Festival art beat

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

Ten days of concerts, theatre, poetry, street performance, live music and much more will be waking up the peaceful town of Bakewell as the annual arts festival swings into life.

This year, the Bakewell Arts Festival wake-up call promises to be louder than ever.

Festival director Janette Hockley-Webster said: “The young BAF management group continue to bring a cutting edge vibrancy and, I have to say, random genius to the festival programme – there’s little of any artistic value around that they aren’t interested in and muscling in on with a high degree of insistence.”

The results of the frenzied activity by the youth of Derbyshire and beyond can be found all around Bakewell from August 4-14.

Highlights are the legendary BAF Sessions at the Tents in the Castle Inn car park, an acoustic programme featuring the best of local, regional and national songsters. This year’s line-up includes Leaving Chezvegas, when impresario and band veteran Luke Alton brings a host of musical talent from Chesterfield to give performers in the Peak a run for their money.

A new initiative this year includes Festival Front, where Bakewell’s shops and businesses offer ‘front of house’ showcase space to young and emerging talent alongside mid-career artists locally, regionally and nationally.

Featured art exhibitions will include London-based young artist James Allen’s ‘A World of Impressions’ at H’s Wine Bar. James’ exhibition will be opened on August 4 by his mother, Liz Estensen, who plays Diane in the telly soap Emmerdale. Liz has links with festival director Sue Stones, founder of Bakewell Youth Theatre, who she met when they were at drama school.

Tim Haynes’ haunting installation ‘Pathfinder’, originally created at national centre for excellence in the arts, the Level Centre, at Rowsley, will be on view at Bakewell Parish Church.

Dance and theatre productions include two new contemporary dance workshops and performance by Alice Vale’s new company 3Fold, Butterfly theatre’s presentation of ‘Macbeth’ and Bakewell Youth Theatre’s outdoor performance of ‘Kiss Me Kate’,

Local-boy-done-good Tom Pearce will be performing his one-man largely autobiographical show ‘A Life in Music’.

The jewel in the festival crown will be the Live on the Lorry event which features ska legends and BAF 2010 Battle of the Bands winners ShotshotStacy.

Other highlights of Festival week include BAF Poetry in the courtyard @ Nice café along with BAF Blues & Jazz featuring Steve Buckley, Steve Brown and Eryl Roberts at the Hassop Station Café and Sarah Bennett and Curt Shaw at Le Mistral.

Tickets and further information are available from The Bakewell Bookshop, Market Street, Bakewell; the BAF Ticket Hotline on 07772 543576 or email janette@bakewellfestival.com

The BAF box office is also open at the BAF tent in the Castle Inn car park during events.