Muddy Guide: Thurs 25-Weds 31 August
Somerset Rocks, Taunton, Fri 26-Sun 28 August
Get that air guitar out of the back of the wardrobe: Status Quo are here. So are Will Young and Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. They’ll all be on stage this weekend in Taunton’s Vivary Park in aid of local charity St Margaret’s Hospice. Scouting for Girls and Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel will be in support. You can buy tickets from Ticketline 0844 888 9991 or from St Margaret’s Hospice shops throughout Somerset.
6pm each night. Tickets vary from night to night; from £41.25. Vivary Park, Vivary Road, Taunton, TA1 3JW. somersetrocks.co.uk
Monmouth Rebellion, Forde Abbey, Chard, Sat 27 and Sun 28 August
Zap! That’s the sound of you and the kids going through a time warp back to 1685 as the Taunton Garrison prepare for battle with the rebels of the Monmouth Rebellion (recap: they want to overthrow the king). You’ll be able to visit the encampment, taste their food, do a Pike drill and find out why a previous owner of Forde Abbey found himself locked in the Tower of London on a charge of high treason – and why Judge Jeffreys demanded a fortune to save him from the gallows.
10am-4pm £10 adults; free for children under 15; Forde Abbey, Chard, TA20 4LU. Tel 01460 22031.fordeabbey.co.uk
Great Dorset Steam Fair, nr Blandford Forum, Dorset, Thurs 25-Mon 29 August
I took the Muddies here when we first moved to the West Country and we were all completely blown away by the enormous, impressive event. It stretches as far as the eye can see (6oo acres) and the air is filled with the sound and smell of hundreds and hundreds of steam-powered engines, funfair rides, fabulous fairground organs (take a camera) and agricultural machines. There are stunt riders (motor bikes and monster trucks), displays and demonstrations, live music (6 stages) and a modern fairground. It’s particularly spectacular at night. Alright, I know it’s in Dorset but it’s too good not to include.
Tickets, adults from £10 (evening) £16.50 (day); children 6-15 free (evening), £7 (day). Tarrant Hinton, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT118HX. gdsf.co.uk
Live from the lawn, Tyntesfield, Wraxall, Sat 27-Mon 29 August
Two-tone ska Ranking Roger and The Beat is appearing in the third Live from the Lawn music festival in the grounds of National Trust Property Tyntesfield House on Sat 27 August. Listen out for songs from their new studio album Bounce on release in September. Show of Hands return with Walk with Me – the Big Autumn Tour on Sun 28 August. There are children’s activities too.
The Sound of Music, Bristol Hippodrome, Tues 30 August-Sat 3 Sept
Singing Nuns, nasty Nazis and lederhosen made out of curtains…if these are a few of your favourite things, then head up Bristol way next week to see Lucy O’Byrne (The Voice) as Maria and Andrew Lancel (Frank Foster in Corrie) as the Baron in one of the greatest family musicals of all time.
7.30pm. Matinees Weds & Sat 2.30pm. From £16.50.Bristol Hippodrome, St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol BS1 4UZ. atgtickets.com
Bowlore Mediaeval Weekend, Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Sat 27-Mon 29 August
When they’re not putting together their pressed flower collections, the male Muddies love nothing more than watching grown men dressed as medieval soldiers fighting each other with gruesome looking weaponry – and then getting their own hands on assorted swords and bow and arrows. If your kids are the same, at least part of the weekend’s sorted.
10am. Admission with usual entrance: adults £7.95; children 5-18 £3.30. Bishop’s Palace, Market Place, Wells BA5 2PD. Tel 01749 988111. bishopspalace.org.uk
The Libertine, Theatre Royal, Bath, Weds 31 August-Sat 17 Sept
See it in the West country before it transfers to the West End: Dominic Cooper (Warcraft, Mamma Mia!, Fleming) stars as notorious rogue John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester, whose life of debauchery knows no bounds…until he meets a young gel (played by the beautifully named Ophelia Lovibond) who might possibly be the one to tame him. Find out if she succeeds: buy a ticket.
7.30pm Mon-Sat. Matinees Thurs & Sat (excl 1 Sept) 2.30pm. From £24.50. Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET. Tel 01225 448844. theatreroyal.org.uk
Canterbury Tales, The Bishop’s Palace,Wells, Sat 27 August
Five actors, 70 characters in The Pantaloon’s fast-paced production of Chaucer’s classic tale. Expect puppets, music, magic, mayhem, belly laughs, talking chickens and burnt bottoms.
7.30pm. £14 adult; £10 under 16s; £42 2 adults/2 under 16s. Bishop’s Palace, Market Place, Wells BA5 2PD. Tel 01749 988111. bishopspalace.org.uk
Watchet Live Music Festival, Watchet, Fri 26-Sun 28 August
Family-friendly music festival this Bank Holiday weekend up on the West Somerset coast. Now in it’s 10th year, there will be three stages, over 50 live acts, camping, etc. This year’s headliners include UB40 (Friday), The Feeling (Saturday) and The Levellers (Sunday). Sunday’s fancy dress theme is ‘comic characters’. Profits to charity.
The Down, Brendon Road, Watchet TA23 0HS. watchetfestival.co.uk