Art and soul of festival

ART AND SOUL: james Allen and his mum, Liz Estensen
ART AND SOUL: james Allen and his mum, Liz Estensen

The results of the frenzied activity by the youth of Derbyshire and beyond have been found all around Bakewell this week.

At the halfway point of the 10-day festival, highlights have included the nine-day production of Cotton Grass Theatre’s Twelfth Night at Thornbridge Hall, which saw large audiences enjoying not only the play but the magnificent setting and the exhibition of James Allen at H’s Wine Bar, which continues to August 14.

Shellshocked audiences leaving the intense experience of the play ‘Vanessa & Virginia’ by Moving Stories theatre company were soon cheered up by the BAF sessions on Saturday evening, when Sheffield’s best assembled in the BAF Tent to rousing acclaim by local audiences. Getting their own back on Thursday night will be bands performing in the Leaving Chezvegas night, as a host of talent from Chesterfield led by band veteran and impresario Luke Alton descend on the BAF Tent to pick up the gauntlet.

BAF @ Festival Square saw a steady stream of crowds throughout the day despite the vagrancies of the weather and the Square was packed to catch the three headline bands which followed Battle of the Bands, being the remarkable talent James Badcock, last year’s Battle of the Bands runners-up Scutty Neighbours who put on a magnificent show for their adoring local fans, and Club George Yelding, students of LIPA whose members originate from Liverpool, Manchester and Derbyshire, and who were so original they needed to be seen to be believed.

Still to come is ‘Festival Front’, opening tomorrow (Tuesday), where Bakewell’s businesses and venues offer ‘front-of-house’ showcase space to young and emerging talent alongside mid-career artists locally, regionally and nationally. Featured exhibitions this year are James Allen’s ‘A World of Impressions’ at H’s Wine Bar and Tim Haynes’ haunting installation ‘Pathfinder’, originally created at national centre for excellence in the arts, the Level Centre at Rowsley, on view at Bakewell Parish Church.

The glittering dance and theatre programme continues as part of Theatre @ BAF and includes two new contemporary dance workshops and performance by Alice Vale’s new regional contemporary dance company 3Fold, Butterfly theatre’s presentation of ‘Macbeth’, a 90-minute promenade production fresh from sell-out performances during Buxton Fringe.

The casts of the outdoor productions Bakewell Youth Theatre’s ‘Kiss Me Kate’ and the Babbling Vagabonds ‘The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs’ continue to get drenched during rehearsals but come rain or shine, the shows will go on.

Look out for ‘Mills & Chimneys’ and ‘Friday Night is Open Mic Night’ on Friday 12, and ‘Bye Bye BAF’ at the Tent on Saturday 13 as well as further events and happenings during the final Festival weekend.

Tickets and further information from: The Bakewell Bookshop, Market Street, Bakewell or the festival ticket hotline on 07772 543576 or email

The BAF box o