Category Archives: Events

SOMERSET ART WEEKS PROSPECT FESTIVAL AT WATCHET

Watchet will, once again, be a key destination during Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2017 (23 September to 8 October), the annual, county-wide art trail celebrating the visual arts. Three venues in the centre of Watchet are open daily and the town is a great base for exploring other West Somerset venues, clustered nearby around Crowcombe, Washford, Williton and Old Cleeve and westward to Minehead and Exmoor.

‘New Wave’, an exhibition curated by Toni Davey, at Contains Art’s gallery, on Watchet’s harbourside, promises to be a highlight of the festival. In a reunion of alumni from West Somerset College, the exhibition presents the work of more than 30 professional artists, designers and makers who are carving out successful careers in a range of creative fields, after beginning their education in the Arts at The West Somerset College. Work is linked through themes suggested by Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic woodcut print ‘The Great Wave’. A must-see for young people contemplating a career in the arts the show also invites reflection on the future of art education in England.

Alongside New Wave, Contains Art opens its studios, with work on view by resident artists Sue Lowe (printmaking), Georgina Towler (painting), Valerie Berry (ceramics and painting) and guests Cecilia Leete (jewellery) and Adam Grose (painting and print).

Just a short walk away, in Anchor Street, Watchet’s planned new Radio Museum is the venue for five more local artists: Jill Newton (illustration), Scarlet von Teazel (multimedia), Martyn Lintern (sculpture), Jenny Barron (painting) and Jan Martin (printmaker) present work exploring the world of broadcasting and communication under the exhibition title ‘Echoes … Currents…’.

All work is on sale at reasonable prices, but visitors are welcome to just browse and chat, finding out more about the artists working in and around the town.

Several events during the fortnight help to celebrate the creative festival:

Friday 22 September, 6 – 8pm, is the launch event for ‘New Wave’. All are welcome to come to Contains Art to meet artists taking part and enjoy a glass of wine and a relaxed look at the exciting work on display in the gallery and studios.

A community event on 23 September, 2-5pm, offers papermaking and paper-craft activities for children and families, plus music, food and drinks for all enjoy. This forms part of the ongoing heritage project, involving a number of Watchet organisations in celebrating the history of Wansbrough Paper Mill. The heritage exhibition, launched last week, continues on The Esplanade and in the Watchet Market House Museum throughout September.

Also on Saturday 23 September the artists at the Radio Museum have an evening opening, from 6pm. All welcome.

Sunday 1 October is Watchet’s regular, monthly Street Fair. There will be stalls on The Esplanade selling crafts, produce, food and snacks. Visitors are welcome to relax in Contains Art’s courtyard during the day.

On the evening of Tuesday 3 October, at 7.30pm, presentations and talks about the New Wave exhibition will offer further insights into the work on show, the artists represented and the case for the Arts in education. At Watchet Methodist Church Schoolrooms.

During the final weekend of the festival, 7-8 October, venues are encouraged to offer Family-Friendly activities. In Watchet a town trail guide, with questions and puzzles to solve, will be available on Saturday 7 October to take families on a treasure hunt walk around the town, encouraging curiosity about all the many things that artists do.

All in all there is something for everyone in Watchet during Somerset Art Weeks 2017.

Find out more: www.containsart.co.uk
Radio Museum: T: 07802 761993 W: www.jillnewton.co.uk

All three Watchet Art Weeks venues are open daily throughout the festival, 11am to 6pm.

School and group visits are welcome, please let Contains Art know in advance. An education pack for New Wave is available on request.

The Arts Weeks Festival Guide is available now at Contains Art and Watchet Visitor Centre or can be downloaded here.  somersetartworks.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SAW_GUIDE_2017-email.pdf

Pictured: ‘Identity’, digital print, Sarah Ward, New Wave at Contains Art Gallery

 

 

SOMERSET TO HOST BRITISH PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Champion ploughmen and women from all over Great Britain will be making their way to Somerset this autumn when the county will host this year’s British National Ploughing Championships & Country Festival.  This unique two-day event will take place on land at Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton, on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October.

The highlight of the country’s ploughing calendar, the event is one of the few agricultural shows which is held in a different part of Britain each year and the event is returning to Somerset courtesy of landowner Ken Coles and family who have provided over 200 acres of their prime arable farmland just north of the town of Taunton.

Around 250 ploughmen and women will take part, including past World and European champions.  At stake are the British National Ploughing Championship titles and the selection to represent England in World and European ploughing competitions next year, with one ultimate winner taking the title of Supreme Champion.

It’s not just about ploughing, though over the two days visitors will see competitions for many different styles, from the more modern reversible and conventional ploughing through to many types of vintage tractors and the graceful and magnificent horse ploughing of years gone by.  Alongside the competitions there will be demonstrations of giant steam engines, vintage and rural craft exhibits with the provisional themes ‘Welcome to Somerset’ and ‘Horse to Horse Power’, trade stands, shopping stalls and country crafts.

The Society of Ploughmen, who are organising the event, are expecting an exceptional crowd over the two days as the Championships always attract a varied mix of spectators – from farmers with a love of the land and agricultural machinery, vintage tractor enthusiasts, people with a love of horses, steam enthusiasts and those with a general interest in the countryside.  It also gives a unique opportunity for families to see how our farming heritage has changed over the past 300 years.

Chief Executive of the Society of Ploughmen, Sue Frith, said, “The interest and attention we have at the moment is fantastic after holding the World Ploughing Contest in England last year.   The support we have in the south-west of the country is especially good and clearly the decision to bring the Championships back to Somerset is a good one.”   She added, “You don’t have to be interested in ploughing as there will be something for everyone at the event, but it is wonderful to see what these highly skilled competitors can do.  It’s important we ensure these skills are kept alive as even with all the changes in agriculture, they still play an important part in the food chain as good ploughing will prepare the land well for better crops to be grown”.

There will be a wide selection of trade stands – from agricultural trade stands ranging from tractors and machinery to insurance through to the smaller shopping stalls with anything from countrywear to confectionery. Sponsorship opportunities are available for both market leaders and small companies with main sponsors this year being Bridgestone/Firestone and Bridgwater Agricultural Society.

Further information can be found on www.ploughmen.co.uk or from the Society of Ploughmen on  01302 852469 and you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

PHOTO taken at Bishops Lydeard for Exmoor Magazine by Andrew Hobbs

TEN PARISHES FESTIVAL

Wiveliscombe and surrounding villages will celebrate with creativity and performance as the 10 Parishes Festival returns this month.

The printed guide that features all participants is now available locally and once again features the talent of Bathealton artist, Aga Karmolinska. The surrealist style of the guide continues and this year’s cover highlights a major theme of the festival, the B3227 road that stretches from west of Taunton through many local parishes.

Over 70 artists participate in this visual and performing arts spectacle which was founded in 2003. Nynehead Court will again host a joint exhibition in the Orangery which has been a popular venue in the past. One artist at Nynehead will be Yvonne Whittamore, who creates her artwork using dyed silk, yarn, moss and woodland floor discards.

In addition to the wide range of artist exhibitions, there are a number of performances for which tickets are already on sale.

Wellington-based JW3 (The John Walker Band) present ‘Stars and Stripes’, at the Victoria Rooms, Milverton on Saturday 9 September.

Taunton Thespians return with a sample of Shakespearean pieces, presented in a rehearsed reading at Cotleigh Brewery also on the first day of the festival, Saturday 9 September, and repeated at St Luke’s Church in Langley Marsh on Sunday 17th, the final day.

The remote and picturesque St Michael’s Church in Raddington features with the Clayhanger String Quartet and soprano Alison Routh performing by candlelight on Saturday 16th.

The Soldier’s Tale is a renowned drama written in WW1 with music by Igor Stravinsky & Libretto by Charles Ferdinand Ramuz. This will be performed at Wellhayes Vineyard, Clayhanger on Saturday 9th.

The House of F returns with another exceptional creative exhibition and workshops. Visitors can expect Feral Forest Fairies in Magical La La Land at Kenley near Waterrow.

The Ashbrittle Big Sing with Yvette Staelens in the village hall gives the chance for all family members to join in, also on Sat 9th.

A new event this time is the Photomarathon which is a funny, exciting and creative photography competition with a twist, a bit of a challenge: participants have to take 8 photos of 8 topics in the correct order over an 8-hour period.

After the Photomarathon, all the images are collated and printed, before a panel of judges meet to decide the winners. All the photos then go on show in a free public exhibition.

The Photomarathon will take place on Sunday 10th September, the day of the street market and carnival procession. The Exhibition will take place on 16-17th September at the Community Centre (West Street).

The theme for this year’s carnival procession is ‘Go Wild – Back to the Jungle!’ and organisers are once again expecting much interaction in this community spectacle.

For more information and booking for the many festival events visit www.10parishesfestival.org.uk

DRAMA AT VALLEY OF ROCKS

“I always thought it was an otherworldly and magical location, a place where imagination meets reality, and I can think of nowhere more fitting to perform in,” enthuses the Creative Director of the Pleasure Dome Theatre Company, Helena Payne, who is putting on a series of theatrical outdoor performances at the iconic Valley of Rocks on Exmoor this summer.

The Importance of Being Earnest is being staged from 8 – 26 August and Lorna Doone from 29 August – 2 September. Lorna Doone was an obvious choice; a local story woven into the very fabric of the Exmoor landscape. The Importance of Being Earnest is perhaps less so. However, Helena liked the idea of trying something completely different. “The play is a parlour farce where the characters engage in glittering witticisms and immaculate manners, so why not stick them on a cliff edge, amongst the goats and buffeted by the elements to see how they cope? By making bold decisions, we force ourselves to be more creative. We are looking forward to staging both plays enormously.”

The Pleasure Dome Theatre Company is a young, professional collective keen to bring accessible, open-air entertainment to both the local community and the many holidaymakers visiting Exmoor. The company also provides outreach programmes and offers local opportunities to work within a professional company to aspiring youngsters and enthusiastic older members of the locale alike.

Helena spent her childhood summers scrabbling up and down the Valley of Rocks, creating plays and dreaming of pirates and fairies, so when it came to finding an outdoor location in which to perform, there was no contest.

Jennette Baxter, Development Manager for Visit Exmoor, welcomes the productions. “We are delighted the company has chosen Valley of Rocks as its setting this summer. The dramatic productions combined with the sheer theatricality of the landscape is a real draw for visitors and local alike.”

Tickets cost £15 per adult, £10 for under 16s and over 65s and £45 for a Family Ticket. Shows start at 7.30pm (or 3.00 pm for the matinees) but visitors are free to arrive at any time to explore valley or enjoy a picnic in the sunshine. A percentage of every ticket sold goes towards CareMoor www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor  for Exmoor.

People can book tickets online by going to the PDTC home page www.pleasuredometheatrecompany.com and click on the links (easy to see) – they can download the tickets to their smartphone or print them off. Alternatively, if they prefer to pay by cash, they can pop in to one of the National Park Centres where their tickets can be booked through the online system.

Please note: It can get chilly in the evening, so bring warm clothing, blankets and cushions.

If rain is due, the production will be moved to Lynton Town Hall www.visitlyntonandlynmouth.com/about/lynton-town-hall (updates will be available on the Pleasure Dome Theatre Facebook page www.facebook.com/Pleasure-Dome-Theatre-Company-1715218008763869/).
More info: www.pleasuredometheatrecompany.com

PHOTO: Valley of Rocks by Mike Watson, from our autumn 2014 walking feature.

SUMMER OF ADVENTURE AT RHS ROSEMOOR

The Famous Five is the inspiration for a ‘Summer of Adventure’ at RHS Garden Rosemoor

  • Garden adventure trails celebrate 75th anniversary of first book
  • Mass picnic on 11 August for Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday
  • Famous Five stories continue to inspire love of being outdoors

2017 marks 75 years since the first book was published in Enid Blyton’s best-loved series The Famous Five. To celebrate the occasion the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has teamed up with Enid Blyton Entertainment and Hodder Children’s Books to offer a range of exciting events and activities across the four RHS Gardens this summer.

At RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, there will be a lively program of events and activities inspired by The Famous Five’s values – friendship, heroism, adventure, outdoors and daring. There are ‘Five Go on a Garden Adventure’ trails, and a delightful exhibition of Enid Blyton memorabilia, drop-in family craft workshops every weekday and Rosemoor is holding a mass picnic party on 11 August to celebrate Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday.

For children across the generations, Enid Blyton has inspired a love for flowers, plants, gardens and the outdoors through her descriptive powers, and particularly through the adventures of her five famous characters, Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog. From camping on hillsides to exploring streams, from enjoying tasty picnics to discovering caves, many of The Famous Five’s adventures are firmly rooted in the great outdoors.

Enid had an abiding love and deep knowledge of flora and fauna. She wrote to friends of her pleasure at creating her first garden at Elfin Cottage, Beckenham, which included a wild, raised garden in one corner, shrubs and beds of old-fashioned flowers such as lupins, pansies, hollyhocks and roses, an area for fruit and vegetables and a round pond for waterlilies. Inspired by this, lovely descriptions of trees, flowers and birdsong occur even in the midst of her 21 The Famous Five adventures.

It was only at the start of the 1950s that publishers Hodder & Stoughton first used the term The Famous Five and, within a year or two, they had sold more than six million copies. Enid Blyton had only planned to write a handful, but sales were so strong that she went on to pen 21 Famous Five novels, with more than two million copies continuing to sell each year.

The RHS’s Liz Thwaite, said: “People’s love of gardens and gardening often starts when they are children – running, laughing and playing in them, exploring winding paths, going for country walks and discovering the wonders of plants and wildlife. We hope that this summer will create many new happy memories for children, inspired by our gardens and Enid Blyton’s wonderful adventure books.”

The adventure trail at Rosemoor will encourage children to help The Famous Five find Uncle Quentin, who has gone missing on a horticultural research mission. In addition to the trail, exhibition and craft activities there is a whole raft of other events taking place throughout the Summer Holidays.

For details of The Famous Five events and a host of other forthcoming dates for your diary at Rosemoor, see the website.

PORLOCK HORSE SHOW

This coming Sunday – 30 July – is the lovely Porlock Horse Show, so it seems like a good moment to re-run a story by Tony James from our summer 2016 magazine, all about the Tuckers at West Luccombe Farm and this time-honoured event. We hasten to add that, as it stands, the forecast for the 2017 show (see poster, below) is looking promising!… (Photo above shows Charmain, John and Edith in the kitchen at West Luccombe Farm, by Andrew Hobbs).

“When I looked out of the window and saw the weather, I just couldn’t believe it,” says Charmain Dascombe (née Tucker).  She
shudders at the memory.  “We’d never had anything like it. All those poor people… “.

As it proved, it would take more than appalling weather to wash out the biggest event in the West Luccombe calendar – the traditional Porlock Horse Show, which for the past 40 years has been held on one of Charmain’s dad’s fields, and which, in July 2013, blithely carried on as usual, despite unseasonable cold, torrential rain and gale-force winds.

For Charmain, secretary since 2000, it was the culmination of nearly six months’ work and not a few sleepless nights putting together a show which has more than doubled in size since the time four local farmers sat around a kitchen table in 1971 to think of a way of raising money for local good causes.  Since then, the show has only been cancelled a few times, including once during the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak.

“We lost the sheep classes because of foot-and-mouth and we had to fight quite hard to bring them back,” Charmain remembers. “Now they’re stronger than ever, which is as it should be, because sheep are very important around here.”

Photo by Andrew Hobbs from the 2015 show.

The show, like most things in this neck of the woods, has hardly changed in conception over the years – a classic country event with horse and pony classes, a traditional gymkhana, a parade of hounds, Exmoor Horn sheep classes, competitions for stags’ antlers and a dog show with prizes for the scruffiest ‘Doodle’ and the waggiest tail.

But make no mistake, this is a serious show, impeccably organised, with top-class competitors and stock and, while some similar rural events may have languished for lack of interest, the West Luccombe show has flourished.  It now has four rings instead of the original two and the dog show has grown to the point where it has its own field.

Charmain has no doubt about the secret of its longevity.  “The main aim is to have a really good family atmosphere and for children to have a nice day and to come away with a rosette. That’s the whole point of it really.”

Porlock Horse Show, 1981. Mrs Edith Tucker presenting the cup to Brian Palmer with Victor Stevens in the background, Tom Rook in the trailer and Mrs Lorna Robins standing on the ramp.

She’s been involved with the show since childhood and her father, John Tucker, has been chairman for the past 25 years.  Does he enjoy it?  The reply is a cautious, “I don’t know if ‘enjoy’ is the right word.”  But Andrew Hobbs and I saw him out there in last year’s wind and rain and he had a smile for everybody.  John’s mother Edith, 95 at the time of writing this article, always played an active part in the show and Charmain has this photo of her presenting prizes in 1981.

Not surprisingly, the show becomes the main topic of conversation over mugs of tea in the kitchen of John’s West Luccombe Farm,
a welly’s throw from the show field.  It first moved there in 1976 after five years in Old Lane, Bossington, and has been in West
Luccombe ever since.

“The access to Old Lane was difficult and so my father offered a field here,” John recalls.  “The problem was that the show was always on the last Sunday in July – it still is – and my father disagreed with that.  He was very traditional that way, but eventually we managed to persuade him.

“The show wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the dozens of local helpers who come every year. Last year was probably the worst conditions we’ve ever had but they still turned up to make the sandwiches, steward the events and put up the jumps.  The lovely thing is that
we’re now getting the grandchildren of the original helpers. That must bode well for the future.

“We don’t like meetings so we usually only have two a year – one in January about general organisation and the other to decide who will get our money!  I have to admit that Charmain is left with most of the work and that can be pretty stressful, but she does a great job.”

“I never thought I’d hear you say that,” says his daughter with a smile.

The show generates around £2,000 a year for Porlock causes, which have included the cricket and football clubs, recreation ground, the
Visitor Centre, village hall, Christmas pantomime and plants for summer flower schemes.

You’ve got to tread carefully in this tight-knit little world… Charmain’s husband, David Dascombe, is a cousin of Julian Dascombe at Burrowhayes, who got his ten-acre field from John Tucker’s father… Janet Harding, of Horner Vale Tearoom, was last year’s show president and her husband Mike is the treasurer…

Not surprisingly, West Luccombe Farm, with its massive stone barns and impressive buildings, dominates this tiny hamlet.  John Tucker has leased it from the National Trust since he was 29, after a Hardyesque turn of events combining good fortune and sadness with risk and challenge.

Since 1940, John’s father had farmed sheep on the family’s 700 acres at Lucott, high on the moor above Nutscale Water, and he was also the tenant farmer of 350 acres at West Luccombe.  John took over Lucott when his dad moved down the valley to West Luccombe in 1963.  “Then, after my father died in 1979, I approached the National Trust to take over the tenancy at West Luccombe.

“The agent asked if I would take on the ground at West Lynch as well, because the tenant, Tom Rawle, was retiring.  That meant that our National Trust acreage would double overnight – from the 150 acres at West Luccombe to a total of 300, with West Lynch.  And this was on top of the 700 acres at Lucott.  I decided to go for it.  You do these things when you’re young!”

Now responsible for 1,000 acres, John had to move fast.  “I didn’t have enough stock for the land so I started growing corn, which I had never done before. We grew as good malting barley as you could get anywhere in the country and were getting £160 a ton –
more than you can get now.

“The problem was that because the ground was so stony you could only get about two tons an acre, when it was reckoned you needed double that to make a living.  So we gave up and went back to sheep.

“I confess I got a lot more pleasure from that,” says the man who’s now a nationally-recognised judge of Exmoor Horns and whose son Dick, now running the Lucott farm, was judging sheep at the last Porlock Horse Show.

John reckons that Lucott land, much of it at 1,500ft, is ideal for his 1,300-strong flock.  It’s cooler in summer and there are fewer
flies.  “Exmoor Horns will live off very sparse vegetation and, if you cross them with a Leicester Bluefaced ram to get an Exmoor Mule, they’ll compete with any North Country breed and are easier to handle than Exmoor Horns.”

Life could be tough on the Dunkery slopes but it had its compensations.  “When I was living up at Lucott during the winter of 1962-3 the snow was so bad I didn’t go to school from Christmas to Easter,” John says.  “It was great.  The snow was higher than the hedges and I rode my pony over the tops of gates.  They brought us hay with a helicopter and I walked on the ice across Nutscale Water.”

But on this warm evening, winter seems an unreal memory.  This year’s show is approaching fast and there’s still lots to do before Charmain, John and their band of helpers can be pretty certain that, come rain or shine, it will once more be a day to remember.

See you there!

A meeter and greeter in the yard at West Luccombe Farm when we visited to interview the family. Photo by Andrew Hobbs.

VINTAGE WEEKEND AT RHS ROSEMOOR

RHS Garden Rosemoor goes back in time during the weekend 22 – 23 July with two days packed with all things retro, vintage and antique.

Visitors to the stunning 65-acre gardens in Devon, with its formal gardens, woodland walks, stream and lake, walled fruit and vegetable garden, and fully licensed restaurant, will also be in for a real treat with a display of vintage vehicles, motorbikes from North Devon British Motorcycle Owners Club and vintage caravans.

New for 2017, Rosemoor will have a World War II re-enactment from the 4th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry including: Queen Alexander nursing, an air raid precaution, The Land Army, The Home Guard, The Auxillary Territorial Service and paratroopers. Continuing the 1940s theme on Saturday afternoon, there is a special guest Sandy Sparkle from Torquay doing a series of 30-minute sets of typical songs from the era.

The Vintage Horticultural & Garden Machinery Club will once again have a presence. This national organisation with over 900 members was formed to promote an active interest in the preservation, exhibiting and operation of vintage equipment used in horticulture, allotment keeping and home gardening. Some of their vintage farm and horticultural equipment will be shown operating during the weekend.

In addition, in the new Garden Room, Rosemoor’s permanent events building, there will be an Antique and Collectors Fair, organised by Devon County Antiques Fairs with stalls and sellers from across the South West featuring an eclectic selection of quality antiques and collectables of all sorts – vintage fabrics, ceramics, furniture and perfume bottles as well as silver and glass.

For more information on events at RHS Garden Rosemoor visit www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor or telephone 01805 624067.

Normal garden admission applies (free for RHS members)

GALLERY4ART AT HALSWAY MANOR

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, is proud to present a week of Art inspired by the Somerset countryside in its house and grounds this August. The Somerset group of professional artists, Gallery4Art, will be showcasing their contemporary artworks in a colourful exhibition from Monday 7  to Friday 11 August. Entry will be free to view the work and paintings, and prints and sculpture will be available to buy at affordable prices.

“Gallery4Art never fail to put on a dazzling array of interesting art – we just wish we could take it all home with us.”  Visitor to G4A’s 2016 Halsway exhibition.

Running alongside the exhibition will be a day of workshops so you can try your hand at techniques used by the artists. On Tuesday 8 August you can choose from experimental screen printing with Jim Munnion, textiles with Sarah Meikle, wire and mixed media sculpture with Mel Deegan, wildlife willow sculpture with Sophie Courtiour or whimsical watercolour painting with Alison Jacobs.

The workshops cost £65 per person and this includes materials. No previous experience is required, and full support and advice will be given by the artists who are all experienced tutors. For more information and details on how to book go online to halswaymanor.org.uk/event/summer-exhibition-of-contemporary-art/

To book on workshops or activities please phone Halsway Manor (this is recommended as places fill fast) on 01984 618274


FAUSTUS AT HALSWAY MANOR

Catch Faustus, the pioneering, “bloke folk” triumvirate  of Benji Kirkpatrick, Paul Sartin & Saul Rose as they return to Halsway Manor for a live gig on Thursday 6 July at 8pm.

Previously nominated for the Best Group Award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and Artist In Residence at Halsway Manor Centre for Folk Arts across 2016 supported by funding from Arts Council England, Faustus brings to the stage three of the leading lights of their generation: Saul Rose (Waterson:Carthy, Whapweazel, War Horse), Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast). They have a plethora of experience between them, brought together here in a virtuosic display of musicianship and testosterone representing the best in the current vibrant English folk scene.

Faustus released their acclaimed third album, ‘Death and Other Animals’, in October 2016, tackling head-on subjects from the Dance of Death to the plight of the common man, sand-swallowed ships to mythical black dogs. The album has huge local resonance as it was researched, rehearsed and recorded at Halsway Manor on the Quantock Hills, during Faustus’ time as Artists in Residence. Beastly good” said Folking.com, “Modern day folk Buccaneers… so blindingly dazzling you’ll need to don a pair of RayBans before listening,” said LouderThanWar.com.

Faustus are leading a course ‘From Page to Performance’ halswaymanor.org.uk/event/faustus-from-page-to-performance/  at Halsway in the run-up to the gig, and the evening will open with performances by participants, before the mighty Faustus take to the stage!

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a Charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills Halsway Manor provides a year-round programme of events and activities in traditional folk music, dance, song, storytelling, folklore and related arts and crafts. There’s ample free parking onsite, a bar and – of course – beautiful atmospheric settings for concerts with wonderful acoustics, and a chance to catch-up with the artists over a drink afterwards!

Tickets for ‘Faustus’ are priced at £10, with a concessionary price of £4 for children and full time students of any age. Call 01984 618274 (option 1), email office@halswaymanor.org.uk or buy securely online www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

BOOKINGS NOW OPEN FOR THE TENTH NORTH DEVON FOODFEST

North Devon’s biggest celebration of local food and drink is back and exhibitors are being urged to get in quick to secure their place at the event.

Online bookings are now being accepted for Foodfest 2017, which takes place on Sunday 22 October at Barnstaple Pannier Market and will feature over 100 local food and drink exhibitors.

Now in its tenth year, event organisers Barnstaple Town Centre Management and North Devon Council have seen the event increase in popularity and success since it first launched in 2008. With over 10,000 visitors, 100 exhibitors and top chefs from some of North Devon’s best local restaurants at Foodfest last year, the annual event is now a firm favourite in the foodie calendar.

Hannah Harrington from Barnstaple Town Centre Management, says: “This year’s event will be as busy and popular as ever, showcasing and celebrating the best of our local food and drink and will, as it always does, helping promote our area and support our suppliers, growers and traders.”

Executive Member for economic development, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “Foodfest is always a massive boost for the town’s economy, with thousands of visitors enjoying some of the best food and drink our wonderful district has to offer. Foodfest is a great opportunity for local food producers to showcase their business with a guaranteed audience of about 10,000 – get your applications in quick!”

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 1 August. Apply online at www.barnstaple.co.uk/north-devon-foodfest, email foodfest@barnstaple.co.uk or call 01271 321049 for more information.