This month

JULY

Jess Glynne, Wincanton Racecourse, Sat 1 July

The woman with the big voice live at Wincanton Racecourse in celebration of the racecourse’s 150th birthday. With support from Radio 2 DJ Sara Cox and upcoming artists Kiko Bun and Mullally. Surely no place you’d rather be?

The Frome Independent Market, the streets of Frome, Sun 2 July

Much, much more than a market – the Frome Independent’s just been voted the Best Family Attraction in Somerset in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2o17.  Designer-maker and vintage stalls, seasonal local produce, musicians,  street food, creative workshops, the vintage mobile disco and this month a world record attempt!  Go see what all the fuss is about.

David Walliams’ First Hippo On the Moon, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Sun 2 July

Based on the best-selling book and its original illustrations, this space adventure for kids aged 3 and over has two big hippos sharing one enormous dream:  to make it first to the moon. Worth a pop? Read the Muddy review and decide.

Dirty Dancing, Bristol Hippodrome, Mon 3-Sat 8 July

At a holiday resort with ma and pa in the summer of ’63,  17-year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman stumbles across an all night staff dance party. Mesmerised by the raunchy moves  – and raunchy dance instructor Johnny Castle – she’s soon having the time of her life. Steamy dancing; let’s hope the theatre’s air con is working.

La Traviata, BP Big Screens/Royal Opera House, Bristol Millenium Square, Tues 4 July

Beautiful Parisien courtesan prepares to make the ultimate sacrifice for lurve. One of the live, free outdoor screenings from the ROH to the rest of us. Bring a picnic, bring a friend.  Arrive around 6.30pm for 7pm start.

NASS, Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Thurs 6-Sun 9 July

Skateboarders, BMXers and ravers collide (not literally, hopefully) in this huge action sports music fest.

The Third Policeman, Merlin Theatre, Frome, Thurs 6 July; Wellow Recreation Ground, Fri 7 July

An Irish Alice in Wonderland? A trippy Father Ted? This bonkers comic adventure is not to be missed! See the Muddy review. 

Samphire Festival, Exmoor, nr Minehead, Fri 7-Sun 9 July

An eclectic live and electronic line-up headlined by Crazy P, The Correspondants and Resonators, street food, giant human snakes and ladders,  films, yoga, immersive theatre – and samphire foraging, of course in this small but award-winning festival named after a salty seaside veg.

Go Wild in the Country, Bruton Art Factory, Bruton, Fri 7 July- Sat 29 July

BAF’s summer show – 70 artists, 150 artworks – opens next Friday at 5pm with a surprise DJ…

Frome Festival, venues around Frome, Fri 7-Sun 16 July

The funky Bollywood Brass Band opens the 17th Frome Festival with an extravaganza of Indian dance, film and food. The fun continues over the week with the likes of  Mock the Week‘s Andy Parsons,  Jeremy Hardy, The Wonderstuff,  Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Germaine Green, Gyles Brandreth, Felicity Lott, Stephanie Cole, Ann Widdicombe and local talent.

Fly 4 Heroes, Henstridge Airfield, nr Templecombe, Sat 8 July

Be a magnificent (wo)man in a flying machine for half an hour.  30 minute flights over the Dorset countryside cost £40, in aid of Help for Heroes: Classic car display too.

The Empty Chair, The Cooper Hall, Frome, Sat 8 July

Two Persons find their world turned upside-down by the mysterious silence of an empty chair. The Troupe Collective developed this intriguing family musical adventure during a residency at The Cooper Hall last year and will be performing it at Snape Maltings in Suffolk and the Sptitfields Music Festival as well as here in Frome.

There and Back Again – An Odessey, the egg, Bath, Sat 8 & Sun 9 July

Ulysses and his mates go on a fantastic voyage and outwit the fates to find his way home. Homer’s epic adventure recreated using table-top props and puppets.

Sandwiches in the Sand, Theatre Royal Bath, Tues 11-Sat 15 July

Photo:Geraint Lewis

One man play about the life and times of poet laureate Sir John Betjeman with multi-award winning actor Sir Edward Fox as guess who.

Open air Shakespeare, Glastonbury Abbey, 12-16 July

In what must be one of the most spectacular settings for outdoor thespian activity: Durham University’s Castle Theatre Company’s  A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Weds 12 Jul) and the Butterfly Theatre company’s promenade production of Romeo & Juliet, Fri 14, Sat 15 & Sun 16 July).

Yeovil Show, Yeovil Showground, Sat 15 & Sun 16 July

Cossack stunt riders, hot air balloons, Lancaster bomber flypast, farmyard animals aplenty strutting their stuff – and the very symbol of the countryside: Titan the Robot.

Hauser & Wirth Summer Party,  Bruton, Sat 15 & Sun 16 July

Gallery, restaurant and farm come together for family fun in the true country fair tradition: vintage fairground, circus skills  and arty crafty workshops, the Flying Seagull project (music, dance, games), magician Ginger Magic, musical acts aplenty – plus DJ, Roth Bar & Grill BBQ and celebratory fireworks !

The Roman Baths by torchlight, Roman Baths, Mon 17 July- Thurs 31 August

Soak up the atmos of the torchlit Great Bath over the summer – the Roman Baths are open until 10pm. On the first night of the evening opening, you can  and try out various archaeologically themed activities if the mood takes you as part of the national Festival of Archaeology.

Melvyn Tan, Forde Abbey, Chard, Thurs 20 July

Renowned Singaporean born British pianist plays Scarlatti, Beethoven and Chopin and more in the Great Hall.  Part of the Abbey’s season of classical concerts throughout the summer.

Angels in America Pt 1, NT Live Screening, various venues across Somerset,Thurs 20 July

America in the mid-1980s. In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, New Yorkers grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.  Powerful stuff.

North by North West, Theatre Royal Bath, Fri 21 July

OK, this version doesn’t have Bristol boy Cary Grant in it but the show, premiering in the UK here in Bath has every twist, thrill and hairsbreadth escape from the Hitchcock classic. Suave ad man Roger O Thornhill is abducted by thugs who insist he’s George Kaplan. They don’t believe there’s been a mix up, try to kill him, pin a murder on him so it’s time to run. Intrigued how they’ll handle the killer crop sprayer  in the maize field scene.

Somerset Gin Festival, Westlands, Yeovil, Fri 21 & Sat 22 July

Over 100 different gins, including Newton House Gin, which you may be surprised to discover is distilled in the grounds of a Jacobean manor house on the outskirts of Yeovil, plus food, live music and gin masterclasses. See you there…

Bristol Harbour Festival, Fri 21-Sun 23 July

Arts, circus, dance, music, boats, nautical capers, good food, drink and general high jinx in and around Bristol’s harbourside.

Here be Dragons, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, Sat 22 July-Sun 8 October

Chris Riddell (Ottaline and Goth Girl) and Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo) to Quentin Blake and Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon) are just some of the famous illustrators and writers whose magical creatures will be on display in this new exhibition. Eight virtual dragon’s eggs will be hidden around the city for you to find using the gallery’s free app.

Mister Maker & The Shapes Live, The Octagon, Yeovil, Sun 23 July

CBeebies Mr Maker brings his hit show and his Shapes to Yeovil where mini makers and adults too (if you really must) can sing, dance and get to join in a gigantic ‘make’.

Farmfest, Gilcombe Farm, nr Bruton, Fri 28-Sat 29 July

Now in its 12th year, this pocket-sized festival in a few fields just outside Bruton, showcases emerging and established genre-defying artists in seven venues, along with comedy, kids’ discos, chill time workshops and theatrical wig-outs.

Loudon Wainright III, Cheese & Grain, Frome, Fri 28 July

The veteran troubadour (and father to Rufus and Martha) comes to Frome with Chaim Tannenbaum and David Mansfield in his only non-festival UK show.

Music in the Marquee, The Red Lion Inn, Babcary, Sat 29 July

Soul, funk, jazz and pop from seven world class session musicians led by Pete Long, musical director of Ronnie Scott’s, in the gorgeous marquee in the grounds of the Red Lion pub in Babcary. These guys (and gal) have played with Lionel Ritchie, Jools Holland, Paloma Faith, Jamie Cullum, Stereophonics and more. Scoff a BBQ beforehand and dance to a DJ till the clocks strike 12.

Upfest 2017, venues around Bristol, Sat 29-Mon 31 July

Europe’s largest, free, street art and graffiti festival takes place this weekend. Over 300 artists from 30 countries will paint on 30,000 sq ft of surfaces in 35 venues throughout Bedminster & Southville. Plus live entertainment, children’s workshops including Morph making sessions in association with Aardman and an affordable art fair area.

Michael McIntyre: work in progress,  Merlin Theatre, Frome, Mon 31 July

Big name in Frome this week: Michael Mcintyre’s warming up before his stadium tour.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset