Friday, 1 September 2017

S-E-P-T-E-M-B-E-R in Newbury!

Give me an S! Give me an E! You know how the rest goes, but what Newbury has on offer this month is definitely worth shouting about.

S hopping
S is for shopping, and you certainly won’t be disappointed in Newbury. As you wander through the town centre you will uncover an exciting and eclectic mix of retailers, from the big names we all like visiting, to the quirky and independent shops which help make this lovely market town so unique. Parkway Shopping is a popular choice for those top brands such as; H&M, Superdry, Fatface and Top Shop - to name just four! Or step out onto the high street and discover that eclectic mix as you stroll along Northbrook Street and onto Bartholomew Street. Don’t forget to look out for Cheap Street, the historic Market Place, the highly individual Inches Yard and the tucked-away Weaver’s Walk! Fancy making some purchases undercover? Meander on to the Kennet Centre where you can indulge in retail therapy whilst being tempted by Newbury’s Vue cinema. Whilst on the topic of shopping, could it be time to style-up your wardrobe for Autumn?

E at and Drink
E is for eating and drinking and you will never go hungry or thirsty in Newbury with its wide choice of cafes, restaurants and pubs to suit all tastes and pockets. All areas of the town centre have something special to offer – whether you wish to eat in or take-away, enjoy coffee and a slice of cake to a luxurious afternoon tea, have a simple but fantastic sandwich or burger, something a little more fancy, some really good pub grub, or something more exotic with Indian, Chinese or Thai, and who doesn’t love Italian? The options are endless! Try the Flowerpot Café in Inches Yard, Weaver’s Coffee Shop in Weaver’s Walk or Panousha Baguettes in The Arcade. On top of all this don’t miss, the fantastic gastropub The Newbury in Bartholomew Street; an authentic Thai restaurant – The Art of Siam – in Northbrook Street; the 7Bone Burger Co on Bridge Street; and Bill’s, Cote Brasserie, Strada and Café Rouge – all the above come highly recommended, but still just the tip of the iceburg on what you can find in Newbury!

P addington Bear
P is for Paddington Bear and this marmalade-sandwich loving cuddly character may have first arrived from Peru at the London railway station of the same name but it is Newbury that he will be visiting on Saturday 30 September. Meet him in the Kennet Centre at 11am, 12noon, 1.30pm. 2.30pm and 3.30pm.

T he Royal County of Berkshire Show
T is for The Royal County of Berkshire Show – one of the most popular agricultural shows in the land. This year’s show takes place over the weekend of 16–17 September, 8am–6pm on both days. This is truly a festival of farming, food and fun, with a spectacular line-up of attractions and ‘have-a-go’ activities for all the family to enjoy. As well as livestock and exciting shows in the main arena, there are over 600 food, craft and shopping stands offering all sorts of things that you won’t find on the high street.

E njoy Dubai Duty Free International Weekend
E is for enjoy, and something special to enjoy this autumn is a day at Newbury Racecourse. The Dubai Duty Free International weekend on 22/23 September begins with quality flat racing early on Friday afternoon and climaxes late afternoon on the Saturday. It’s also a great opportunity to try out this award-winning racecourse’s wonderful catering, and maybe stay at the lovely on site hotel, The Lodge.

M arket – Artisan Market!
M is for markets and Newbury has several, including the very exciting Artisan Market, held on the last Sunday of the month, March– November, which this month happens on Sunday 24 September, 10am–4pm. Taking place in the town centre, this is a wonderful place to bring the family and spend time browsing the stalls of independent designer-makers, original arts and crafts, and the wares of local food producers, as well as enjoying super sizzling street food. Grab a coffee, listen to live music and let the children enjoy the activities in Kids’ Corner. Look out this month for Vintage Corner, new for September and dedicated to vintage and antique traders.

B oat Trips on the Narrowboat Jubilee
B is for boat trips and a trip along the Kennet and Avon Canal on the narrowboat Jubilee is a wonderful experience. Trips are available on three weekends this month – 2 and 3, 9 and 10, 16 and 17 September at 12 noon and 2pm, setting off from Newbury Wharf in the centre of town. Book in advance – click here for details.

E xperience Newbury Heritage Open Days 
E is for experience as you step back in time at Newbury Museum.  Explore a normally closed off part of the museum, the attic of the Cloth Hall, or pick up a specially designed trail – one available for adults and another for children – based around the historic buildings that house the museum: the Cloth Hall and Corn Stores.

R eal Ale Festival
R is for real ale and in particular Newbury’s Real Ale Festival. This popular annual event takes place at Northcroft Fields on Saturday 9 September, 12 noon until 11pm, just a short walk from the town centre. As well as wonderful ales and ciders, there is always top live music with an even more exciting and diverse line-up than ever before planned for 2017. Whilst on the topic of real ale, ciders and all beers crafty, why not pop into the town centre for a pre festival beverage at the renowned micro brewery, the Cow and Cast or the gin-tastic Catherine Wheel, where you can find almost one hundred gins to choose from? From all at Visit Newbury, have an ‘ale of a time!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Celebrate the Summer Holidays in Newbury

There is so much happening throughout the school summer holidays in Newbury, there is no way anyone can ever say, ‘I’m bored!’

Special events this month include:

Jungle Friends @ Kennet Centre
Friday 4 August
Head to the Kennet Centre and join in with their jungle fever! Monkey around with the animals on show in this interactive, educational, jungle-themed display, 11.30am–3.30pm.

Stories at the Museum
Saturday 5 August
Brought to you by the Corn Exchange Newbury and taking place at West Berkshire Museum at 11am, this is a 30-minute fun session for families with children aged under 7. Sitting on beanbags and cushions, enjoy this interactive session featuring stories themed around a museum object, with songs and rhymes for everyone to join in. The session ends with a group game and the opportunity to explore the museum's exhibitions afterwards to make it a full morning of family fun. Just £3 (children and adults). Book via the Corn Exchange Box Office in advance (cornexchangenew.com; 0845 5218 218).

ChalkFest 2017 in Market Place
Friday 11 August
For the third year running, City Arts Newbury brings to Newbury Market Place this brilliant opportunity to get creative with chalk – and it’s free (even the chalk!). The event takes place 10am–4pm and you are advised to bring a sunshade, lots of water, something to sit on … and be prepared to get messy! There will also be a competition which is £1 to enter (three categories – under 12s, teens 13+, adults) with money raised going to the City Arts Charity. On site too on the day will be independent traders Sunny Faces face painting, plus Lusso Ice Cream, Sweet Treats, and Sweets and More, so plenty of yummy goodies to buy.

Crossing Lines Project in Goldwell Park
Saturday 12 August
Goldwell Park is the location for this fantastic show brought to you by the Corn Exchange Newbury as part of their 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space project. Action theatre PAN.OPTIKUM, one of Europe’s most spectacular outdoor performance companies, join together with more than 30 young people from nine European countries to make a performance of giant proportions that combines dance, rap, performance, video projection and a huge set. It starts at 9.30pm and there is no need to book as this event is completely free.

Floating Market at The Wharf
Saturday 26–Monday 28 August
Newbury’s very first Floating Market takes place on August bank holiday weekend, 10am–6pm, held on the Kennet and Avon Canal at The Wharf. Look out for artists and designers selling lovely handmade gifts, and lots, lots more besides.

Artisan Market in the Town Centre
Sunday 27 August
The regular monthly Newbury Artisan Market is held on the last Sunday of the month and is a lively, friendly place to browse a range of stalls selling everything from great food to designer crafts, from plants to original art. And with music playing and activities aimed at children, there is something to keep every member of the family happy. It’s a great way to spend a summer Sunday, especially on a bank holiday weekend!

Paw Patrol @ Kennet Centre
Tuesday 29 August
Meet Chase and Marshall from PAW Patrol at the Kennet Centre, where the heroic pups will be alternating appearances at intervals throughout the day, 11am–4pm.

And there’s lots more besides:

Pirate Boat Trips from The Wharf
The pirate galleon Jubilee sails from The Wharf in Newbury at 2.30pm every Tuesday and Wednesday until 30 August for a swashbuckling fun-packed hour on the Kennet and Avon Canal. The boat and crew will be dressed as pirates and passengers are invited to dress up too. You are advised to book in advance online at jubilee.katrust.org.uk or by telephoning 01380 721279 (office hours) or 07716 460562 (out of hours). Adults £6, seniors £5, children (2–15) £5, children under 2 free but must have a ticket.

Family Activity Days at West Berks Museum
West Berks Museum hosts fabulous exhibitions all year round but there’s even more fun to be had every Friday this summer with these themed family activities. They take place 10am–3pm and cost £2 per child. Suitable for 4–11 year olds but younger and older children are welcome. No need to book, just drop in. The sessions are:
4 August – Go Potty: Make a Neolithic pot from clay.
11 August – Magnificent Mummies: Make an Egyptian mummy.
18 August – Face it: Make a face out of clay.
25 August – Write Stuff: Make your very own quill.
1 September – Mini Masterpieces: Produce your own painting in the style of Claude Monet.

Victoria Park 
The great outdoors is a great place to be all summer long, and Victoria Park in Newbury town centre has lots to offer, including a play park, splash park, boating pond, skate park and tennis courts.

Outdoor Pool at Northcroft Leisure Centre
Northcroft Lido is a 72m heated outdoor pool in the grounds of Northcroft Leisure Centre in Newbury and is open until 2 September at the following times:
Monday–Friday 7.15–8.45am and 11am–7pm
Saturday–Sunday 10am–6pm

Vue Cinema in Kennet Centre
It’s a great treat to catch a new movie during the school holidays. Check out the website www.myvue.com/cinema/newbury/whats-on to see all the exciting films coming up in August at Newbury’s town-centre cinema.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Summer in Newbury

NewburyFest
NewburyFest represents four weeks of fabulous fun in the height of summer, running from 11 June to 23 July and celebrating all that is good about Newbury. This is the event that takes over the town centre with fun activities for all the family. Just some of the events this year include:

4 July: Independents’ Day
Many people enjoy living in or visiting a town with independent shops, restaurants and businesses, and they are an important part of our street scene here in Newbury – but they need your support! Shop Local Week (3–9 July) is an opportunity to celebrate the retailers who help to make Newbury the special town it is, and on Tuesday 4 July we will be hosting Independents’ Day (in line with American Independence Day) – a double whammy of a celebration applauding our independent businesses. Let’s hear it for the red, white and blue and proudly wave the flag for Newbury’s great independent retailers!

9 July: Day of Dance
Hosted by local Morris dancing side the Garston Gallopers, the tradition and heritage of Morris dancing is celebrated in style on this Day of Dance in Newbury town centre. The dancers and musician who make up the Gallopers will be entertaining in their distinctive outfits including colourful rag coats of purple and green. And if you think the music will be all ‘Hey Nonny No’, think again – today’s Morris Dancers perform to a whole range of tunes, including pop.

15/16 July: Jazz & Blues Festival
Everyone is excited about Newbury’s very first Jazz & Blues Festival. Taking place in the Market Place on the Saturday evening 6–10pm and on the Sunday afternoon/evening 2–8pm, this is a great event for all generations to enjoy together – and it’s FREE! Enjoy a drink or meal in one of the restaurants and bars in the area while appreciating an array of talent promised in the programme which features everything from modern and contemporary jazz through jazz/blues fusion to high-energy electric blues and more melancholic, traditional blues music that celebrates its roots.

23 July: Get Active Day
No time to be a couch potato! Hurry along to Northbrook Street on 23 July for Get Active Day, 10am–4pm, for a chance to unleash your inner ninja! This is an opportunity to try out all sorts of exciting activities, including a ninja assault course and face-to-face climbing wall. Meet members of local sports clubs and associations to find out more about what they offer to get the whole family active.

Fun and Food in the Great Outdoors
No one wants to be stuck indoors in summer, and there are lots of places in Newbury to enjoy being outside. Put together a picnic and head for:

Victoria Park in the town centre (behind Parkway) which edges onto the canal and makes a perfect picnic spot. The park offers lots of other fun too, with the boating lake, skate park, children’s playground, tennis courts … or just sit on a bench and watch the world go by.

Northcroft and Goldwell Parks, two attractive adjoining parks off Northbrook Lane which also go canal-side, ideal for walking and cycling. The parks offer a mature landscape of trees, a woodland walk, brilliant children’s play area and zip slide, and BMX facilities.

Of course you won’t need a picnic if you choose to go to one of the town centre eateries in Newbury that have tables and chairs outside – Cote Brasseries, Bill’s Restaurant, Café Rouge, Weaver’s Coffee Shop and The Newbury gastropub are just some of those that come highly recommended on Trip Advisor.

A waterside location can be very relaxing and cooling. A long drink and something tasty to eat at a pub on a hot summer’s day can really hit the spot. You might try Lock, Stock & Barrel off Northbrook Street, a pub with a truly lovely garden in a perfect canal-side spot and serving great drinks and food, or the Old Waggon & Horses in Market Place, a pub in a period building, serving tasty food and real ale.

If a waterside teashop is what you long for, look no further than the Teashop on the Canal, situated on the Wharf. It’s a great spot to watch what’s happening on the canal, with ducks, swans and boats passing by.

It’s also at the Wharf that rides on the Jubilee narrowboat start. A licensed bar, refreshments and a toilet are available on board which make it all the more comfortable. Now that really is the ideal way to enjoy the countryside on a sunny day!

Artisan Market
Who doesn’t love an outdoor market? Newbury Artisan Market is held on the last Sunday of the month and is a lively, friendly place to browse a range of stalls selling everything from great food to designer crafts, from plants to original art. And with music playing and activities aimed at children, there is something to keep every member of the family happy. That’s another sunny summer Sunday sorted!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Get ready for NewburyFest 2017!


11 June - 23 July

Celebrating all that is good about Newbury, summertime’s NewburyFest is now in its sixth year. This is the event that takes over the town with fabulous, fun activities for all the family. Just some of the events this year include:

11 June: Boules in the Square
Newbury Rotary bring Boules in the Square to Newbury Market Place in this tournament which is now a much anticipated annual event on the town’s calendar. It’s great fun to watch but also a great opportunity to take part, including for local businesses and groups. Further information from info@newburyrotary.org.

3–9 July: Shop Local Week
Many people enjoy living in or visiting a town with independent shops, restaurants and businesses, and they are an important part of our street scene here in Newbury. Shop Local Week is an opportunity to celebrate the independent retailers who help to make Newbury the special town it is. Everyone is encouraged to support them by making a determined effort to ‘shop local’ for a week, and make it a regular habit.

4 July: Independents’ Day
As part of Shop Local Week, Independents’ Day (in line with American Independence Day) is a double whammy of a celebration applauding our independent businesses. Let’s all wave the flag for Newbury’s great independent retailers!

9 July: Day of Dance
Hosted by local Morris dancing side the Garston Gallopers, the tradition and heritage of Morris dancing is celebrated in style on this Day of Dance in Newbury. If you might want to become a Galloper yourself, musicians and dancers can contact the Gallopers via their website: www.garstongallopers.co.uk.

15/16 July: Jazz & Blues Festival
A weekend of excellent music is in store with Newbury’s very first Jazz & Blues Festival. Taking place in the Market Place on the Saturday evening 6–10pm and on the Sunday afternoon/evening 2–8pm, this is a great event for all generations to enjoy together – and it’s FREE! Take time to enjoy a drink or meal in one of the many restaurants and bars in the area while appreciating an array of amazing talent promised in the programme which features everything from modern and contemporary jazz through jazz/blues fusion to high-energy electric blues and more melancholic, traditional blues music that celebrates its roots. Appearing are: Bob Long Trio (Saturday: 6–7pm); Andy Kennedy Quartet (Saturday: 7.15–8.15pm); Robin Bibi Band (Saturday: 8.30–10pm); Rag & Moan Men (Sunday: 2–3pm); Fleur Stevenson (Sunday: 3.15–4.15pm); Chicago 9 Blues Band (Sunday: 4.30–5.30pm); Ma Bessie (Sunday: 5.45–6.45pm); Jon Walsh Trio (Sunday: 7–8pm).

16 July: Newbury Carnival
Whoop whoop! It doesn’t come to town every year, so when it does the Carnival really brings out the crowds and is cause for celebration! The Carnival Parade starts at 2pm as the procession wends its way through the town centre to finish in Park Way, followed by the traditional Carnival Fete in Victoria Park, with live music, stalls, activities, rides, food and drink. What a wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon with friends and family!

23 July: Waterways Festival – Beatlemania
Kennet & Avon Canal Trust presents the 2017 Newbury Waterways Festival to be held at Victoria Park. This year’s theme is ‘Beatlemania’ which is surely an opportunity to spot some fantastic yellow submarines! The Acoustic Beatles Shambles will perform, and there will be food and drink, stalls and entertainment to be enjoyed by the whole family.

23 July: Get Active Day
Roll off the couch, pop on your trainers and get along to Northbrook Street 10am–4pm for a chance to unleash your inner ninja! This is an opportunity to try out all sorts of exciting activities, including a ninja assault course and face-to-face climbing wall. Meet members of local sports clubs and associations to find out more about what they offer to get the whole family active.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

NEWBURY JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL: 15 & 16 JULY 2017



Newbury Market Place is the place to be on the weekend of 15 and 16 July when it will be pumping and jumping, swinging and swaying with the mellow, soulful, exciting sounds of the town’s first ever Jazz and Blues Festival. And what’s more it’s a FREE event!

The Jazz and Blues Festival starts on the evening of Saturday 15 July, 6–10pm as the sun goes down; on Sunday 16 July the show starts in the afternoon at 2pm, closing at 8pm that evening.

In its excellent central position, with loads of popular places on hand to enjoy drinks or a meal, this is a great event for all generations to enjoy together, and an array of amazing talent is promised in the programme which features:

Bob Long Trio (Saturday: 6–7pm)
The Festival opens to the exciting sound of the Bob Long Trio. You can look forward to a mixture of original compositions and jazz standards from the 1950s and 60s, performed by veteran jazz musicians from San Diego, Chicago and New York.

Andy Kennedy Quartet (Saturday: 7.15–8.15pm)
Regulars on the Basingstoke and Southampton jazz scenes, these musicians are known for playing modern and contemporary jazz standards in energetic and adventurous style. Taking their lead from such artist as Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker and Miles Davis are Andy Kennedy on saxophones, his father Mike Kennedy on piano, Brian Throup on upright bass and bass guitar, and Damian Hayes on drums.

Robin Bibi Band (Saturday: 8.30–10pm)
Robin Bibi is recognised as one of the UK’s top blues/rock guitarists. Having paid his dues working with such names as Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Ben E. King, The Pretty Things and Helen Shapiro, he launched his own band in the late 1990s. Blues and jazz fusion come together in the band’s feel-good concoction which will make this a night to remember.

Rag & Moan Men (Sunday: 2–3pm)
Acoustic blues and beyond are brought to you by Martin Wood and friends who as the Rag & Moan Men play at various venues throughout Berkshire and North Hampshire. Expect their take on sounds from such legends as Muddy Waters, Furry Lewis, Blind Willie Johnson, Bob Dylan, Tampa Red, Van Morrison, St Louis Jimmy, Howlin' Wolf, Mississippi John Hurt, J.J. Cale, Jimmy Reed, alongside some of their own songs.

Fleur Stevenson (Sunday: 3.15–4.15pm)
Alluringly graceful and charismatic, Fleur Stevenson is one of the new breed of jazz singers. She is known for her scat singing and passionate interpretation of jazz classics, and with influences including Carman McRae, Shirley Horn, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Chris Connor she performs a modern take on a variety of much-loved jazz standards, Latin favourites and vintage-flavoured originals. She enjoys collaborations with many wonderful musicians and has performed for many different events at venues across the UK, including the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

Chicago 9 Blues Band (Sunday: 4.30–5.30pm)
Chicago 9 is a four-piece blues band whose main influence is the electric blues of Chicago in the 1950s and 60s. Their heroes include Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Sonny Boy Williamson but their set also includes their own original compositions. This is one no-fuss, high-energy, 21st-century blues experience not to be missed.

Ma Bessie (Sunday: 5.45–6.45pm)
Julia Titus as Ma Bessie celebrates Bessie Smith, the American blues singer nicknamed Empress of the Blues. Today Ma Bessie delights in bringing the music of Bessie Smith – one of the greatest singers of 1920s and 30s – and her contemporaries to a new audience.

Jon Walsh Trio (Sunday: 7–8pm)
At the Festival finale expect the best of the blues from the Jon Walsh Trio (JW3), comprised of three long-time musicians and friends – Jon A. Walsh, Bill White and Dave Laing – who have been playing together since the 1980s. Specialising in original music and acoustic covers of singer/songwriter classics, the trio’s ethos is ‘less is more’ and playing the essence of beautiful songs is what it’s all about for JW3.


Monday, 3 April 2017

NEWBURY SPRING FESTIVAL: Bollywood to Hollywood and Beyond 6–20 May 2017


Whether you love a bit of Bollywood or if Hollywood is more your scene, or if your musical preferences lie somewhere else entirely, Newbury Spring Festival 2017 is sure to have a show for you!

Newbury Spring Festival brings to Newbury and West Berkshire a fabulous fortnight of world-class music in Newbury and its neighbouring villages, with over 40 events in venues ranging from Newbury Corn Exchange to Highclere Castle and from village churches to Lord Lloyd Webber’s private chapel.

Now in its 39th year, the aim of the Festival is to bring excellent, new and innovative work from around the world to the local area, creating opportunities for young people, existing and new audiences to enjoy the arts.

The Festival is renowned for bringing together an exciting mix of musicians and musical entertainment. Every year international symphony orchestras, ensembles and soloists rub shoulders with jazz legends, choirs and children’s entertainers, and this year brings together a particularly exciting programme, with something to suit every musical taste.

So – Bollywood, Hollywood or something else entirely? On 19 May Bollywood Brass Band delights with six hot horns and four funky drummers, blending hot Hindi film hits with riotous Indian wedding music and Punjabi beats for a uniquely ‘London’ take on this popular music genre. On 20 May Hollywood comes to town in the shape of Matt Ford and his show, ‘Close to You’, an evening of songs inspired by Sinatra’s legendary collaboration with the Hollywood String Quartet. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra perform on the opening and closing nights respectively, whilst versatile singing group VOCES8 and award-winning Brodsky Quartet come to two local churches – VOCES8 to East Woodhay on 10 May and The Brodskys to Shaw the following evening.

The name Dankworth is legendary, and the jazz bassist son of John Dankworth and Cleo Laine brings his band Alec Dankworth’s World Spirit to Arlington Arts Centre on 18 May, while Northumbrian folk music and traditions are heralded on 16 May at the Corn Exchange when Kathryn Tickell and The Side perform a show featuring evocative slow airs that could break your heart followed by dizzying jigs and reels.

The delightful musical comedy ‘Betty Blue Eyes’ is staged on 12 May; based on Alan Bennet’s award-winning film ‘A Private Function’, the story is based in 1947 and is about a pig named Betty who is being reared illegally for a very special event, with hilarious consequences!

With 2017 being the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, there are three Austen-inspired events, including an adaptation of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ narrated by none other than film-star Hayley Mills, with music by Carl Davis, on 7 May.

Particular events to appeal to children include Dr Dee’s Daughter and the Philosopher’s Stone, with live music, puppetry and storytelling on 13 May. In addition, Travelling By Tuba brings a world of musical instruments and fun (watch out for the exploding tuba!) on 20 May. Adults who love fun with their music are sure to enjoy Worbey & Farrell on 9 May – internationally acclaimed pianists with a wicked sense of humour!

With young emerging artists an important part of the Festival, the Young Artists Lunchtime Recital Series is a series of six concerts, three of which star young men with local links: trombonist Michael Buchanan (8 May), Benjamin Cunningham (12 May) and Leo Popplewell (17 May).

Tickets for the shows are at varying prices to suit most pockets and some performances are even free for children. A special opportunity for those aged 15–30 is the Young Festival Critics scheme –register to attend a show completely free of charge and write a review; on top of this, all reviews are entered into a competition to win £100.

This is truly just a taster of all that Newbury Spring Festival has to offer: check out their brochure for details of all the other delights at www.newburyspringfestival.org.uk.