The Muddy Guide: Thurs 5 – Weds 11 May
Newbury Spring Festival, Sat 7 – Sat 21 May
This whopping music festival has grown over the last 38 years to now attract the very best in classical, jazz and world music acts performing in and around Newbury. Over 50 concerts will take place this year from 7 to 21 May in some glorious venues, including Highclere Castle, the Corn Exchange, and St Nicholas Church in the centre of Newbury where you can catch Bach’s Coffee Cantata (above) promising ‘decadence, drama and delight’ the church hall will be transformed with informal café-style seating as the dynamic Little Baroque Company perform this short comic opera about a vivacious young woman who loves coffee! Hmm, she sounds familiar… See the full packed programme on the website. Booking office: 0845 5218218.
Untold Stories, Watermill Theatre, Newbury, 5 May to 11 June
Warm, witty and poignant, Untold Stories is a double bill of memoirs from the brilliant Alan Bennett. In Hymn Bennett recalls the hymns and music that underscored his childhood and, with great affection, his father, violin playing butcher, who in an effort to earn a few extra bob, upgrades to a double bass, but is thwarted when it won’t fit through the doors of the tram. Glimpses of his early life with Mam and Dad are shared in Cocktail Sticks, with Mam seeking enlightenment from the pages of Woman’ Own. What an absolute treat. Tickets: £15 to £26.50.
Caversham Arts Trail, Sat 7 & Sun 8 May and Fri 13 – Sun 15 May, 11am to 5pm
Hot on the heels of the Henley Arts Trail is this one based around Caversham and Emmer Green, north of Reading. Visit the studios, workshops, homes and gardens of 29 talented local artists (including Lauren Denney Ceramics, above). See their latest projects, ask questions, buy their art and be inspired! 29 artists in 15 venues the trail runs across two weekends: Sat 7 & Sun 8 May and Fri 13, Sat 14 & Sun 15 May, 11am – 5pm. Download a trail map here.
Tomorrow’s Reading, Green Park Conference Centre, Reading, Sat 7 May, 12pm – 6pm
A one-day festival about the future of the town, Tomorrow’s Reading takes place at Green Park this Saturday from 12pm to 6pm. The event features a programme of incredible speakers, mind-blowing installations and uber cool technology demos – all showcasing what we can expect in the future – from our food and health to our cities and the environment. From 3D printers showing how food could be produced in the future, to the latest humanoids and live music. Activities are best suited for 11+ but all are welcome. Tickets £3 individual or £6 for a family of 4. Available from www.readingarts.com.
Tomorrow’s Reading is part of Reading 2016, Reading’s Year of Culture www.reading2016.org.uk
Bucklebury Artisan Food Market, The Bladebone Inn, Chapel Row, Sat 7 May, 10am to 12 noon
This fab food market, held on the first Saturday of the month, is back in its original home at The Bladebone Inn (which by luck would have it, I reviewed recently) and is a real celebration of local producers and their produce. Bread from Birch Cottage Bread, baked savouries from Jo at Merry Kitchen, cakes from Blackberry Cottage, and all sorts of goodnesses from Old Forge Larder including their RG17 rapeseed oils, homegrown in Berks. Plus loads more deli produce, honey, eggs, jam, fruit & veg… AND to top it off, the weather is going to be glorious! What better way to spend a couple of hours buying, and then grazing on delicious food in the sunshine? I’m in. Save me a sausage.
Gansta Granny, The Hexagon, Reading, Tues 10 May – Sat 14 May
David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny, already a hit in novel and TV form, has made an easy transition to the theatre. It’s in Reading from Tuesday if you fancy all the cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake you can take! Tickets: £18.50, or £60 for a family of 4.
The Hexagon, Queens Walk, Reading, readingarts.com
Wasing Park, winter wedding dates available!
Through the powers of the Muddy grapevine, word has reached me that the prime winter wedding date of Fri 2 December has become available at the stunning Berkshire estate of Wasing Park. As well as a handful of other dates throughout Autumn/Winter 2016! Not only that but they are offering special discounts – £1000 off the venue fee on all remaining Thurs to Sun dates in 2106 and £300 off the venue fee on Mon to Weds dates. Just check out that bridal suite… I feel a renewing of vows coming on Mr Muddy B! Ding dong! For all the deets call 0118 971 3634 or email: email@example.com.
Let’s Rock the Moor, Marsh Meadow, Cookham, Sat 21 May
Tickets are selling fast for this fun family festival, now in its 8th year. Held at Marsh Meadow with a huge line-up of artists bringing you the best in 80s pop in all its cheesy glory! The Human League, Belinda Carlisle, Jason Donovan, Jimmy Somerville, Hue & Cry… even Chesney Hawkes will be there… I’m digging out my neon leg warmers and acid-washed denim jacket as we speak *squeal*! There’s tons of free stuff for kids, plus Carters Steam Fair and Big Top Mania Circus will be there. And if you want to do things in style there’s a new funky 80s-themed VIP enclosure so you can relax in the comfy chill out zone, enjoy an 80s themed cocktail and of course, partake of the all important luxury loos!