Two friends from Wiltshire came up with a dream during the Covid-19 lockdown for a town festival - now that festival is about to become a reality.

Marlborough Festival's debut year offers something for the whole family including live bands, theatre productions, comedy gigs and award-winning food.

The three-day festival will take place in Marlborough from Friday, July 12 until Sunday, July 14, and unlike out-of-town green field festivals, the events will all be staged at local venues to give businesses in town a boost.

“It’s a post-pandemic model, which makes the most of what we have on our doorstep," said festival co-founder Sandra Bhatia.

"Rather than pulling people out of towns, we cater for the local community and attract visitors in.”

Sandra Bhatia and Luke Jackson have successful careers in music events and media.Sandra Bhatia and Luke Jackson have successful careers in music events and media. (Image: Word Worker)

Sandra, who lives in Marlborough, first came up with the idea for the festival with her friend Luke Jackson.

Having been friends several years earlier, the pair bumped into each other on a walk during lockdown and were surprised to discover they had both moved back to the Marlborough area.

Luke has a background in TV and filmmaking, while Sandra’s background is in music events, having previously cofounded OneFest CIC alongside Frank Turner.

"One day my dad and his friends were lamenting the demise of the former Jazz Festival in 2015, which had run for many years and was very popular,” said Luke. 

“So, when we got together, Sandra and I hatched this plan to bring the music back to Marlborough.

"When we first asked businesses about this, most were keen to get involved, as our aim was bring a boost to the high street. We ran a fundraiser and a launch, and that gave us the platform to develop the project.”

The arts festival will be held in several locations across the townThe arts festival will be held in several locations across the town (Image: Tom Ellis)

The festival will include famous names such as Huey Morgan, former frontman of The Fun Lovin' Criminal and MasterChef winner Thomas Frake.

Many of the events are free, a £7 ‘support’ ticket gives access to hotel and bar performances, or a £70 weekend pass offers access to all live music, theatre and comedy events.

Weekend tickets bought from box offices at Castle & Ball Hotel, Sound Knowledge and Elaine’s Travel will be discounted.

“We want to make sure this works, that it’s popular and that the community have embraced it. If all goes well, we will then build on this for an even bigger event next year," explained Sandra.