Rev Richard Coles headlines at Ashbourne Festival

The Reverend Richard Coles is one of the headline acts of this year’s Ashbourne Festival.

He is one of the few celebrities to have successfully bridged the gap between the charts and the church, but whatever the medium, the message he broadcasts is essentially witty, thought-provoking and always interesting.

A multi-instrumentalist who partnered Jimmy Somerville in the 1980s band The Communards – achieving three Top Ten hits, including the biggest selling hit of 1986 Don’t Leave Me This Way – Richard subsequently left the pop world to train for a priesthood in the Church of England, becoming what can only be described as a thoroughly modern vicar. He is currently a parish priest in Finedon, Northamptonshire.

Richard frequently appears on radio and television, as well as writing for newspapers.

He is probably best known as the regular host of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live programme, and also appears regularly on Newsnight and TV shows such as QI and Have I Got News For You, where his quick and inventive verbal humour is always to the fore.

He has also written four books, two about the Improbable Saints; his autobiography Fathomless Riches: or How I Went from Pop to Pulpit and the recently released Into the Harvest which continues where Fathomless left off, with his ordination in 2005 and the story of his continuing media career.

He is appearing in St John’s Church, Buxton Hill, Ashbourne at 7.30 on 21 June.  Tickets are £15.

The 2016 Ashbourne Festival runs from June 17 to July 3 in venues within Ashbourne.

Full details and online ticketing are available from

n The festival of street theatre Streetfest, is on the weekend of June 18 and 19 in the centre of Ashbourne. There will be more information in next month’s artsbeat.