Ashbourne Festival starts tomorrow

As always the Ashbourne Festival will be bringing big names and award-winning performers to Derbyshire this month.

Among them are poet Roger McGough, actor Ruth Madoc Saturday Live’s The Rev Richard Coles and the UK’s top swing band The Jive Aces. Not only that but there will also be two brilliant days of Streetfest fun with a host of daring and silly street entertainers and the much loved comedy night.

Community groups also play a big part in the annual festival and this year will be no different  with young musician and poet competitions, the Summer Art Exhibition, a half marathon and the Picnic in the Park.

The festival from June 17-July 3 kicks off with the Who’s Next tribute band on the Friday evening which is a must for any lover of rock music.

To keep the momentum going the International Streetfest with its new artisan market will start at 11.30am the next day. You will be able to see the cheeky brand of magic dished up by Paul Dabek and the hilarious mime act of Kate Mior who creates visually stunning moving living art.

Dr Philistine who is a regular performer in Covent Garden, will be showing off his slackrope walking and juggling and those of you who saw the lovable nerd Shirlee Sunflower at a previous festival will be delighted to know she is back this time as Kiki Bittovabitsch (pictured above) with a show which reviewers have said is ‘bitchin’ brilliant’.

The Wardens are one act that Ashbourne invites back time and again by popular demand and so as not to disappoint they will be in town again this year. If you have never had the pleasure then watch them in action in the video below.

Ruth Madoc who was adored by millions as Gladys Pugh in Hi-De-Hi is being joined by actor Leo Aylen on June 26 for The Trouble with Women is Men – a show of humour anecdote and poetry in a series of plays which turn the man-woman cliches upside down.

Playing Maggie with Pip Utton is one show which comes highly recommended as Pip was winner of The Stage Award for Acting Excellence 2015 and the Edinburgh Fringe Review Award for Outstanding Theatre.

Pip gives us an audience with Margaret Thatcher during which you can listen to her philosophies, her inspiration and logic and then take the chance to question her.

Pip is a Fringe legend and is known for his spellbinding portrayals of Churchill, Dickens, Chaplin, Hancock and many others. Maggie is probably his greatest challenge yet and you can see him in action on June 29.

In a unique double bill Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe promise an evening of poetry and music.

Hilarious and surreal, McGough is a poet of many voices. Menace and melancholy there may be, but with plenty of McGough’s characteristic wit and wordplay too. His latest book It Never Rains is a collection of new verses with drawings by the author.

Formed in 2009 the music and poetry band appearing with him set classic poems to music and perform them with energy, passion and humour. You don’t have to know too much about poetry to enjoy this and if you love poetry you will definitely love it.

For tickets and details go to http://www.ashbournefestival.org