Swan Dies in Road Accident at The Crammer

A swan from the Crammer hit on the road between Morrison’s roundabout and the traffic lights this morning, has died….

In territorial disputes, the wildfowl will chase others, and they will flee onto the road. In other cases, desperate for food, some venture afield and cross the dangerous road.

Emotionally upset, founding member of the Crammer Watch team took it to McQueens for the incinerator.

It sadly highlights the necessity for signage on both roads warning drivers of birds crossing. We do hope the Devizes Town Council will raise this notion at the next meeting and look forward to reporting their response.


Facebook groups and pages with information and support for the Crammer:

Crammer Watch: Facebook page.

Friends of the Crammer: Facebook group.


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.


Trending….

Swan Dies in Road Accident at The Crammer

A swan from the Crammer hit on the road between Morrison’s roundabout and the traffic lights this morning, has died…. In territorial disputes, the wildfowl…

Song of the Week: Sienna Wileman

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On The Wayside with Viduals

Akin to Ghostbuster’s nemesis Slimer when he appears over the hotdog stand, I was squatting a spacious windowsill at Wiltshire Music Centre with an Evie’s…

Old Wharf Café to Become Meeting Room

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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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The Bradford Roots Music Festival Returns

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Exchange; Devizes Night Club Starts Regular Open Mic Sessions

Commendation must go to The Exchange night club in Devizes this week, for introduing regular open mic sessions on Fridays….

Starting on Friday 3rd February, the club will open at 8pm for open mic. It’s a concept which has launched many a musical career, an opportunity for amateur and upcoming acts to find an audience. There are usually no fees, but equally there’s no restrictions either.

Owner Ian James says, “if you are a singer, or musician and would like to perform, please message me, OR just turn up on the night we will try and fit you in.”

This will be a monthly event on the first Friday of each month, followed by the Retro Disco until 2am.

We think this is great idea, and salute you, sir! If anyone who’d like to be a part of this has problems contacting Ian personally, do let us know and we’ll be happy to connect the dots.


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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Full-Tone Festival Announce 2023 Line-up

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Are You The Strongest Man or Women in Devizes? Yeah, So You Reckon!!

Who knew? Devizes has an annual Strongest contest; why am I the last to know about these things? Best guess is because I’d only show you all up!

Wiltshire born and bred, the saying goes, strong in the arm and thick in the head! Let’s forget about the latter bit, and concentrate on the first. Who is the strongest man and strongest woman in Devizes? And I don’t mean like a vintage cheddar type strong.

No need to take this outside, on Sunday 2nd April we’ll know for sure, pal, as Pure Grit personal training gym at Hopton Industrial Estate host their second Devizes Strongest competition at Devizes Football Club, and I’m like, that’s a great idea, something a bit different.

To enter costs £35, including the T-shirt, and places are filling fast. Of course, there’s different categories, from beginners and novice lifters to the experienced, of which you’re big and can find out about these for yourself, I’m more interested to wonder if this is a spectator sport.

I know, I’m old, and harking back to the grand days of good ol’ Geoff Capes and Iceland’s Jón Páll Sigmarsson, when The World’s Strongest Man content was something every man and his dog tuned in for, and thinking this might be a fun Sunday thing to watch. So I dropped a line to organiser and Pure Grit owner, Zoe Trevena, warned her I’ve no intention of lifting any cars in case she got the wrong idea, and she tells me it’s a mere two quid to come watch.

The competition starts at 10am, there will be food and side stalls, Zoe explained “we held our first Devizes Strongest Man & Woman last year. This year we have sixty competitors, 40% women 60% men. We also use the Wadworths Dray as part of our pulling event instead of pulling a truck!”

Story checks out too, via a quick online search I found the Wiltshire Times covered this last time, complete with a picture of Zoe pulling the dray. Wowzers; I’m not arguing with her even if she was making it all up! Is she trying to put the shire horses out of a job?!!


Full-Tone Festival Announce 2023 Line-up

The Full-Tone Orchestra have released details of the 2023 line-up for their annual extravaganza, The Full-Tone Festival on Devizes Green, August bank holiday. It’s all on a rather smashing looking poster, unalike darker past posters with neon text, this time with a fresh use of pastel colours on white background, all very Degas I must say. While rain drizzles down our windows, let’s have a nose at what it says on there, shall we, and think of summer?!

A couple of years ago I published one of many list-type articles on the topic of forthcoming local festivals. Ah, phooey, it sparked a debate on social media because I didn’t include Devizes-own Full-Tone Festival, though the event did receive a sovereign preview of its own. My argument at the time was my definition of a festival was of multiple activities happenings across multiple sectors, therefore classing Full-Tone Festival, despite being named Full-Tone Festival, more in line with the word concert.

A technicality I’ve since altered my perspective of, and aside pigeonholing, for recent similar articles I’ve adopted the more causal, universal, and a smidgen double-entendre tagline, “Big Ones,” to encompass largescale events without categories, precisely so we can include things like Pewsey Carnival, and of course, The Full-Tone Festival. And in this, here’s the thing, who wants their event to be typecast and categorised? The Full-Tone Festival is what it is, and that “is” is something spectacular, annually happening now on our very turf, but mostly for point of this argument, something totally unique.

And of my technicality, Full-Tone acts as both sides of the debate, yes it shows off the incredible talent and togetherness of the Full-Tone Orchestra, an ensemble which will voyage to impressive venues like Wells Cathedral and Bath Abbey this year, but also showcases diverse local and national acts. Their social media posts boast “it’s going to be SUCH an amazing weekend of music! 50 musicians and singers, over 100 rotating over the weekend, plus some pretty amazing guests!” If you got it, flaunt it, darling! But honestly, it’s a highly impressive weekend, and they’ve every right to show it off!

Full-Tone Festival opens on the Saturday, for example, showcasing a set of classical proms, and features Full-Tone chief organiser Jemma Brown with her new vocal quartet, The Four Sopranos, consisting of Lucia Pupilli, Tabitha Cox, and Teresa Isaacson too.

Local rock n roll legends and regulars at Full-Tone, Pete Lamb and The Heartbeats are the first guests, followed by the orchestra taking off again for the ever-popular “big TV and movie themes” section, of which I always look forward to Jurassic Park the most, don’t know why, just do. Any comments on social media suggesting it’s because I’m a dinosaur will be deleted!

If, so far critics could cough up the “samey” tosh, I’d argue possibly, but certain elements of this event have become welcomed stalwarts, and why change it just to please them? We love it just the way it is! Besides, here’s a totally new one on me, The House Iguanas promises “massive bonkers brilliant sax, DJ and bongos,” and with that, could you ask for anything more diverse?

Saturday night closes with the reappearance of the orchestra’s The Ultimate Dance Anthems, which being they only scootered around last year with nineties pop hits, for me, personally, and literally from the sheer eruption of enthusiasm of the crowd of previous years, I’m sure will be a very welcomed return, with glowsticks.

If Saturdays showcases the orchestra foremost, I must say it’s more diverse this year, and, Sunday tends to focus on other acts more, anyways. Though the orchestra opens the day with the “Big Sound” section of this remarkable concert manifold, North Wiltshire big band 41 Degrees take over straight after. They’re the wedding function band of the wedding you’d never forget, with a spanning repertoire from Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller, through Rat Pack and Weather Report, to the Killers and Oasis. There’s nothing like big band pop covers, often showing shame to the originals, and this sounds cool as.

A highlight of last year’s Devizes Street Festival, those funky mavericks of Mardi Gras and New Orleans jazz, The Brass Junkies revisit our soil, and remember; brass is class.

Time for the Full-Tone Orchestra to finish off their pizzas and get back onto that notable stage for a section of West End Musical hits. It must be exhausting, blowing into that brass, precisely plucking those strings and whatever else they need to do to create these massive sounds, not forgoing conductor Anthony Brown must be at risk of repetitive strain injury over the weekend.

Wowzers, and I’ve not got to the best bit, least what I think is the best bit, because this info was leaked to me by the band, but sworn to secrecy I couldn’t even blow my own trumpet and act all smarmy about, until now, so I will, thank you; Talk in Code play the finale guest set. A mighty local indie-pop band which, if you don’t know you must be new to Devizine, and I urge you pay more attention in future! Yes, forgive my plug, but they are coming to my birthday party at the Three Crowns on March 4th, and YOU are all welcome, but again, and in summary to the Full-Tone Festival as a whole, playing up on that breath-taking stage, with matchless acoustics is something else, and well worth the ticket stub. There’s nothing else quite like it in Devizes.

If Talk in Code have that stylised knack of capturing something decidedly eighties within their original material, Sunday aptly closes with the orchestra one final time, giving it whooping eighties bangers, which by then if you’re not completely satisfied, I suggest you urgently seek professional medical attention!

Early bird tickets are HERE, or at Devizes Books. Kids under 14 go free with a paying adult, £45 for the weekend (£35 before the 31st January), £35 for the day. And there it is, apologises for waffling, but it is all terribly exciting!


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Devizes Town Councillors LIED About Bird Flu on Crammer

As temperatures rise from the coldest December spell in a decade, life on Devizes Crammer is returning to normal. The Crammer Watch team concentrate their efforts on the natural course of activities for the wildfowl present, as aggressive swans drive others onto the roadside in territorial disputes...…

Meanwhile, confused as to whether they should be fed, due to a lack of official advise to update them on the situation, townsfolk are understandably concerned for their health and wellbeing, after the deaths of two swans and two Canada Geese in December.

But the questions which need to be asked now, but clearly are not, are concerned more with the appropriateness of actions taken by Devizes Town Councillors on the matter; off I go, not wanting to issue a rant so close into a new year, but feeling it’s imperative; someone’s gotta say it……

Firstly, Guardian Town Councillor, Chris Greenwood declared on the Devizes News Facebook page that an outbreak of bird flu had be confirmed on the Crammer, and the birds had been collected by DEFRA for testing. This was backed up by a stern campaign on another Facebook group, Devizes Issues, by the admin and Conservative town councillor, Iain Wallis, not to feed the wildfowl on the Crammer to prevent spread of the disease.

Only when questioned on his statement did Mr Greenwood revert to DEFRA guidelines, stating any suspected outbreak should be treated as a definite outbreak, therefore this governed his advice to stop feeding the wildfowl. Meanwhile, Mr Wallis took it upon himself to delete any differing opinions on his own Facebook group. The argument for continuing to feed being, because of a lack of natural food source, the wildfowl would consequently die of starvation, if bird flu was evident or not.

They both informed the public DEFRA had collected the birds for testing, and this was backed up belatedly by Devizes Town Council, who issued a notice advising the same, not to feed the wildfowl. Clerk Simon Fisher adding in his published musings that the Council were operating on skeleton staff during the period, despite it being some weeks prior to Christmas.

As confirmation from DEFRA didn’t arrive all went quiet on the Western Front, updates were scarce and suspiciously varying. Councillor Wallis stated DEFRA were “busy,” others suggested DEFRA was closed for Christmas, a fortnight prior to Christmas. Councillor Greenwood stated no confirmation was likely, as DEFRA rarely test individual birds. But the real facts are coming to light from a leaked email from Clerk Simon Fisher to a Crammer Watch member; the birds were never collected by DEFRA at all.

In the email Mr Fisher states, “we did report the bird in the hope they would be collected but they weren’t. Given the time period and the level of decay that had started to set in, the birds were double bagged and disposed of. We are pleased that since the initial incidents, that there have been no more deaths, but we are now seeking advice from the Wetland Trust on the best way to feed the birds, which may be something that we do it ourselves in the future.”

Seems evident now it’s all been one big, fat fib, the likelihood of bird flu remains unknown and so does the chances of ever knowing. Only one bird on the canal has been reported dead since the original few during the freezing spell in December, DTC reports today, and well, nature takes its course, wild animals will unfortunately die. There’s as much evidence to suggest there never was an outbreak of bird flu as much as there was, but the truth may never be known. Reasons why the issue has been handled so appallingly would be speculation. Despite no one was pointing a finger, it was a close one to call after all, I’ll give them that much. Yet, I believe what needs to be questioned is the bolshy way this was pushed into effect via social media hysteria caused by the individual Councillors.

And of course, none of it would be a problem if the birds were in an area with a natural food source, for without it, as is the Crammer, the birds will die of starvation, infected with bird flu or not. Furthermore, there’s a danger to the birds crossing over the busy road to find alternative means of food from nearby pub and supermarket bins. This information of the lack a natural food source was passed to us by Swan Support, when they aided a rescue of swans struck by pollution in the Crammer back in springtime. The reason why Crammer Watch was set up. Crammer Watch advocated feeding the birds safely and individually would give them the sustainability to survive the freezing conditions, and the jury was out for the while, now it seems it was the right thing course of action, after all.

The argument put forward by the councillors active on social media was by not feeding the birds we are reducing the likelihood they’ll congregate and spread the disease. I get this, I really do, yet through various channels Crammer Watch sourced information from DEFRA, from the top UK medical boffins and the King’s Swan Marker; they’re not simply acting on a whim.

They say it isn’t illegal to feed and where local authorities are trying to stop it in most cases, they have installed barriers and taken over safe feeding. Devizes Town Council have none of this yet, and only now, a month too late, have they suggested it “may be something that we do it ourselves in the future.”

But the really concerning issue is by the aforementioned town councillor, Iain Wallis, responsible for the area the Crammer is, in mounting a huge campaign for no feeding, via being admin of the controversial Facebook group, Devizes Issues, which saw any angle of debate questioning the ruling we should stop feeding the wildfowl, promptly deleted and the commenters banned. Mr Wallis furthered the campaign by suggesting townsfolk should take the law into their own hands by reprimanding anyone found feeding the swans.

It’s one thing for admin of a claimed “unbiased” social media group to delete misinformation, it’s another to eradicate personal opinions, especially when there’s no confirmation of the fact. Now temperatures have returned to normal, comments on the post have been turned off, so no updated information seems to allowed, the word is final there; don’t feed the swans.

The final straw in this matter, for me, was to encourage the public to question anyone feeding the birds, as, and let’s be frank here, it’s obvious this would lead to a “torches and pitchforks” scenario, in which enraged abuse is thrown at anyone who dares to take an opposing opinion to Mr Wallis. Lo and behold, several reports of this have been made by victims of such verbal abuse, one person claiming an angered man shouted at her child for feeding the ducks. What have we become?!

Make no mistake, this outcome is outrageous and despicable, in my opinion, and questions should be raised as to councillor Iain Wallis’s motives behind such a forceful approach. As no official updates were given, people continued obey and not feed the wildfowl, much less drive others away from feeding them by hurling abuse at them.

But why, you understandably ask, and the only answer I can provide is, I don’t know. The birds there would obviously die if not fed, providing more evidence for a supposed but unproven case of bird flu. Councillor Greenwood stated in no uncertain circumstances, such a continuation of deaths will result in a mass cull of all birds in the area, interestingly he noted the gulls and the pigeons. The very gulls Wiltshire Councillor Laura Mayes has been calling for a cull of for months, and likewise the very same town councillor, Iain Wallis, has been pushing for a cull of the pigeons?

Permission needs granting to cull birds, if relevant agencies assess there’s not a significant pigeon problem in the area, they’ll not issue a licence. But we’ve heard nothing of the result on this, and they say no news is good news. I could fairly venture therefore, they didn’t issue any such licence, ergo pushing for a case of bird flu would be the backdoor to having a cull. Of course, this is speculation, but I worry, why else is this being pushed without evidence, and isn’t it coincidental the same councillor pushing this is the one who campaigned to cull the pigeons?

What other reason could there be? That the councillor is, much less a wildlife expert, because he’s not, but a caring soul for wildlife? A confessed Conservative blindly following the advice of DEFRA unquestionably. DEFRA, a government department, the same government which, against advice of financial experts condoned we’re best leaving the EU and plummeted us into recession, a government who, against advice of the World Health Organisation, suggested we’d not need to lockdown in a worldwide pandemic until after international jetsetters flew in for a profitable horse race? A government who profited from said lockdown and partied through it while advising we don’t see our babies born or our elderly relatives die? A government who crushed the NHS and education budgets, have continued to lie at every given opportunity? That government? Oh yeah, sounds viable to me!

If it feels like said government have little respect for human life, why do you suppose they would for animals? A government with the kingpin prime minister stating a fetish of fox hunting, continuing to find reasonable grounds to turn the hunting act around, and advocating other unlawful blood sports, and a badger cull, for example, without any real proof it leads to bovine Tb in cattle. And ultimately, a government which assigns an MP like Thérèse Coffey as minister for DEFRA, despite voting against protecting Animal Welfare and Food Standards from post-Brexit trade deals, as well as a lengthy voting record of other disgracefully unjust and oppressive issues. Face it, Thérèse Coffey doesn’t view animals as sentient, least that’s what her voting record revealed.

The MP who defended Rebekah Brooks as chief executive of News International when they thought it’d be fun to hack the phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, claiming objectors were on a “witch hunt,” yet had no issue aiding a similar witch hunt against Marcus Rashford, for merely suggesting the poorest children should be fed during the pandemic? Oh right, yeah, she sounds like someone who gives a toss about some swans living in a duck shit pond in Devizes, for sure.

Apologies if you feel I’ve gone off on a wild tangent here, but it feels like another brick in the wall. When a topic is debatable it usually means the motivation behind each side differs. Mine is purely based on the protection of the wildlife, the other side argue the same, but all I called for is a debate, with experts present, on how the Crammer can be improved to help the wildlife there. Chris Greenwood’s response to a call for a natural food source and an island ideal for bird flight paths, was “There’s currently no real possibility of providing a natural food source in or near the Crammer, due to it potentially restricting flight paths for the swans and geese, it would also disrupt the aesthetics of the area, by changing the very nature of a feature of our Town.”

The latter part of this raises the question of what folk in Devizes want, a pretty looking pond unsuitable and dangerous for the wildlife which visits it, or a conservational area apt for sustaining the needs of the wildlife. Crammer Watch say, “the Crammer had an island in the middle during the Victorian period, there is no other imaginable reason for its introduction unless it was precisely because of the aesthetic enhancement of walks.”

The first part of this, quite frankly, is codswallop. Crammer Watch points out, “swans drop in but can’t take off because there isn’t a long enough stretch of water for a safe runway and they can’t clear the trees or buildings.” Also stating “I have only seen them take off from the Green, albeit one may have taken off from water alone in June. I have started to wonder whether a way could be engineered to put swans off of dropping in. If non breeders drop in they find it impossible to leave in the short term and nothing to eat.”

Ergo, given Occam’s razor, that the explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is usually the correct one, without any confirmation or even evidence of bird flu, and the only birds dying in the extreme cold has now stopped as the temperature levelled, the argument with fewer explanations required is that the birds died of extreme weather conditions, as is the unfortunate natural course of life.

Whether or not the unsuitable conditions at the Crammer played a part in this, well, we could carry on all night with, but what’s clear, without feeding they’ll die anyway, so the logical reasoning is to feed them and anyone who says otherwise are either misinformed or have a different agenda. I also apologise to those councillors I’ve called out on this, all’s fair in love and war, for there’s a fair chunk of speculation presented, I’ll admit, but I can see no other reason for staging such a ferocious campaign against feeding them without the required evidence. But more so, I question the need to incite folk to police it themselves, for this would undoubtedly cause friction.

I believe a full, independent enquiry needs to be done, as to why the councillors perpetrated their fictious campaign; what else are they lying to us about?

Let’s hope for a positive outcome for the new year ahead, but if not, I urge you to leave The Devizes Issues Facebook group, because no one should be taking its advice and reprimanding children for feeding ducks; inexcusable behaviour from a town councillor, for heaven help if incited verbal abuse turned physical.


Devizes to Seize the Day for Wiltshire Climate Alliance

And that day is Saturday 4th February. Celebrated frontline folk band, Seize the Day, who specialise in conservational protest songs, and have supported many environmental campaigns across the world, will arrive at our Corn Exchange for a one-off gig fundraising for Wiltshire Climate Alliance……

Founded in 1997 by singer-songwriters Theo Simon and Shannon Smy, Seize the Day are renowned for revelling and inspiring the country’s environmental movement. They annually play Glastonbury Festival along with a variety of folk and mainstream UK festivals, and as stalwarts to grass-roots campaigners, they also play many benefit gigs and protest meetings, often with a solar-powered PA.

Wiltshire Climate Alliance are an umbrella campaign group, bringing together the various eco-groups from across Wiltshire, including Sustainable Devizes. Formed in 2019, when Wiltshire Council acknowledged that there was a climate emergency and set themselves a target to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030, Wiltshire Climate Alliance set to ensure that Wiltshire Council was taking this commitment seriously.

In February 2020 they held a rally outside County Hall in Trowbridge, and have since created several active topic groups including energy, transport, land use and business engagement, organizing speakers and workshops, responses to consultations and planning applications, site visits and more.

Continuing to grow, the group welcome new members, partners and people who can help with our organization and administration.

An eight-piece ensemble, Seize the Day, fresh from an XR Christmas party at The Cellar Bar in Bath, I’m sure will bring a welcomed and refreshing show to Devizes Corn Exchange. Tickets are £15.00 or £7.50 for those who are struggling to pay any more, people can choose which to buy. Food will be available to purchase.


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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!


Changing Times For Lacock’s Boxing Day Hunt Protest

Wiltshire Hunt Saboteurs report some great news, ahead of the Avon Vale Hunt’s Boxing Day Hunt, happening in Lacock today….

Wadworth-owned Lacock pub, The Red Lion, traditionally the meeting point for the start of the hunt, has made the decision to not open until after the hunt has left the village.

The National Trust has also restricted usage of their carpark in the village for the hunt supporters. Although we’ve currently heard The Bell on Bowden Hill will provide car parking, people are being urged to contact them to let them know their feelings on this. Devizine has done this, and we await their response.

If brewery owners of The Red Lion, who part-own the hunt kennels, and have been masters of this hunt in years past, can make the right decision to restrict their facilities to the Avon Vale Hunt in light of the violence last year, so can the community as a whole.

Let’s hope for a peaceful protest, and for Wiltshire Police to provide a more efficient and impartial service this time, as it seems the support for the hunt is dwindling rapidly, and a majority present today will be campaigning against hunting rather than supporting it.

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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REVIEW – Devizes Winter Wonderland of Music 17/18th December 2022

Proving That There’s More To Life Than Football!

Andy Fawthrop

Another perishingly cold weekend in D-Town, but there was plenty of music and entertainment on offer to warm the heart.  So I went off on a Winter wander to see what was on offer.

Unfortunately I had to miss Friday night’s Butch Hopkins Memorial Gig at The Corn Exchange, featuring Jon Amor and Innes Sibun.  I would dearly loved to have gone, but was prevented by another commitment.  Talking to people who did go, however, I was told that a great night was had by all.  

But by Saturday I was fully on my mission.  Whilst the editor of this esteemed digital mag was indulging his nostalgic love of Ford Cortinas and Slade tribute bands in Marlborough, I took to the mean streets of D-Town.

First off to St John’s for the Big Sound’s Christmas concert.  This was a gig of two halves.  The first half featured songs by a number of individual guest singers, including some very young soloists, each one of whom knocked it out of the park, despite the daunting prospect of standing up alone in front of hundreds of people.  Hats off!

The second half moved up a gear and featured the big guns of the eponymous The Big Sound – a massive and marvellous choir, marshalled by the enthusiastic Jemma Brown.  The choir was not formed particularly with formal concerts in mind, but more as an ongoing exercise in what Jemma herself describes as “music, singing, wellbeing, friendship, laughter and fun” (the choir meets and sings every Tuesday night).  Those values certainly shone through as the choir strode their way through a number of Christmas-related songs.  The highlight, particularly in the fun department, was the audience participation in The Twelve Days Of Christmas.  Everyone on stage looked as if they were enjoying themselves hugely, and the audience were kept warm both by singing and by the mulled wine being served at the back.  And to top all that, it would appear that the two charities being supported last night (Devizes Open Doors and Dorothy House) would have benefited somewhere in the region of £2000 – a terrific performance all round.  Given that this was the choir’s first-ever gig, it was what I can only describe as a stunning success.

Of course there was other stuff on around town, but my next venue of choice for the night was The Southgate.  Unfortunately, due to Covid, Dr. Zebo’s Wheezy Club had had to cancel at the very last minute, but the ever-resourceful Debbie had managed to find her friends (and fantastic musicians) Tim Madden (guitar and vocals) and Melinda Rozsahegyi (12-string pedal-steel guitar), both of The Duskers to play at the last moment.  From a relatively quiet start, the crowd grew as the evening wore on, and the place was pretty packed by the end.  Tim’s laid-back and mournful vocals, accompanied by gentle and under-stated guitar proved a perfect foil for Melinda’s pedal-steel.  I think it’s the association with Country music and the heart-rending lyrics of you-done-me-wrong songs, but there’s something infinitely sad and haunting about the sound of pedal-steel.  As it was, we had two great hour-long sets, and I left for home with just a liddle biddy tear in my eye.

But there was still more to come.  D-Town doesn’t stop after Saturday night, it carries on until we all have to go back to work on Monday morning.

So Sunday got off to an early start.  When there’s a Market Place full of farm machinery, why would you want to be anywhere else?  Due to (as I understand it) insurance issues, Devizes Young Farmers were unable to stage their now-usual Tinsel & Tractor run through the Wiltshire countryside, ending up in D-Town, and so they did the next best thing – a static display.  Whilst this might have been a little less exciting, and to feature rather less units, having the machines parked up in neat rows in The Market Place gave everyone a chance to get really close up.  I’ve never seen so much clean (and often new) farm machinery – just makes you appreciate the level of modern technology that goes into producing the food that we all take for granted.  I’ve also never seen so many strapping and weather-beaten chaps proudly displaying their vehicles.  There were loads of stalls, including food offerings, and stuff for the kiddi-winkies to do too.  Hopefully the day raised a shedload of money for Dorothy House, so another hats off to the organisers.

Afternoon is the time to go the pub, right?  Keen to observe this custom in full, and never one to shirk my reporting responsibilities, I fearlessly went to two of our finest establishments.  It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. 

First to The White Bear to see my mate Jamie R Hawkins in a now-rare solo performance away from his Lost Trades buddies.  It was really good to see and hear him in action again, and good to see that he’s retained all his good humour and singer/ songwriter skills. The songs were still there, that distinctive voice was still in evidence.  Always a class act.

Finally it was back up to The Southgate, following the football, to catch It’s Complicated’s Christmas party.  Again it was good to see an old mate, this time in the shape of Tim Watts behind the drums.  Accompanied by Jacqi Sherlock (keys and vocals), Tom Evans (guitar and vocals), and Adrian Mundy (bass guitar), it was another of those gigs that really built momentum ass it went along.  They’re a covers band, but definitely a musical step up from yer average pub band.  They don’t just play the more “obvious” cloud-pleasers – they’re happy to take on some less well-known stuff.  The musicianship, and their ability to use their own arrangements to lift a number out of the ditch of a mere slavish copy, means that they’re a notch or two better than the mere average.  Jacqi’s vocals, in particular, really lifted some of the songs.

And because it was a Christmas party, the set-list included a number of Crimbo classics that we could all belt out.  You don’t have to go all the way to Marlborough to see a Slade tribute act to get a dose of “Here It Is – Merry Christmas”.  Tim did a passable impression of Noddy Holder, belting out the song, whilst doing some heavy-duty tub-thumping.

So – all-in-all – plenty of stuff to keep me out of trouble.  And away from the football.

And – as a final note – I’d like to add a massive thank-you to all those shakers and movers, the organisers and planners, those people who get off their arses in our little town and put all of these events on for us to enjoy.  There are lots of them throughout the year, and at a lot of venues, but just based on the above things that fed my particular week-end, a big hats off to Ian Hopkins (Long Street Blues), Dave & Debbie (The Southgate), Marc & Georgie (The White Bear), Jemma Brown (The Big Sound) and the Devizes Young Farmers.  Hats off.  Well done to all of them.


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Saddened to hear of the death of a swan on the Crammer today, via Devizes Police who were called to its attention last night.

The Crammer Watch team keep regular watches of the Crammer. Undoubtedly the swans are miserable with the cold spell, but at this current time the cause of its death it’s undetermined. In speculating it may be avian bird flu, the operative word is “may.” The mere mention of it on social media, which has already occured for the purpose of a warning to keep away from the swan, risks the spreading unsolicited rumours.

“Crammer Watcher” Brian, who regularly visits the pond, noted “at no time has any of them shown any respiratory problems. No classic signs of avian flu at all.” Obviously we should all take the advise to keep away from any dead wildfowl, but the last thing we need is scaremonging Chinese whispers.

The bird’s plight of not having a natural food source on the Crammer is an ongoing issue. Recently the Facebook page reached out to the public, suggesting you should feed the swans, ducks and geese, if you can. Some of the swans on the Crammer are underweight, they are all very hungry and need food to get them through this cold spell.

But there was a plea to all from the page, not to feed the wildfowl mouldy food. They need specific food, which you can buy at Rangebourne Pet Care on New Park Street, and the store is offering a 10% discount during this cold spell. But if you are going to feed them, you must keep your distance at this time, and contact the RSPCA or Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital if you are concerned about any of the birds on the Crammer.


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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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 13th-21th December 2022

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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Over three years since my most memorable “Spider-Milk-Man” run in aid of Carmela’s Stand Up to Muscular Dystrophy, it’s always nice to catch up with Carmela Chillery-Watson and her family. If I expressed then how much of an inspiration to us all Carmela is, agelessly, it was never said in a patronising manner simply because she was just six years old at the time, because she’s growing up, and surely proving my point…...

This week has seen Carmela in hospital for an operation, for a monitoring device to be implanted near her heart, and still, she comes up smiles! We all wish you the very best here at Devizine, Carmela, and of course, a very happy Christmas too, but the news Carmela plans to start helping one of our local care homes in the new year is outstanding.

Mum, Lucy explained, “on one of Carmela’s sad days a few weeks back, we discovered she was really keen to help put smiles on the elderly who can’t get outside to do sports and fun activities.”

“Carmela said she gets sad because her body won’t allow her to do lots of things she was once able to and she said her weak body is like the elderly. But having me in her life helps her to do lots of other fun stuff. So that’s why she felt she could help the elderly like I do for her.”

Carmela will be coaching bean bag boccia and fun hand sensory activities once a month after Christmas, and visited the home last week where she got to have a brief chat with one of the residents who was 99 years old. See what I mean now? She really is an inspiration to us all.

Well done, Carmela, and I just know you’re going to win their hearts!

Last August a team of fundraisers, led by Carmela’s mum, Lucy, cycled 66 miles through Wiltshire villages for Muscular Dystrophy UK, and plan to do it again in 2023. You can register your interest HERE, or you can donate to the Courageous Carmela fundraising HERE, or the Cure for Carmela HERE.


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Grab some free Christmas gifts, clear some space at home, and reduce waste… “try swapping not shopping this Christmas,” says Sustainable Devizes, as they host a Christmas Toy & Book Swap at St James Church this Saturday (17th December,) from 11am-2pm.

Bring your unwanted toys, games and books to swap for something new, or simply donate some of your older toys and books. Crazy how they grow out of them so fast, isn’t it? While me, I secretly still want to play with them, but I can’t, because they’d moan at me, call me “babyish,” and what’s worse; they’ll tell on me!

Books for adults are also welcome. Toys should be clean and undamaged please (a little bit of wear and tear is ok!) Please note that they cannot accept electrical mains powered items, battery powered toys are fine.

If you’ve nothing to swap, that’s okay too, everything is still free! And there will be refreshments from Fairtrade Devizes. What a wonderful thing for those feeling the pinch this Christmas; thank you Keith at St James, Sam and all at Sustainable Devizes.


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Tally-Ho for Boxing Day; Avon Vale Hunt Ride Again Admist Protests

Here we go again, Lacock’s Boxing Day incongruous pageant of corruption and barbarism plans to go ahead this year, despite protests, as The Avon Vale Hunt will gather in showy and shameless glory.….

Safe in the knowledge the single patrolling WPC, Laura Hughes was a member of the hunt, and it was suggested did little to remain impartial, last year’s Boxing Day fiasco turned nasty, with violent clashes between hunt supporters and protesters. The protesters intend to be in attendance again, for peaceful intent as always, but hoping for safety in numbers.

While you’d like to think Wiltshire Police have learned a lesson, and this year’s event will be more efficiently manned, no charges or disciplinary was deemed necessary for the officer in question, despite publicly stating “we do accept a potential conflict of interests should have been declared,” and claiming they were unaware of her association with the hunt. Well, they’re aware now, only time will tell.

We also hope Wiltshire PCC Phillip Wilkinson’s recent crackdown on rural crime strategies, which has seen recent arrests for hare coursing, will extend to hunting, but he has shown little respect for hunt protesters in the past, apparently calling anti-hunt individuals, “balaclava wearing thugs.” In similar logic as Nelson Mandela was a deemed terrorist, no doubt.

With Conservative MP James Gray accused of being in attendance last year, in support of the hunt, sonething he later denied although photographed there, it would seem there’s a clear aborehence of the Hunting Act within many powers that be, resulting in these clashes, which sadly takes costly lawsuits to justifiably resolve. Something avoidable with proactive policing, me thinks; or is that a tad too bleeding obvious?!

In April, three hunt supporters were convicted after pleading guilty to using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause unlawful violence.” In September though, the anti-hunt individuals were acquitted. Judge Dickens said, “ultimately, the evidence is pretty thin, wafer thin…While there is just about a case to answer, the evidence is wafer thin and it won’t get any better, and for those reasons I won’t be able to be sure they were not acting in self-defence.”

What is becoming clearer through this, is the wheels of the ‘trail hunting’ smokescreen are coming off, as the populous accept it’s a charade, and leaving hunters frustrated, and aggressive. I can understand this, they’ve taken their toys away, and in the name of tradition it would seem a shame, if the activity wasn’t a completely unnecessary bloodthirsty and barbaric activity which has been democratically deemed unwanted and unlawful in today’s society.

It now falls on town and parish councils, landowners and pub landlords to accept the majority’s appeal on this matter, and outright ban all hunting meets and activities on their land, regardless of these petty bogus claims of lawfulness, until such a time they can prove no acts of animal welfare have been breached. Which, and let’s be frank, they can’t, ergo they react in force of vengeance. For if they could, there would be no valid reason to behave with this thuggish mentality.

So, I cannot advise you attend, for your own safety, but the Boxing Day meet will start at 10am in Lacock, but doing so at your own risk will show support for the rising campaign against this, and, as I said, it is the responsibility of Wiltshire Police to ensure the event runs more smoothly this time. Here’s to a peaceful protest, then, and also to those risking themselves to protect our wildlife, not just on Boxing Day, but throughout the year.


Devizes Carnival Returning to Traditional Date

Something I’m personally impartial about, though DOCA’s carnival consultation flagged it as a major issue for many, the recent date changes of carnival is set to be returned to the original date.…..

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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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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