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Five things to do this bank holiday weekend (May 03-05)

18:24 01 May 2014

The Cheltenham Jazz Festival returns for its 18th year

The Cheltenham Jazz Festival returns for its 18th year


Festival special: Not sure what to do this weekend? Here are five festival recommendations from us

Work by Harrison & Wood will be featured at the Stroud SITE FestivalWork by Harrison & Wood will be featured at the Stroud SITE Festival

This year on April 14 the Sun, Moon, Earth and Mars participated in a rare celestial alignment.

This May bank holiday, the festival bodies seem to be in alignment too, with plenty of celebration taking place across the rolling hills and urban centres of the Cotswolds.

Here are five festival suggestions to make this weekend something to remember. In no particular order...

Fancy a celebration of jazz?

• The Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2014, Cheltenham

April 25 – May 5

Regular performer and stalwart Jamie Cullum described The Cheltenham Jazz Festival as one of the best jazz festivals in the world, and this week sees it return to the spa town for its 18th year.

The festival is hosted in a tented village in Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gardens, featuring a Big Top stage, the Jazz Arena, and a food, drink and market area. There is also a fringe festival taking place in various venues across Cheltenham.

Big names performing this year include Laura Mvula, Frank Sinatra Jnr, Gregory Porter, Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, DJ Gilles Peterson and the aforementioned Jamie Cullum, plus many more.

For details and tickets, visit:

Fancy a celebration of canal culture?

• The Wye Valley River Festival, Herefordshire

May 3 - 18

This weekend is the start of the Wye Valley River Festival, a celebration of the river, the land and the community that dwells upon it in Herefordshire.

The festival follows the story of Ratty the Water Vole, who is being pursued by predatory Prosecutor Mink and Judge Wild Boar. The narrative, with artistic direction from leading outdoor arts company Desperate Men, starts at the Hereford River Carnival on May 3 and the twists and turns of the chase unfold in community and arts events along the river.

Wye Valley AONB Officer Andrew Blake said: “This unique festival will enable people to experience landscape conservation as never before as art dares to pose questions of environmental concern. Walks, talks, debates and an imaginative collaboration of artists, communities and conservation experts will enable everyone to enjoy the spectacular Wye Valley and lend their voice to the conversation about the future of this precious countryside.”

For more details, visit:

Fancy a celebration of literature?

• Stratford Literary Festival, Stratford-upon-Avon

April 26 - May 4

The annual literary festival returned to Stratford-upon-Avon for its seventh year last Saturday, with the usual line-up of nationally renowned guest speakers, performances and interactive courses, all focusing on the celebration of the written word.

This year features events honouring Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, as well as talks by Alan Johnson MP, Baroness Shirley Williams, Chris Beardshaw, Kirsty Wark, Ray Davies and Tim Brooke-Taylor.

Whether you prefer fact or fiction, e-readers or the traditional paper-and-ink, Stratford’s literary festival will probably have something worth your while.

For more information, visit:

Fancy a town-wide celebration of a patron saint?

• St Richard’s Boat and Car Festival, Droitwich Spa

May 3 - 5

This will mark the 7th year of the St Richard’s Boat and Car Festival in Droitwich Spa. The festival celebrates the life of St Richard, the Spa’s patron saint, who – legend has it – made the town’s brine wells flow again in the Middle Ages. It offers attractions to suit all ages ranging from medieval re-enactment and entertainment to classic and vintage cars and boat trips on the Droitwich Canal.

This year’s event will be joined by a Boating Festival in Vines Park meaning it will take place over 3 days offering more attractions.

For more information, visit:

Fancy appreciating some art?

• Stroud SITE Festival, Stroud

May 1 - 5

The SITE Festival is a contemporary arts festival, now in its 18th year, featuring a programme of visual arts, performance, music, screenings, open studios, artist talks and workshops for the whole month of May.

The festival opens with an exhibition of new work by John Wood and Paul Harrison in the Brunel Goods Shed and in SVA’s new exhibition space in John Street. This show will include 7 new video works linked by a sense of foreboding and violence, undercut by a lack of spectacle and drama. The show will also include over 50 small drawings.

For more information, visit:


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