festival.

Illingworth play The Churchill Arms in West Lavington today, and a young local band to watch out for, Nothing Rhymes With Orange are in support.

There’s a mini fest at the Talbot in Calne with Six O’clock Circus, People Like Us, Wet Frank, End of Story and others.

LodgeFest aptly at Warminster’s Lodge, an M4 Classic Car & Bike Show in Chippenham, and the Hammervilles have a bank holiday beach party at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Swindon is gearing up for the Shuffle next month, but in the meantime, Shades of Seattle plays the Vic, highly recommended Atari Pilot are at the Castle, and for the kids, there’s always Milkshake live at the Wyvern.


If you’re still standing in Devizes on Monday, 29th August, here’s what to do…. Black Rat Monday, down The British Lion, with the Celtic Roots Collective and a jam to follow. Or Finley & Mark support The Reason at the Three Crowns; nice either way!

From 5pm Illingworth will be at the Waterfront, Pewsey, and the Beverley May Band play The Milk Churn, Melksham. It’s the Chippenham River Festival, there’s a massive line-up for a free music festival across the entire village of Box, it is Box Rocks. The Lost Trades and Dolly Mavies headline a mini-festival at The Lamb Yard in Bradford-on-Avon, and Abba tribute 21st Century ABBA play The Bowl in Town Gardens, Swindon.

I’m sure there’s going to be more added as the week goes by, so keep up-to-date with our event calendar. That’s the weekend forecast to date, though.

Tuesday 30th and Gently Tender play The Royal Oak in Marlborough, the regular Jazz Knights at Swindon’s Royal Oak has the Kevin Figes Quartet, during the day there’s a Farmyard Circus at Queen’s Park, and Russell Brand comes to the Wyvern.

Wednesday 31st, look out for the Wind in the Willows at the Corsham Almshouses, and phew, that’s me done, dusted and ready for a nap; have a great weekend!


Trending….

Wadworth Put Best Paw Forward with Wadwoof Walkies!

Wadworth are raising money for Dogs Trust on International Dog Day with their very first Wadwoof Walkies event!

On Friday August 26th, dogs and their humans are invited to take a stroll starting and ending at the Wadworth Brewery Tap & Shop, in aid of the charity. The UK is currently experiencing a dog welfare crisis following an increase in ‘lockdown dogs’ bought during the pandemic and now being abandoned due to the cost-of-living.

REWARDS FOR THE TAIL-WAGGERS

The first five people to sign-up will receive a special ‘thank you’, a ceramic dog bowl personalised with their pooch’s name by Wadworth’s super-talented sign-writer, Wayne Richings.

Wadworth will also reward every dog that completes the walk with a rosette, as well as some treats and a much-deserved glug of dog beer that’s guaranteed to get tails wagging at the finishing line.

TREATS FOR THE LEAD-HOLDERS

For the humans, there’ll be hand-made pizza, available to buy from The Woodland Pizza Kitchen between 4pm and 8pm, as well as beer and other drinks to wash it down with from the Brewery Tap. Wadworth recommend pre-ordering pizzas before setting off on the walk.

Participants will also get the chance to have a professional photo taken of their dog looking their best with their Wadwoof Walkies rosette. Wadworth will share these with event-goers after the event.

SIGN UP TODAY

Entry costs £10 per person and is payable by card only on the day. £5 from each ticket sale will be donated to Dogs Trust. Sign-up HERE.

The walk starts promptly at 5.30pm and event-goers can choose from a 30-min or 1-hour route.
The route is mainly shaded with few roads to cross.
There will be a water station en-route.
The Woodland Pizza Kitchen will be open between 4pm-8pm and pizzas can be pre-ordered via direct message on their Facebook page.


Trending…..

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 17th-24th August 2022

Ah this is more like it, the English summer we know and love! Tad wet, but here’s what we have to do this week and the last weekend before the big summer blow-out which is the August Bank Holiday.….

Don’t forget, more info and all links for bookings are on our event calendar, where you can also plan ahead, so long as it keeps updating, which I’m trying my best to, honest!

There’s a floral demonstration at Devizes Town Hall on Wednesday 17th August, by the Devizes Flower Club; opens at 7pm, £5.

Parents head for the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon where there’s a messy art session and a singing day ahead.

Manchester’s noughties art rock band Everything Everything play the Cheese & Grain, Frome.


Thursday 18th, and again, kids can visit The Musical Zoo at the wonderful Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon. Three bands at The Beehive, Swindon on Thursday, The Acoustic Buzz 52, Larkham & Hall and Jol Rose. Also, at The Vic the have Monasteries, Creak, Persadian & Chasing Dolls. The Summer Youth Project performance of Legally Blonde is at the Wyvern.


Onto Friday 19th, and it’s the Wine Tasting event at St Mary’s Devizes, previewed here.

If you’re lucky you can still book a fantastic Survival Camp for any young adventurous children who are aged between 10 years old and 12 years old, with the Wild Edge Survival Camp at West Lavington.

Folk duo Fly Yeti Fly are at The Bear Inn, Bradford on Avon, The Beverley May Band at The Kings Arms, Melksham, Hayden Lloyd at Komedia, Bath. @59 play The Wellington in Marlborough.

In Swindon, Judas Rising plays the Vic, while Bobbi Nicholles is at Woodlands Edge.


Saturday 20th, it’s my pick of the week; the Bath Comic & Gaming Festival at Bath Uni. Full of UK based comic artist guests, some film and tv guests and cosplay guests, a dinosaur zone, Stranger Things, Ghostbusters and Star Wars props, and lots of stuff for kids to empty fanboy dad’s wallet! Lord, help me!

Roots and folk at the Southgate Devizes, with Barney Kelly, and the welcome return of Long Street Blues Club with Skinny Molly, I believe is a sell-out. Worth checking though, I might be wrong, as, I sometimes am; I said sometimes!

Dutty Moonshine Big Band play The Barge, HoneyStreet, Emily Barker is at The Pump in Trowbridge, and another successful Pipe & Slippers Rave at Trowbridge Town Hall goes off; I have to see this for myself; dust off the old whistle and white gloves! Oh, and if Sausage & Cider is more your thing, there’s a Day of it at The Brewery Inn, Seend Cleeve.

Shame Live at Lydiard had to cancel, but People Like Us play The Swiss Chalet, Swindon and Click! are at Woodlands Edge.


Sunday afternoon on the 21st August then, has another Fantasy Radio Lark in Hillworth Park, Devizes, though I’ve no idea who’s playing, because they never say. But Chaz Throughgood is at the Southgate.

It’s the August Jam for the exclusive Wiltshire Blues & Soul Club, in their hiding place at Lacock, while the fantastic Sarah C. Ryan Band play a lazy afternoon at Richard Jefferies Museum, Swindon, and Jim Blackmann plays Komedia, Bath.

And that’s your weekend over. On Tuesday 23rd Radio Banska play Jazz Knights at The Royal Oak, Swindon, and at this moment in time I’ve nought else in the week until Thursday’s opening of HoneyFest at the Barge on HoneyStreet.

But it will be bank holiday next weekend, and there’s much to be looking into and planning. We’ll be at The Full Tone Festival on the Green in Devizes, and that one, I promise you, will be awesome, but not the same without you, so get your ticket as soon as possible!

But yeah, same weekend you can find Reading Festival, GoatFest, Potterne Festival, Holt Scarecrow Trail, the Great Cheverall Soap Box Derby, Mini Talbot Fest at The Talbot, Calne, LodgeFest at The Lodge, Warminster, an M4 Classic Car & Bike Show in Chippenham, Chippenham River Festival, a live music festival at the Lamb Yard in Bradford-on-Avon, 21st Century ABBA at The Bowl, Town Gardens, Swindon as well as multitude of smaller gigs at just about every local pub and venue you can mention; and it’s all here on our event calendar, just hope the rain gives it a break!


Trending…..

Steeple Ashton Summer Spectacular Fundraising for Motor Neurone Disease Association and Others

Steeple Ashton’s Summer Spectacular at the church paddock on Saturday 10th September promises a three-course street food feast, with an auction from Paul Martin of TV’s Flog It, a casino, and entertainment from a magician and Abba tribute, Angels.

Tickets are £45 from the Steeple Ashton village shop, or online here, and proceeds go to a number of chosen and worthy charities.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance needs no introduction, but you should be aware it relies entirely on fundraising.

The organisers are keen to add the event is also supporting Motor Neurone Disease Association, which focuses on improving access to care for those people and their families living with or affected by this fatal disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

And Evie’s Gift too, which was set up by Bryan & Patsy Clover after their 13 year old daughter, Evie, tragically died of an aggressive brain tumour. During the time she was in hospital they saw tired and anxious parents of very sick children sleeping on chairs, or even in their cars, as they couldn’t afford hotel accommodation.

The charity pays for accommodation and help for parents in these stressful situations. All very worthy causes for what sounds like an awesome party; tickets are on sale now.


Sad Day for Melksham Assembly Hall

The stalwart venue of Melksham is being viewed more like just a wart by town councillors, in a sad day which could see the closing curtain for the Assembly Hall.

Melksham News reported on the rumour I’ve been trying to hold back on, hoping the day wouldn’t come, that Melksham Assembly Hall and the Town Hall could be sold off under controversial plans being considered by Melksham Town Council.

More than once, Conservative Councillor Phil Alford contradicts himself in conversation with Melksham News, in the very same sentences!

Here he defends his case by telling the newspaper, “the Assembly Hall needs £400K for refurbishment,” but adds “we should build a new facility.” Is it just me being thick, I mean I’m no building contractor, but wouldn’t building a new facility cost more than repairing the one you’ve got?!

And does it even need this colossal cost for a refurb at all? It looks fine to me as it is, lick of paint, job done. Face it, Melksham, other than a handful of excellent local pubs, like the Pilot and Foresters supplying the town with live music, you’ve hardly any few entertainment venues as it is.

The Assembly Hall is a pillar to the community, with a brilliant programme and variety of events to suit everyone. From top class tribute acts, massive fundraising events such as the legendary Female of the Species gigs, which had to be shifted to Seend, to regular clubs such as the twenty-five year strong Rock n Roll Club drawing crowds from across the country, and even the popular male stripper nights. Perhaps it’s the latter offending Mr Alford; feeling somewhat inferior?!

Has the smokescreen got in your eyes yet? The new campus project has seen closure of the library and historic Blue Pool too; how many eggs does this Councillor want to put in the same basket, I sigh. “We now have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something about it,” he continues his pitch, why is it “a once-in-a-lifetime chance?” is there no chance of a backhander in the future?

He said this, He. Actually. Said. This. “Now is the time to be creative, trust residents, decide on a plan and move forward for the benefit of the town,” regardless of the simple fact, next Tuesday’s meeting to decide upon the fate of the hall has the proposal it should be held as a closed session, preventing the press and public from attending. If that’s the best method of involving public opinion then I’m the Queen of Sheba.

It’s begger’s belief how closing a venue would “benefit” a town, but the cavalry comes in the form of independent councillor Jon Hubbard, who told Melksham News, “we don’t know the details of the options yet, but the Assembly Hall is a massive asset to the town.

It’s one of the largest halls in Wiltshire, there is nothing else that can compete with it in terms of capacity and I think we would be quite mad to even contemplate getting rid of that without replacing it with an equivalent facility.

All of the plans I have seen have been talking about significantly smaller facilities and Melksham already has a wealth of smaller halls and I see no reason why the town council should invest taxpayers’ money into facilities which will compete with existing assets that the town has.”

Well said Jon, it goes in line with the original rumour circulating, that some councillors wanted the hall to be only for events which they feel benefitted the community, in which case they’re in the wrong job and should be an events coordinator rather than a councillor. The Assembly Hall is the brilliant venue hosting self-propelled events I wish we had here in Devizes. The running at a loss argument is piffle in a peroid of economic decline, they all are unfortunately. Especially when said peroid is a direct result of appalling national decisions of the political party Mr Alford himself supports.

The irony is blinding, but folk have hijacked the Facebook post to express their disappointment and point out the significance of the Assembly Hall. One said, “The Town Hall is the very fibre of this town’s history. Its location at the heart of Market Place is the embodiment of the pride we have for our town. To sell the building for private ownership is beyond conscionable.”

Another said, “The town hall is the focal point for nearly all the town events. Selling it off is 100% short sighted. People travel for miles to see melksham Xmas lights and other events, if the town hall goes we would lose those or they would move to melksham house which doesn’t have the same focus in the town.”

The post is here, you can comment, but I’d advise to take your opinion to Mr Alford himself, his email is: Phil.Alford@wiltshire.gov.uk


20 Years for 20 Things; Bromham’s Adam Dempsey’s Fundraisers

Good to hear from Adam Dempsey, organiser of many events at Bromham’s Social Club, and neighbouring bar,The Owl, which tragically caught fire last year, to tell me about a Coffee Morning and Family Fun Fete, to be geld on Saturday 6th August, from 10:30 – 1:30pm.

“I couldn’t decide wether to call it a Family Fun Day or a Fete,” he laughed, “I like alliteration so come up with Family Fun Fete!” Works for me.

Said “Family Fun Fete” will be held in the Clubhouse, a temporary building in lieu of The Owl/Social Centre rebuild.

There will be tea, coffee, cakes, etc, and outside will be a selection of fun activities and games, a bouncy castle, Giant snakes & ladders, bottle tombola, Mini Golf and more!

These are the latest 2 ‘Things’ in my ’20 Years for 20 Things,” Adam explained, “to mark the 20th Anniversary of being diagnosed with Leukaemia, raising money for Young Lives vs Cancer (formally CLIC Sargent) and Ronald McDonald House in Bristol.” The total of “things” is building now, and included a and 100 mile walk over June and July.

Throughout August Adam will be virtually cycling the distance from Bromham to Land’s End (234 miles) on an exercise bike.

He’s planning various other events and challenges, culminating in a final shebang  in November; The Big Ball, will be a black tie event in Melksham, where he hopes to announce rough totals raised for the two brilliant charities.

I’ve also not been wearing any comedy/slogan/funny t-shirts at all,” he tells, “which doesn’t sound like much of a challenge I know but anyone who knows me will understand it is!”

But not all his challenges have been so strenuous as the walk or bike ride. Adam adds a little humour too. It started with a beard/head shave, and followed with an abstinence of crisps, his favourite snack!

Funny t-shirts was a passion of Adam’s I did note, way back when BromFest’s beer & cider festival was an annual must do. Always with a fantastic community spirit and great music lineup, it’s good to hear village life there is returning to normal since the tragic fire. We wish Adam all the best with this anazing fundraising effort. You can find out more about 20 Years for 20 Things, on his website HERE.


What 2 Do When There is No Skool! School Holiday Activity Ideas for Summer 2022

Yes, it’s that time again, stay-at-home parents. Time to either max your Majestic Wine warehouse loyalty card or fight school holiday boredom like a boss. Here’s some ideas in Wiltshire and around and about, to occupy your little devils and demigods; you know, save them climbing the walls, and save you some hair...…

It’s not exhaustive, check back here from time to time for updates. There will be those who despite my asking on social media, will suddenly materialise from the woodwork screaming news of their events, workshops and other ideas. And to them I say, the more the merrier, message us, we have the technology to edit this, so please send us details.   


Fuel & Wilshire Council Activities

FUEL was supposed to be for young people who are eligible for benefit related free school meals, are of school age and either be a resident of Wiltshire or attend a school in the County. Camps will be running in Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury, Amesbury, Salisbury, Royal Wootton Bassett, Calne, Chippenham, Devizes and Warminster. Links to Fuel’s survey seems to be broken, and have left people confused how to book. Clearly WC have not provided enough places, but there’s lots of other activity camps across the county, to be found here.


Chippenham Kids’ Comic Club

Make your own comic at Chippenham’s Neeld Hall on Tuesday 26th July. Tickets are just £1.50.


Outdoor Theatre show in Chippenham

“Somewhere in Britain, a long time ago, a very, very, very long time ago. So long ago that nobody quite knows whether it happened or not. Or where it happened or not. A boy pulled a sword from a stone and became King. A story of the old world, with knights, wizards, mist and magic”.

This fun and farcical adventure is a deliberately anarchic re-telling of the Arthurian Legend with live music, physical comedy and lo-fi acrobatics. And some silly jokes…

Wednesday 20th July at Ivy Lane School Field

Tickets cost £6.50 in advance, £8 on the day. More info/book here.

Bring seating or picnic blankets

Suitable for age 5+

Gates open from 5.30pm

Refreshments available from Nourishers.


Activities at Hillworth Park


Kids Summer Art Club at Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre

All children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults must wear masks throughout the workshop. Numbers will be limited to ensure social distancing measures can be adhered to. Booking is essential and due to limited spaces. Book early to avoid disappointment. Sessions are £9.50 per child.


Groove and Move in Great Cheverall

A music and creative workshop for kids on the 8th and 9th of August in Great Cheverall. The days are intended to be a really fun day that will include listening to music, writing songs as a group, singing, dancing and a bit of drama added in. It will be a chance to let off steam, whilst joining in fun workshops intended to educate and stimulate literary skills, musicality and physical exercise.


The Mini Fair at The Rowdey Cow

in Rowde returns throughout the holiday. Operating on a wristband system there’s bouncy castles, rides and games from 22nd July, 10am to 4pm.


Holiday Activities at Wiltshire Museum

Always a packed program over the summer hols, Wiltshire Museum in Devizes has school holiday craft activity sessions, suitable for children aged 11 and under; under 8s to be accompanied.

The sessions are usually held on the Wednesdays of school holidays, but they are so popular they sometimes run extra sessions on the Tuesdays too!

The sessions are often fully booked – some time in advance – so we do ask you to book online – see the events page for details.


Braeside Education Centre Summer Activities

Braeside provides safe, inclusive, fun and challenging experiences for young people aged 8 -14. A whole range of activities take place. For a full detailed programme, for the current school holidays, please click the link. New dates have been added due to popular demand!


Devizes Tennis Club Summer Camp

If watching all the action at Wimbledon the past couple of weeks has put your little ones in the mood for tennis, be sure to book them in for Devizes Tennis Club’s Summer 2022 Tennis Holiday Camp.


Trowbridge Rugby Football Club Summer Camps

On Sundays beginning 24th July until 28th August you are invited to join Trowbridge Rugby Football Club to give rugby a “TRY!” Boys and girls aged 4-12 years are welcome to come along to Doric Park from 11am-12 noon to take part in games, make friends, and learn what rugby is all about – FUN!

For more information about 𝐅𝐑𝐄𝐄 Summer fun sessions, please contact Andy Evans on 07872 065499 or summer.funsessionstrfc22@yahoo.com


Active Trowbridge

A range of sporty holiday activities for children, aged 4 upwards. Active Kids Camp, Soccer Schools and the Girl’s Football Camp, run in February Half Term, the Easter holidays, May Half Term, across the summer and finish for the year at October Half Term (excludes Bank Holidays). Offering sports and entertainment for your children for the entire day throughout the school holidays. They also offer breakfast as part of our extended day offer that will fuel them for the day ahead! Details HERE.


Summer Holiday Camps at The Farm Cookery School

A wide selection of cookery classes at The Farm Cookery School Netherstreet Farm, Bromham, to browse, book and then cook, see HERE!


Multi Sports Programme at Hardenhuish School

Up and Under are running their popular Multi Sports Programme to all abilities aged 5 -13, offering a fantastic variety of sports & activities each day.  The course will run from 9am – 4pm daily from 25th to 29th July.

£30 per day / £135 for all 5 days / 10% sibling discount is available

Sports include Trampolining, Climbing, Archery, Inflatable obstacle course, Football, Mini Olympics, Tennis, New Age Kurling, Handball, Hockey, Cricket, Ultimate Frisbee, Dodgeball, Multi Skill – Martial Arts, Lacrosse, Basketball, Tag Rugby, Team Building Challenges along with daily competitions, prizes and certificates.

Find out more & book on their website.


A Teddy Bear’s Picnic at King Alfred Hall, Chippenham

Join us for a musical Teddy Bear’s Picnic! Bring your teddy and journey with us to a magical garden to play with all the other teddies! Suitable for age 0-4 (older siblings welcome too!)

10.30am – Monday 25th July. Find out more here.


Summer holiday climbing sessions at The Arc, Chippenham

Climbing and games with expert coaching from one of our experienced instructors available over the summer holidays. These sessions will allow our younger climbers to work on their climbing skills, NICAS logbooks as well as engage in other activities and games. No experience necessary.

Find out more & book now.


Visit The History of Video Games, Bristol

Bristol’s best kept secret! – History of Video Games Bristol has been upgraded…

Bristol’s biggest retro video game and retro arcade experience is back and now fully open with 300+ games at the Galleries Shopping Centre, Bristol.

All day tickets with a wrist band so you can come and go.. (no coins required) – the Ultimate family and friends fun day! advance booking only. Buy one get one free (saving £14!) including weekends for all of the summer holidays July 24th – Sept 11th.


Family Space Day in Bath!

Coming to Bath this summer, enjoy a guided tour of the night sky; travel to the International Space Station; zoom across the Solar System; and handle a famous meteorite from outer space. Details & tickets



B-Smart B-Ballers: Fantastic football skills for kids age 18months – 6 years; at Trowbridge Town Hall

Tuesday 19th July @ Trowbridge Town Hall. Fantastic football skills for kids age 18months – 6 years!

Football is an amazing activity for children and most children will be kicking and throwing a ball of some sort as soon as they can walk.

At B-Ballers, We recognise that parents and guardians are by far the most important influence in a child’s life. Including parents in our mini and mighty Bee classes has a real positive impact on their football training. What better way to be involved and support their development whilst having lots of fun together

To book your 2 FREE lessons, simply call coach Emma reid on 07833788465 or visit www.b-smartballers.com


Performance: Catch That Beast! in Trowbridge


The Royal Society of Beastologists are a group with one mission: to track down mythical beasts. They can’t wait to come to Trowbridge Town Hall, meet their new members and capture the Terrible Beast of Trowbridge. They’ve heard it’s been causing all sorts of nuisance.

But Jessy, the youngest Beastologist, has her doubts about beast hunting. What if beasts don’t want to be found? When Jessy is left behind at camp, an encounter with the Beast could help her transform the ways of the Beastologists for good…

Catch That Beast! is a magical, deliciously silly show about how we interact with wild things and how the youngest among us might bring about change. Full of humour, live music, inventive puppetry and audience participation, it is suitable for everybody aged 5+.

There are performances at 11am & 1pm, Saturday 23rd July @ Trowbridge Town Hall


Art & Drama Workshops for  aged 11 upwards at The Cause Arts Centre, Chippenham

Work with Charlie on colourful still life drawings, or play lots of fun games, exercises and make up short scenes with Laura.

A great way to spend a couple of hours and to find out if we’re for you before enrolling for a term. We’re buzzing with ideas and can’t wait to get back to it! See you there.

4.30-6.30 on Wednesday 27th & Wednesday 3rd August. Find out more here.


Devizes Hockey Club Summer Camps

Junior Summer Sessions are here – limited places so get in quick!

Running weekly on Tuesday nights, from 12th July to 16th August, at Melksham Oaks astro, from 7pm-8pm. These sessions are suitable for U11s, U12s and U13s (Y6, 7 and 8 ) and for both boys and girls. Cost for all sessions: £30.

To sign up and pay for the sessions on Pitchero or via the website


Wild Edge Survival Camp @ West Lavington, Devizes

A fantastic Survival Camp on Friday 19th August, for any young adventurous children who are aged between 10 years old and 12 years old.
Small groups of only 12, with a maximum intake of only 24 children; get in quick!


Devizes Netball Summer Camps

Mini netball Summer camps on Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th August, open to members and non-members of the club. These will take place outside on the netball courts at Devizes Leisure Centre.

Each day there will be two age groups:

  • 9am – 11am – current years 2-3 (going into years 3/4 in September) 
  • 11.30am-1.30pm – Years 4-5 (going into years 5/6 in September)

Girls may book for one of both days. The cost per day is £13.


Holt Scarecrow Trail

runs from the 27th to 31st August. In its tenth year, Holt Scarecrow Trail welcomes everybody. Main trail with 50 scarecrows to be found and guessed! Children’s trail will be run separately but can also be done alongside the Main trail too.


Summer Swimming – Crash Course at Starfish Hydrotherapy Pool, Chippenham

Neptune Aquatic’s small-group intensive swimming crash courses at Starfish Hydrotherapy Pool are suitable for children aged 3 years+ and are the perfect way to introduce your young child to a swimming lessons environment or build on skills learned in weekly lessons. We currently offer crash courses (with a maximum of 6 children in each class) for our Ducklings, Turtles and Jellyfish stages (equivalent to Swim England Stages 1-4.) All courses are 5 days, with children swimming every morning for 25 minutes. We welcome all swimmers, including those who do not currently swim with Neptune Swim School.

Monday 1st-5th August and Monday 22th-26th August

Session times:
9:00-9:30
9:30-10:00
10:00-10:30
10:30-11:00

More info here.


Devizes Confetti Battle


Chippenham River Festival

Chippenham River Festival is on Bank Holiday Monday 29th August 2022 from 10am-4pm. An Artisan market, community stalls, a duck race, Tree high ropes activity, Boat trips and Stand up paddle boarding.

Book the high ropes and paddle boarding here.


Events in Wiltshire Weekly Roundup: 14-17th July 2022

In the words of the King, “lord almighty, feel the temperature rising,” it’s set to be scorchio this weekend; here’s what we’ve found to occupy yourself, but remember the code portmanteau…. sunscreen! I’m a kinda radish colour now as I didn’t listen to my own advice, which you didn’t need to know, but I’m telling you anyway….

I’m also telling you, as usual I ain’t, as ain’t nobody got time for adding links to this here overview, find all the addition info you need and ticket links on our Event Calendar HERE.

Don’t forget Marlborough Open Studios ongoing until 24th July. On Thursday 14th July find Ray Cooper at Marlborough Folk Roots club.

By Friday 15th you should be prepared to get your booties movin’ with a bit of Salsa dancing at The Muck & Dundar, Devizes.

Dan Whitehouse plays the Pump, Trowbridge, Holly Carter at The Royal Oak, Bath, Road Trip at The Vic, Swindon, and this one needs no clarification; MeatLoud – Bat Out of Hades at the Neeld Hall, Chippenham! Ah, and breath, the fabulous Chicken Teddys gig at the Railway Inn, Yatton, The John E Vistic Rock N Roll Sound System at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and there’s outdoor theatre at Trowbridge Town Hall with Wuthering Heights.

Saturday is start of the Market Lavington Vintage Meet & Family Weekend. Rumours about cancelation is rubbish, this is going ahead, deffo, and tickets are still available.

Devizes sees its first Italian Auto Moto Festival in the Market Place on Saturday 16th and take Frunch at The Muck & Dundar with a pop-up kitchen. Staying in that lovely holiday-at-home rum bar, DJ James Threlfall plays a set in the evening. Live music spoiled for choice Devizions can find The Reason playing The Three Crowns, Rockhoppaz at the Southgate, or take a downhill walk to The Cross Keys, Rowde for The Life of Brian band.

It’s good news for Attack! The Wargames Show, as it finally makes a return to Devizes School on Saturday and Sunday. Over 30 trade stands with Military books, brushes, paints, terrain pieces and supplies (good for model railway enthusiasts too), models and figures. They have 100 competitors playing in 8 competitions and 12 participation games, to come and try. Plus, canteen and bar (provided by the British Lion). The show usually brings around 1000 people in so do come and see what the hobby is all about. This is the Facebook group to join for more details.

Or, for a rare opportunity these days; you can go to a record fair at Melksham’s Assembly Hall on Saturday.

Menu and Music at The Crown in Marlborough, Bottfest continues at The Seven Stars, Bottlesford with surfers Hooch, and a beach barbeque, although I’m not sure how a lorry carrying a beach is going to be able to squeeze around Bottlesford corner.

Billy in The Lowground play Trowbridge Town Hall, lovin’ the name, The Invincible Pigs at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and Green Day tribute Green Haze at The Cheese & Grain, Frome. BlitzKidz at The Vic, and Miss Kel’s Dance Academy’s Legends at The Wyvern, Swindon.

Pick-of-the-Week

But eyes of Swindon should be on our pick-of-the-week this week, the town’s tribute to Dave Young at the Old Town Bowl, the ingeniously titled My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival.

The Swindon Shuffle, in partnership with South Swindon Parish Council and Dave’s friends and family are very pleased to bring you the 2nd ‘My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival’ – a tribute to Dave Young.

The event is once again happening in the beautiful surroundings of Town Gardens Bowl on Saturday 16th July, from midday until 10pm and is being held in tribute to Dave Young, the former landlord of The Victoria and 12 Bar, who sadly died last June at the Prospect Hospice after a hard-fought battle against cancer. Profits from the event are being donated to the Prospect Hospice in Dave’s name – last years totalled over £14,000!

The event will take the shape of an all-day community music festival with a stellar line up of live acts, finished off with the high-energy Rave Against The Regime, a live band who play reinterpretations of synth-heavy dance music classics with no synths…

The rest of the line-up is headed by local alternative pop-rock act All ears Avow and also features Soul band Joli and the Souls, indie act Stay Lunar, Irish folk-punk outfit Mick O’Toole, Swindon Americana stalwarts The Shudders, Wiltshire Folk collective The Lost Trades, indie band Kicking Edgar and more. Plus, on the Bandstand stage acts like Baths Concrete Prairie and Swindon’s own Canute’s Plastic Army and Si & Matt Hall.

Alongside the music there will be plenty of activities for all the family, a huge local maker’s market courtesy of Swindie Makers Markets and food and drink from a variety of locally based vendors like Streets of India and a licenced bar by The Tuppenny.

Tickets are available online via seetickets.com (booking fee applies). Physical tickets are available from The Tuppenny and Holmes Music in Swindon and Tesco’s in Calne.

And that’s about your lot; bit of a quieter weekend, especially in Devizes; save some pennies for Beer Festival the next weekend. Find Marty Wilde & The Wildcats at The Wyvern, Swindon on Sunday, the Infant Voice Festival same place on Monday, with Sarah Millican’s Bobby Dazzler tour on Wednesday.

In Devizes on Tuesday 19th, it’s the Devizes Community Choir’s first performance at The Bear, The Big Sing; break a leg, guys!

Another recommended option for Wednesday is at Wiltshire Rural Music Centre, Trowbridge, where Daisy Chapman & Amelia Wise play an intimate set.

Trending…..

Weekend Roundup: 30th June – 3rd July 2022

Full throttle into July, then; here’s what the weekend looks like around these parts. These parts of cultural void, so it’s claimed, we say otherwise…. You want proof?

As usual no links here, the only link you need is here, our event calendar. Have a great weekend whatever you do!

Ongoing from Wednesday until Sunday the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon has got Shrek the Musical. Thursday and Friday, Devizes Musical Theatre presents their Summer Concert, Miss Fortunes at The Wharf Theatre, see the poster, always see the posters!

I’m delighted to hear Devizes LGBTQ+ group’s first big event, Drag Bingo at the Exchange has sold out on Thursday 30th; well done to them and here’s hoping for some similar events in Devizes in the future.

One of folk music’s greatest innovators, Martin Carthy is at Trowbridge Town Hall Thursday, Paul Jones Live in Concert at Christ Church, Swindon while Swindon Arts Centre has a play called Blithe Spirit, running until Sunday.

Friday is pinch punch. Chippenham Comedy Festival at The Old Road Tavern, starts, running all weekend. Limited Weekend Tickets £60, individual shows are all £7 each. Friday 1st July: 7pm Sam Michael & John Matthews: Cister Act, 8.30pm Juliette Meyers: Passport Face,10pm James Dowdeswell: Beers of a Clown. Saturday 2nd July: 5pm Jo Caulfield: Here Comes Trouble, 6.30pm Sooz Kempner: Playstation, 7.45pm Katie Mitchell: She Festers, 9pm Andrew O’Neill: We Are Not In The Least Afraid Of Ruins; We Carry A New World In Our Hearts, 10.15pm Wil Hodgson: Barbicidal Tendencies. Sunday 3rd July: 5.30pm Jessie Nixon, Dannie Johns & Millie Haswell: Dumb Belles,7pm Joe Wells: I am Autistic, 8.30pm Beth Black.

Devizes School Summer School Concert in the main hall. Minety Festival kicks off for the weekend. Melksham’s One Love reggae night has been moved from the Assembly Hall to Spencer’s Club on Beanacre Road, I just haven’t changed the poster, so forget all I said about paying attention to the posters!!