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Arts & Entertainment

Motor stunt show rolls into Marlborough

The Wheelie Cool BusThe Wheelie Cool BusA bus that pulls wheelies, a truck that can crush cars, and a ‘stunt clown’ who causes chaos wherever he drives are among the attractions at an event coming to Marlborough Common this week.

Scott May’s Daredevil Stunt Show is rolling into Marlborough this Thursday (July 21) as part of a summer-long UK tour.

Some of the UK’s best motorcycle stunt riders will fly between ramps at heights approaching 40 feet, while on of the newest additions to the 25 year old show is the Wheelie Cool Bus, a 15 tonne bus that performs incredible balance wheelies across the arena.

The show starts at 7pm. Tickets, priced £12 for adults and £6 for children, are available on the gate.

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Pewsey Music Festival launches 100 Club for sponsors

Tankus the HengeTankus the HengePewsey Music Festival has launched a 100 Club for businesses that sponsor the event.

Named after the famous London jazz club, any business that donates £100 or more will be listed in the festival programme, and on the website for a year.

The festival – which takes place on Cooper's Field from noon on Saturday, August 6 –  will be headlined by Tankus the Henge, a London-based six-piece band whose repertoire fuses rock 'n roll, Gypsy jazz and Romani music, Balkan music, ragtime, New Orleans music, and ska.

The group were named by Metro newspaper as Top 10 Acts To See at Glastonbury 2011, and in 2012 the group appeared on an album commemorating the 2012 London Olympics.

Other acts include The Doors of Perception, Sonic Meds, The Apes of Rock, Kennet Vale Brass, Pewsey Belles and Pewsey Male Voice Choir. Many more acts to be announced soon.

Other entertainment will include stilt walkers, a magic show, balloon modelling, inflatables, arts and crafts demonstrations, various food outlets, and a beer tent serving a selection of real ales and other beverages.

Tickets will be available in June via the website, from Sound Knowledge, in Marlborough, and from various local outlets in Pewsey. Very early birds can buy tickets before the end of June for £7.50. Thereafter advance tickets will cost £10. On-the-day tickets will cost £15. Entry is free to anyone aged under 12.

Pewsey Music Festival supports local charities including Pewsey Carnival, The Bruce Trust, and The Richmond Fellowship’s Wiltshire Outreach.

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Award-winning singer-songwriter Tom Odell to perform in Marlborough

Tom OdellTom OdellAward-winning singer-songwriter Tom Odell is to perform in Marlborough next week, it was announced this morning.

The 2014 Ivor Novello Award winner will play an intimate gig at Thirty8 in Hughenden Yard on Monday, June 20 from 6pm.

Entry to the performance is free, but fans will need to purchase a copy of Odell’s new album from Sound Knowledge record shop in exchange for a voucher which will gain them entry.

Odell won the Critics Choice award at the BRIT Awards in 2013, before his debut album – Long Way Down – shot to number 1 in the charts.

In 2014 he was named Songwriter of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards. Later that year his cover of The Beatles’ Real Love was used as the soundtrack of the John Lewis Christmas advert, in which a penguin finds love.

His second album, Wrong Crowd, was released this week.


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Rock fans prepare for a summer of music in Marlborough and Pewsey

AugustinesAugustinesRock fans are being blessed with an eclectic array of music events this summer – and they don’t have to travel miles (or sleep in a tent) to enjoy it.

This Friday (June 10) American indie rock trio Augustines will be playing a live gig at Thirty8 (formerly Azuza) in support of the launch of their new album This Is Your Life, which is released the very same day.

The record will be available to buy at neighbouring Sound Knowledge, and band members will be signing copies and meeting fans after the free gig, which starts at 6.30pm.

Mantonfest (Saturday, June 25) boasts headliners Animals and Friends and Dr Feelgood on its classic rock line-up, with Mantonfest favourites The Ukey D’Ukes, Straight Six, Empty Gestures, Skedaddle, Onyx, The Banned, and Barrelhouse in support, alongside newcomers Smiley’s People, The Harry Miller Band and The Clive Collective.

Tickets cost £15 for adults and £5 for children, from

The CorrespondentsThe CorrespondentsCharity fundraiser Avebury Rocks will be celebrating its return to its spiritual home, inside the famous ancient monument, on Saturday, July 9 with music from George Wilding, Jack Moore, Ulysses, The Ukey D'Ukes, Nick Harper, and electro swing duo The Correspondents, recommended as a must-see Glastonbury act by The Telegraph two years in a row.

Tickets are £15 for adults and £8 for children, and are available from

And on Saturday, August 6 self-styled Rock & Roll's Greatest Failure, John Otway, headlines Pewsey Music Festival.

Anyone who enjoyed Animals and Friends performing House of the Rising Sun at Mantonfest will either love or hate Otway’s call and response version, depending on how much reverence they hold the original in.

Otway encourages the audience to prompt each line of the rock classic: “There is..” “WHAT?” “a house…” “WHERE” “in New Orleans” “WHAT’S IT CALLED?” If that makes no sense, head over to YouTube for a video:

Otway will be performing alongside Tankus The Henge, The Doors of Perception, Sonic Meds, The Apes of Rock, Pewsey Male Voice Choir, and K V Brass at the Cooper’s Arms.

Tickets cost £7.50 if purchased by the end of June, and £10 thereafter. Tickets on the gate are £15. Bookings and details are at

  • Marlborough News Online is a sponsor of Mantonfest. A full feature can be found here

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Warren Mailley-Smith's 'Evening with Chopin': a real highlight ends the fourth series of St Peter's Church recitals

Warren Mailley-SmithWarren Mailley-SmithIt is quite a haul to get to the London concert venue St John's, Smith Square from Marlborough.  So how very fortunate Marlborough music lovers are to have a key recital - pianist Warren Mailley-Smith playing Chopin - in their midst, at St Peter's Church just two days after the audience in St John's Smith Square heard it as part of his Complete Chopin Cycle.

Warren Mailley-Smith studied at the Royal College of Music - winning many postgraduate prizes.  He has had over thirty invitations to play for the Royal Family and has performed Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

When he comes to Marlborough on June 19, Warren Mailley-Smith will be one recital away from the end of his Chopin marathon at St John's Smith Square - playing all 230 of Frederic Chopin's piano compositions.

Marlborough.News asked Warren Mailley-Smith why he had set out last September on this eleven recital marathon: "I love playing Chopin's music and I wanted to stretch my personal boundaries and explore every last detail of this great composer's contribution to the piano repertoire."

And what kind of experience has it been so far?  "It's been a hugely rewarding project to undertake - quite exhausting, but a huge amount of fun. I thought I might get sick and tired of playing his music - not at all - in fact quite the contrary."

His St Peter's recital will be a reprise of the penultimate recital of the series.  It is a varied programme of Chopin miniatures - five mazurkas, three polonaises, the well-loved Berceuse in D flat, the Trois Nouvelles Études and more.  It ends with the Barcarolle in F sharp Opus 60 which has inspired many composers.

What is it that makes the Barcarolle so special? "It is", Warren told Marlborough.News, "a masterpiece.  This work was written at the height of his artistic maturity.  It seems to encapsulate everything which he had developed as a composer - wonderful sense of structure, climatic build-up, ravishing harmonies and terrific contrasts of virtuosity and poetry."

Warren Mailley-Smith acknowledges that Chopin's music has never been out of fashion.  Why does he think that is?:  "It's the perennial quality of his melodies and because of the direct communication and the raw emotion of his music."

Reviews of his Complete Chopin Cycle series have been full of praise for Warren Mailley-Smith's interpretation and assured technique: "In Warren’s hands each (Etude) was a minor miracle, sensitively rendered and deftly delivered...the overall result was exceptionally engaging and intense.”

Another reviewer referred to his playing of Four Ballades: ”Chopin would have enjoyed the beauty, sensitivity and intellectual nous that Warren Mailley-Smith brought to his performance."

To get a preview of his interpretation of Chopin, you can watch and hear Warren Mailley-Smith playing Chopin's Grand Valse Brillante in E flat major. He says it is a composition "Brillante by name, brilliant by nature."  

We asked Warren why he chose to play the Complete Chopin Cycle at St John's Smith Square: "Beautiful acoustic, wonderful piano...and an ideal location."  He will certainly find a very fine piano and good acoustic at St Peter's Church - and undoubtedly a very appreciative audience.

This recital will be introduced by Robin Nelson - former head of music at Marlborough College whose Memoirs of a Music Man are appearing on Marlborough.News

Full details of tickets etc are here.

The fifth series of what must now be titled 'Brilliant Young International Pianists and Musicians' will start at St Peter's Church in October with Taiwanese pianist An-Ting Chang.  Her recital will range from Mozart and Schubert to Gershwin's Walking the Dog, Copland's The Cat and the Mouse and her own arrangement of Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals.  

She will be followed by the Castalian String Quartet playing Ravel, Thomas Ades and Brahms.  

The fifth series will once again be sponsored by Hiscox Insurance. Watch this space for a full preview of the series coming later in June.



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Aldbourne Band achieve two Top Placings at the French Open Championships

Aldbourne Band in Amboise ready to playAldbourne Band in Amboise ready to playAt the 2016 French Open Championships held in the pretty historic town of Amboise, on the banks of the Loire, Aldbourne Band, under the musical direction of David Johnson, were delighted to achieve two top placings in this year’s contest.  They came second out of all the bands in the march contest playing Underhill House, in memory of Cyril Barrett, a much valued long standing Band member who supported the Band for 80 years.

They also came 2nd in the Championship section of the contest with a performance of the challenging test piece “Da Vinci” which had been commissioned for the 500th anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci arriving in Amboise.  The Swiss composer Ludovic Neurohyr was also one of the adjudicating panel.

Immediately after their test piece performance the band had to play a concert in the bandstand beneath the walls of the beautiful Château d'Amboise.   A large crowd heard a programme that opened with the fanfare” Heroes Return” followed by a xylophone solo “The Joyful Skeleton” played with the soloist James Stammers wearing a skeleton suit!   The overture “Fusion”, an arrangement of Beatles music by David Johnson, the elegiac “Peace Perfect Peace” and Dave Brubeck’s jazz work “Blue Rondo a la Turk” delighted the audience, many of whom were unfamiliar with British Brass Bands.

The annual Pond Concert season starts for the band on 12 Sunday June at 7.15pm in The Square in Aldbourne.  They will be joined by the Aldbourne Youth Band and the French Open trophies will be on display.  The concert is free so bring a chair and come and enjoy the music of the award winning Aldbourne Band.

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"Wiltshire's Story in 100 objects" collects county-wide treasures & visual history - and that amazing silver Cup

The Lacock Cup in its glass caseThe Lacock Cup in its glass caseThe main treasure in the current exhibition at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes - Wiltshire's Story in 100 Objects - is the featured Lacock Cup.  And it truly is the most amazing object - glorious workmanship from the distant past.

The Cup is now owned jointly by the British Museum and the Wiltshire Museum - make sure to see it in this exhibition before it goes back to London.  It is described as one of the most significant pieces of secular English medieval silver.

It had been used as a communion chalice at St Cyriac's Church in Lacock until the church needed to raise money for repairs.  After a legal challenge to the proposed sale from a local resident, it went for £1.3million.  

Two replicas have been made - one for the church and one for the Wiltshire Museum when the original is not displayed there.   The one on display in this exhibition is the real thing.  

When the Rector of St Cyriac's spoke at the official opening of the exhibition, he told how people in Lacock missed 'their Cup' and that there were still people in the village who remembered taking communion from the Cup.

The exhibition - inspired by the British Museum/BBC's Story of the World in a 100 Objects - is the result of a close partnership between the county's museums.  Beyond the Cup, there is a host of intriguing and rare objects from 25 Wiltshire museums and galleries that tell the county's story in very different ways.  

Loans for the exhibition have been made for two years so the exhibition can tour the county.  And in some ways the exhibition is as much about the county's museums and galleries as about its history.

The exhibits have been divided into ten themes - from beliefs and ideas, through rule and rulers, to food and farming.   The variety of objects is breath taking - each one, with its succinct caption - needing time to place it in its period and context.

Marlborough - which so far has no proper museum or gallery - is represented by two Civil War lead bullets dating from the siege of 1642 that were later extracted from the walls of St Mary's Church.  Though somewhat more tangentially connected, there are two other important Marlborough items.

Civil War bullets from St Mary's Church wallsCivil War bullets from St Mary's Church walls  The cut halfpenny minted in Marlborough is on the leftThe cut halfpenny minted in Marlborough is on the left

There is Michael Ayrton's well-known portrait of William Golding - Nobel Laureate and Marlborough's best known novelist.  And there is a minute 'Silver cut halfpenny of Matilda, 1139-1148'.   This was minted in Marlborough - when the castle was still in royal hands.  The tiny, rather bent half coin was not found in Marlborough but in Box.

Other eye-catching objects covering a huge span of time include:  a pack of cards telling soldiers using Salisbury Plain how to behave (1990-200).  A Neolithic flint knife found at Windmill Hill near Avebury (c3650-3550BC.)   The early twentieth century works sign for Scout Motors - Salisbury's once-but-then-bankrupt motor vehicle manufacturer.  


And a crotal bell made in about 1800 in Aldbourne.  Attached to animals and carts since early medieval days, these bells had an iron ball inside the case which sounded whenever it was moved - a necessary early warning system especially after dark.

The exhibition is open until July 16: Mondays-Saturdays 10.00am to 5.00pm - Sundays 12noon to 4.00pm.  The Museum's normal admission prices apply.

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