Director Hilda Sheehan, Cllr Eric Shaw Mayor of Swindon and Lady Dada AKA Mike PringleEroticism, Spitfires, a goblin circus and complete nonsense - it must be the Poetry Swindon Festival, which starts next weekend.
2016 is the 100th anniversary of Dada, the short-lived but influential ‘nonsense’ art movement which spawned surrealism, Salvador Dali, Monty Python and Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.
“Poetry Swindon likes its poetry a little off-kilter - quite a lot off-kilter,” said festival director Hilda Sheehan, “so something anti-meaning, and silly with a serious message is what Poetry Swindon is all about.”
Poetry Swindon celebrates with a day of Dada - creating Dada-esque anti-verse and with an opportunity to perform it - on 1 October.
Then, just for women, American poet Carrie Etter will lead an erotic poetry workshop on 7 October.
On 3 October, the Spitfire - once made in Swindon 75 years ago for the second world war - is celebrated with flight-themed poems by North Swindon school children, a new Spitfire sculpture by artist and writer Mike Pringle, and readings from Sisters in Spitfires, a collection by poet Alison Hill.
The festival’s Children’s Day (2 October) twists words with the mischief-making Goblin Circus, Plant-a-Story and the eccentric Imagination Museum.
As well as open mics, poetry discos and family events, Britain's friendliest and most fun poetry festival features readings and workshops by the best bards in the UK and beyond.
Award-winning Kim Moore is poet-in-residence across the Big Poetry Weekend, and the festival welcomes one of our brightest young poets, Andrew McMillan (7 and 8 October) who follows in the footsteps of Keats by winning plenty of poetry plaudits whilst still in his twenties.
Radio 4 poet-in-residence, Daljit Nagra is judge and guest poet at the Battered Moons poetry awards evening (8 October) and leads a masterclass on Sunday 9 October.
Due to the success of last year - and the enthusiasm of the organisers - the festival has been extended to 11 days and in two parts. The community element of Poetry Swindon Festival takes place 29 September to 5 October at Central Library, Museum and Art Gallery, Savernake Street Social Hall, Museum of Computing, North Swindon Library and the Richard Jefferies Museum.
The Big Poetry Weekend, beginning 6 October on National Poetry Day and finishing 9 October, is based at the Richard Jefferies Museum at the Richard Jefferies-inspired ‘Tent-Palace of the Delicious Air’.
Many events are free, other tickets can be bought per event or as part of a festival pass.
Poetry Swindon Festival is grant funded by Arts Council England and Artswords.
For more information and tickets, visit www.poetryswindon.org or Swindon Central Library.
SN Dubstation: will it be the weather for dark glasses, T-shirts and sombreros?The Marlborough Youth Network has organised its first ever open-air music festival, aimed at young people aged 13-19. It will take place on Saturday (September 24) from 2pm until 10pm on Marlborough College's Treacle Bolley playing fields and it goes under the title: MY ME.
This will be a great opportunity to support and enjoy local music acts such as Dirty Thrills (headliner), George Wilding, Rufus Mackay, Rohan Ball, Sam Evans Band, All Ears Avow and SN Dubstation.
All of these acts will be featured on the main stage, with a special dance performance courtesy of M.A.D. - the Marlborough Academy of Dance and Drama.
With a line up this varied you can be sure to enjoy your favourite genre as well as discover an unexpected new sound - something that should not be missed.
All are must see - and hear - acts, however ones to watch out for include George Wilding and Swindon's SN Dubstation. George Wilding is a young self-taught singer song writer who has previously supported acts like Newton Faulkner and The Levellers. He creates a chilled and subtle folk sound that clearly showcases his raw talent.
On the other hand SN Dubstation are an eight piece band that effortlessly merge Reggae, Ska and Dub sounds to create infectious bass lines that you can dance to.
The headliners, Dirty Thrills are an exciting “bluesy-rock” band that will remind you of The Black Keys and Queens of the Stone Age. They have had glowing reviews mentioned in magazines such as “Classic Rock Magazine” and “Blues Magazine”. Featuring clever guitar riffs and catchy vocals, this band will make you move.
Not only will this festival feature musical entertainment, but there will be a variety of other activities on offer - including drumming, circus skills, cake decorating and art workshops as well as hockey and golf sessions. UV face painting could liven things up, as will several fair rides including giant spinning teacups and a hilarious rodeo bull ride.
The Marlborough Youth Music Event tickets are £5 each with a £3 food voucher included in the price. These tickets are available now from the St John's Library, the Marlborough Library and Sound Knowledge. And tickets can be purchased on the day.
With the 2016 festival season coming to an end, this is a chance to extend the summer by coming to support an amazing local cause and have a great time in the process.