Comedian Phill Jupitus, TV historian Michael Wood, gardening expert Monty Don and agony aunt Virginia Ironside have all been confirmed as taking part in this year’s Devizes Festival in June.
From June 5 to 23, the town will come alive with a line-up of professional performers spanning the arts, including music, drama, poetry, comedy, film and talks – not to mention a free Fringe.
Events take place at venues around the town, including Devizes Town Hall, Corn Exchange, The Bear Hotel, The Lamb public house and a number of churches.
The acts include television presenter, writer and speaker on horticulture Monty Don, best known for presenting the BBC television series Gardeners’ World, and popular comedian Phill Jupitus.
On the literary side there will be author Deborah Moggach, whose 17 novels include the best-selling Tulip Fever.
Speakers include historian Michael Wood, who will examine the role of the Saxons in the making of England, the subject of his latest television series to be shown later this year; agony aunt Virginia Ironside, who will talk about growing old disgracefully; and a Café Scientifique discussion led by Nicola Rumsey, Professor of Appearance Research at the University of the West of England.
Most musical tastes are catered for in this year’s line-up, which includes classical, folk, jazz and blues, such as the Henry Girls, three sisters from County Donegal who are fast becoming one of the most talked about folk/roots acts to come out of Ireland in the last decade.
Also appearing are acclaimed jazz singer Kate Dimbleby, accompanied by Naadia Sheriff on piano, re-visiting the songs of ’70s icon Dory Previn.
Other acts include The Fournier Piano Trio – formed in 2009, it has rapidly become one of the leading young piano trios – and Zoe Rahman, 2012 MOBO Award jazz winner, one of the brightest stars in contemporary jazz.
Pianist Alexandra Dariescu will make her debut at the Royal Albert Hall playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra two weeks before playing in Devizes.
She will be followed by legendary cult band New Model Army and Parisian Cajun band Sarah Savoy and the Francadians.
Other events include readings by the poet Luke Wright, a look at The Luck Factor with Professor Richard Wiseman, the most-followed British psychologist on Twitter, Rob Crouch taking the role of hell-raiser Oliver Reed, a tutored beer tasting at Wadworth brewery and the festival film, box office hit Mamma Mia!
The festival box office opens on Wednesday, May 22, at Devizes Books, Sidmouth Street or visit www.devizesfestival. co.uk for more information.