The 11th Audlem Music & Arts Festival – The Biggest Free such Festival in Cheshire – will run over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. 62 LIVE performances mean we can't highlight them all but this is an event that should appeal to all live music fans – whatever your taste.
As one performer announced to an appreciative audience last year: "This is a fabulous festival; just the right size; just the right venues – and just the right beer!"
Thursday and Friday evenings
It all gets underway with music in all three village pubs – the Lord Combermere, the Bridge Inn and the Shroppie Fly – on the evening of Thursday 26th May. Friday's programme starts with Regroove Nation, featuring a full brass section while, an hour later, the Audlem St James' School Band should pack out the Church with a very appreciative audience. At 9.00pm, all three pubs feature talented acts where the only sensible choice is to visit all three hostelries!
Saturday sees a full programme from 10am with Art getting in on the act with a mixed art/photographic exhibition in the Methodist Hall, Music workshops, Acoustic elevenses at the Coffee Lounge and a Festival writing workshop with writer, performance poet and stand-up comedian Emma Pursehouse in the Fat Pigeon. Young bands feature strongly too with a Youth New Band Showcase featuring five bands.
The afternoon and evening sees music throughout the village. One of Audlem's home grown bands, Foxy Wellingtons started in the Showcase just three years ago: now they are playing top venues in Manchester and elsewhere.
Talking of Manchester, The Travelling Band, one of Glastonbury's top gigs in 2010, and the best kept secret coming out of Manchester, will be playing on Sunday. Jazz features too – Adrian Ingram is one of the world's most respected jazz guitar players. He is joined by his Jazz Dawgs, Ian Wroe and Pete Wraith.
Another Sunday highlight is the reads on their annual pilgrimage to Audlem. There's music all day including In the Smoke, London's freshest cappella sensation. A group of twenty-something doctors, teachers, lawyers and environmental consultants! Popular local band Blue Cafe return and St James Church features Audlem Voices, now a Festival favourite.
Sunday and Monday afternoons includes music in Blues Alley starting with Jim Kirkpatrick, always a popular artist playing a great Audlem Festival outdoor venue.
Monday's programme is packed and also sees the Audlem traditional Carnival which dates back to 1820 – Carnival Queen, Maypole dancing by the children of St James, the Band of the Air Cadets, Hog Roast and all the fun of the Fair. Great entertainment for all the family.
Monday musical highlights include The Boat Band who have played Glastonbury 14 times. Sarah Miller, pictured above, is another Festival favourite. The Johnny Miller All Stars finish off the event in their inimitable style from 9pm at the Shroppie Fly.
It's a Festival not to be missed – check the programme on www.audlemfestival.com or click on the link below the photos – in a village with a big reputation for its live music throughout the year. AND IT'S ALL FREE!
As Leon Kenny of Manchester's Modern Alarms said earlier this year: "Tonight, in Audlem, was the best time I've ever had at a gig. Everybody made us feel so welcome, everyone was so friendly, everyone danced with us."
Another band member added: "When I am rich, I am moving here".
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