The annual event gets off to an energetic start on June 19 with a tribute to Michael Jackson.
It is swiftly followed by the two day international Streetfest, on June 20 and 21, the ‘festival within a festival’ that attracts street performers from all over the world.
Among an exceptional group of performers is Wet Picnic with The Lift, a theatrical experience that envelops its audience, creating a surreal experience you won’t forget.
The Grand Theatre of Lemmings will be presenting King Kong from The Smallest Theatre in the World, which is a two-seater motorcycle sidecar, and Miss Behave aka Amy Saunders is a sword swallower who has been described as a live cartoon with a late night attitude.
The main festival has a wide range of performances, which includes a lineup of well-known broadcasters, including the historian Lucy Worsley who looks at the British fascination with murder. For lovers of local history there is a talk on the Staffordshire Hoard and a chance to learn about the work and legacy of Derbyshire sculptor, Ronald Pope.
The popular comedy night on July 3 has another crowd-pleasing line-up including the brilliant Garry Delaney, a regular on Mock the Week and ‘The Chaser’ Paul Sinha.
For classical music lovers the international chamber ensemble Fiori Musicali will be playing a programme including work by J S Bach, Vivaldi and Corelli in St Oswald’s Church.
At the other end of the music spectrum is not a concert but a fascinating insight into one of the most influential British musicians of the late 1960s, Nick Drake. Strange Face tells the story of reactions to the discovery of unpublished recordings by the singer songwriter.
A must see drama is Jeffrey Holland’s tribute to Stan Laurel. My Friend Mr Laurel is an intriguing, funny and often poignant tale.
Poetry is prominent at the festival and the edgy performance poet, John Berkavitch, will lead a workshop and the Poetry in the Garden event.
There is also the annual Summer Exhibition of work by both invited professional and selected amateur artists from Derbyshire. The exhibition will be enhanced by a competition for the best and most popular art work, supported by St John Street Gallery. This year there is also a month long residency by the sculptor Rachel Carter who will be developing new work in a temporary studio during June.
The whole festival will end with the free Picnic in the Park, which will feature the music of steel band Pannissimo.
n Full details of dates and tickets are on http://www.ashbournefestival.org