A New Hope Music Festival. – 17th, 18th and 19th June 2016 – The Carlton Tavern #chesterculture

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The Carlton Tavern, with support from the local music community and chestergigs.com are proud to announce that they will be running a 3 day live music festival starting this Friday, starting at 5pm.

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The event gets off to a cracking start with quality acoustica from Captain Andy Hignett and Dai Banjo, punchy indie from The Jigsaws & Brazen Swagger, Chester Hip Hop from Vil and ending with The Daymons bringing the love, harmonics and a bit of brass to the proceedings.

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On Saturday there’s another packed schedule starting with Carlton favourites and open mic hosts  Bean Rule & Mark Henderson, Urgent modfolk acoustica from Paul Williams, Action Transfers frontman Ian O’ Brien will be bringing 30 years of musical class, plus more leftfield leanings from Shem Sharples and Thor Brown.

After some punky grunge from Ryuko, the event finishes with Wrexham’s synth punk joy Def Neon.

On Sunday Chester Soul Club will be taking over for an afternoon of six decades of Funk & Soul, all on original vinyl. Mark Howell & Russ Hughes are your spinning winners for this Sunday daytime treat.

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And later on Sunday evening, Bean Rule will be hosting an Open Mic session featuring some of the cream of Chester’s gtass roots community.

The venue is completely free entry all weekend will be supplying free munch to soak up the beer and the music.

Come And Join The Alliance.



#chesterculture – Alexander’s Live, Loud and Local Festival – Sunday 29th May 2016 

Alexander’s Live, Loud & Local Festival is an outdoor, independent music festival taking place on Sunday 29th May 2016, live music from midday till midnight across two separate stages – come rain or shine, there is guaranteed to be something on show for everyone.

With a bill featuring over 20 of the finest acts from across the North West & North Wales, live music fans will have the chance to catch homegrown Hip-hop from VIL; red blooded synth rock from Def Neon; scuzzy garage punk from Chupa Cabra and foot-stomping Blues from The Terry Burgin Blues Band. Alongside the sinister outbursts of SPQR; riotous psych-rock of PSYBLINGS; the captivating talent of Jon Coley and the eccentric alt-rock of Elevant.

img_0815The audacious funk of Liverpool’s 12-piece funk battalion, Galactic Funk Militia will be closing the evening, as their thumping dance floor smashers explode with horns and electric guitar, while liquid ballads seduce your ears with sensuous synth and exquisite melody. All driven by impulsive groove, quick-fire rap gymnastics and completed by the incredible voice of Amber Kuti.


After their impressive performance at this years’s Gathering Festival, emerging buzz-band Greenroom (and Alexander’s Live house favourites) will also be headlining our outdoor stage.

There will also be a variety of independent stalls from local businesses on show, face painting and fun-filled activities for the whole family and a pop-up bar/BBQ serving Alexander’s locally sourced burgers!


Festival wristbands cost only £6 and can be bought in-house or online here

Full line-up with full band bio’s and further info can be found here

#chesterculture – A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That – Friday 1st July to Sunday 3rd July 2016

Ever wondered about the true scope of what they do at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden?

Join them for ‘A little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That’, a weekend long event held from Friday 1st July to Sunday 3rd July 2016.

During this weekend you’ll experience a typical slice of discussion at Gladstone’s Library.

A wonderful compendium of thoughts starting with bestselling novelist Salley Vickers whose works include the international word-of-mouth bestseller Miss Garnet’s Angel which became a favourite among book clubs and reading groups.

Salley will introduce and read from her eagerly-anticipated new novel,Cousins, which follows three generations of the Tye family as they are forced to come to terms with the true nature of inheritance – both genetic and behavioural.

John McEllhenney and Susan Fogarty explore the doubting-belief of the great Welsh poet R.S. Thomas, an Anglican vicar who wrestled ceaselessly with problems of faith and doubt in his poetry.

It is not too much of a leap from R.S. Thomas to Peter Francis’ talk about Honest Faith – claiming that no supernatural beliefs are true and presenting Christianity as a rational philosophy of life.

william_ewart_gladstone_-_project_gutenberg_etext_13103There is a significant Victorian slant to the weekend as well with Chair of Gladstone’s Library Michael Wheeler presenting Florence Nightingale as a great reformer, the founder of modern nursing and a noted liberal Christian.

Louisa Yates talks reading, journeying through Gladstone’s Literary Life by imagining his typical week. She addresses how such a busy man could possibly have read the 22,000 books he noted in his diaries.

The weekend concludes with a discussion about ‘liberal values’ in which Michael Wheeler and Peter Francis ask whether the word ‘liberal’ still has any meaning in the contemporary world.

Residential prices start from £202, non-residential from £150. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For further information visit http://www.gladlib.co.uk , call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org

#chesterculture – The Lost Carnival 2016 – Saturday 28th, Sunday 29th and Monday 30th May 2016 – #thelostcarnival

Over a century after the mysterious Lost Carnival disappeared, The Lost Carnival will appear at Queen’s Park this May. For three short nights only, you can step into a world unlike any other in this large-scale outdoor immersive theatre experience from award-winning producers Wild Rumpus (Just So Festival) and So It Is (Bury Met, Ramsbottom Festival), brought to life by theatre partner LAS Theatre.

The Battle of the Carnivals is a story beyond your wildest imagination.

Meet The Birds and The Ingénues – two rival carnival families battling for supremacy. Expect spellbinding theatre and enthralling installations, circus, music, visual trickery and sideshows.

The Birds and the Ingénues, have been scouring the world to recruit some incredible performers who will join them as they battle to be crowned the most glorious carnival ever. It’s time to pin your colours to the mast. #teamingénue or #teambird?

Browse their family albums, get costume ideas, make a choice who to support and help decide the most incredible contest in carnival history at http://www.thelostcarnival.org.uk.

The Birds exude mystery and swagger, dark glamour and intoxicating performance. They are out to clear their name after being accused of sabotage at the 2015 Lost Carnival in Bury. Encounter the charismatic leader of The Bird Carnival, Sergei Bird, their glittering star and aerial gymnast Anastasiya Abramovich and the mischevious Maks Mager the magician at the event. Also performing for #teambird are incredible circus artist and trampoline acrobat Max Calaf Seve, master multi-tasker Rimski on his unique bicycle piano and La Sibylle, a curious female prophetess.

The Ingénues seem to be the heroes of the story with sequins, sparkle and colourful shine aplenty. Look out for Popo Ingénue, the Ingénue Carnival’s inspirational and adventurous leader, Strongman Ivor Pavlov and the impeccable Clare V’oyant at the event. Also performing for #teamingénue are Pif Paf Theatre with Planetary – 3 travellers on their spinning planet forged from 80 metres of steel pipe – plus unforgettable aerial tree-top performance and ground acrobatics from Whispering Woods.
Getting the entire carnival crowd going will be the infectious Voodoo Love Orchestra with their big band sounds, plus many other intriguing acts. Show your support for The Birds or The Ingénues throughout the evening (they will need your help) and witness a thrilling culmination if you dare.

David Agnew, Producer of The Lost Carnival and Director of So It Is says “We can’t wait to step into the unforgettable world of the Lost Carnival this May and welcome audiences for an evening of adventure as two of the greatest carnivals of all time battle for your affections. The Birds and the Ingénues need your family to decide who you will support. Share with your family and friends which carnival family you think should reign supreme using #teambird #teamingenue and #thelostcarnival. We are now counting down the days to find out who will win The Battle of the Carnivals.”

Keep your ears to the ground for more news in … all we can reveal is get your dancing shoes ready.

Start listening to the fictional radio documentary podcasts by sleuth Arthur Bird at http://www.thelostcarnival.org.uk. Follow the story and use the podcasts and clues to uncover the carnival’s mysteries. Tell Arthur what you think on The Lost Carnival Facebook page to help influence the drama and investigation in advance and at the live event.

Buy tickets, choose which family you will support, follow the podcast, intriguing clues, secret messages, dressing up and reading inspiration. The adventure starts now!

The Lost Carnival
Saturday 28th, Sunday 29th and Monday 30th May 2016
Queen’s Park, Crewe

Under 3 years: Free
Follow The Lost Carnival on Facebook and Twitter #thelostcarnival.

#chesterculture – DemFest – Gladstone’s Library – Friday 13th May and Saturday 14th May 2016.

A brand new festival will be making its debut in Hawarden next month.

The Democracy Festival will be held at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden on Friday 13th May and Saturday 14th May 2016.

DemFest, run in partnership with The Raymond Williams Foundation and The Democratic Society, is a space to meet people, develop fairer and more participatory forms of politics, and enjoy a range of democracy-related cultural events. demfest

At DemFest you will have a chance to think, get-together and talk with others with similar interests or projects. You won’t just hear a party line, DemFest is non-partisan and independent.

Why now? We are living in tumultuous times. The UK may be on the brink of fracturing and leaving the European Union, power and resources are increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and the gulf between the UK’s main political parties is rapidly widening.

Meanwhile, myriad possibilities for new forms of democratization are opening up. Whether through experimentation at community level, developments in online technology or the growing public appetite for more collaborative and less hierarchical ways of living, DemFest is about getting together to explore, celebrate and help re-make democracy for our times.

An affordable festival (prices range from free to £6) aiming to engage and provide a forum for discussion for those of all ages and backgrounds; but you won’t hear a party line; DemFest is non-partisan, independent, and not-for-profit.

Guests include Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party; Peter McFadyen, author of Flatpack Democracy and Robin McApline from Common Weal, a ‘think and do tank’ campaigning for social and economic equality in Scotland.

Confirmed events include Women and Protest, exploring women’s particular history of protest, objection and defiance from Suffrage to SlutWalks; Futures of European Democracy, considering the future of the UK in Europe; State of Emergency: War, Terror and Democracy, defining the responsibilities of ‘democratic’ states in the contexts of migration, asylum and war; and Democratization and the Media, asking what needs to happen to ensure our media is democratic.

There are also a number of free audio and video playback sessions from past events at Gladstone’s Library, including talks from ex-Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti, crossbench Peer, Lord Peter Hennessey, and the Library’s Founder’s Day discussion, hosted by Lloyd Grossman.

For more information and to book online visit www.demfest.org.  man-dual

Gladstone’s Library
Friday 13th May and Saturday 14th May.
Tickets are priced between free and £6 with a £2 Concessions rate.
Day Tickets are priced at £45 (including 10 events) or £15 for Concessions.
Alternatively, contact Gladstone’s Library on 01244 532350 or enquiries@gladlib.org.

#chesterculure – Pride In The Park Family Fun Day – Saturday 7th May 2016


Chester Pride will be hosting free events in Grosvenor Park this Summer in support of the main Chester Pride festival on 1st October.

‘Pride in the Park’ events will run May to September, with the first fundraiser being  a family fun day on Saturday 7th May. 13119104_919755441472138_7672609170239588888_n

The day will include a children’s disco, Tai Chi taster sessions, swing dancing with Chester Swing Dance Society, a demonstration from Cheshire Hellcats Roller Derby, and fun activities with Brio Leisure. Big Heritage will also be there with their Roman Medicine Roadshow, plus there will be arts and crafts, stalls and more. The fun day will take place from 12-4pm near the activity centre.

Helen Pickin-Jones, Chair of Chester Pride, said ‘Pride is a celebration of diversity and support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, so it’s important that the Pride festival in October remains a free event so everyone who wants to attend can. This does mean that we rely on sponsors, funding and fundraising events so we hope that people come along to a fundraiser to support us – and there is something for everyone from family fun days, to singing contests, to a live music evening in Grosvenor Park.’

Fun days will also take place in July, August and September, featuring activities such as the first Chester Pride ‘Bake-Off’ style competition and Chester Pride’s Got Talent.

A special evening event Pride in the Park ‘Park Sounds’ will take place on Saturday 18 June with a Tai Chi taster to start followed by live music from Jess Ball and acclaimed band Heal the Last Stand before they head off to play Glastonbury.

Details of all the Pride in the Park events, and other upcoming fundraisers, can be found on the Chester Pride website http://www.chesterpride.co.uk or follow Chester Pride UK on facebook or via twitter @chesterpride.

Pride In The Park Family Fun Day
Saturday 7th May 2016.
Grosvenor Park

#ChesterCulture – Eggs on Pegs Trail

Chester is awash with colour this Spring with hundreds of ‘eggs on pegs’ hanging in city centre shops and windows hidden there by CH1BID.
Find ten ‘eggs on pegs’ and be in with a chance to win an annual family membership to Chester Zoo* where you might even spot real animal eggs!

How do I take part?

Download the Eggs on Pegs entry form here or pick up a form from the Visitor Information Centre and other city centre shops and cafes, click here for help with egg locations and forms.
Enjoy the adventure of spotting eggs and complete your entry form saying where you found them and submit your form by dropping it in to the Visitor Information Centre, via email to competitions@ch1chesterbid.co.uk or via post to CH1ChesterBID, 9 Lower Bridge St, Chester, CH1 1RS

*terms and conditions apply

Chester City Centre

25th March to 17th April 2016


RENT raises the bar at the Forum Theatre

Last night the young company of Tip Top Productions blew the roof off the Forum Theatre with their sharp and powerful school’s edition of RENT the musical. As the title suggests, the story focuses on the hardships of tenants in New York, roommates Mark and Roger. Over the course of a year, friends and lovers, some new and some old, will face whatever life throws at them at the turn of the nineties, right in the middle of the AIDS epidemic.

Connor Grace anchored the entire musical as narrator and central character Mark, whose turmoil over his ex girlfriend Maureen, now turned lesbian, battles against his dream of being a professional filmmaker. His roommate Roger was portrayed by Jake Hankey, and the pair sang superbly with authentic rock and roll voices and impressive American accents. Josh Hankey took the role of Benny, their up-and-coming young landlord, ever demanding the rent, and his stoic characterization present a stark contrast between the bohemian tenants and the new wave of cyber-capitalism sweeping the nation.

Catriona Hogg took on the role of Roger’s new flame Mimi, whose heroin addiction and struggle with AIDS results in a wild and impetuous lifestyle. Catriona was sultry and feisty in the part, with great charm and vocal talent. The role of Joanne, new girlfriend of Mark’s ex, Maureen, was Abigail Sherratt’s duty, and she performed the more mature role of a New York attorney with gravitas and great characterization. Maureen, in all her totally mad glory, was portrayed by Brogan Craine, who belted out some incredible notes, particularly in the anthem ‘Take Me For What I Am’.

For me, however, the standout roles of this particular production belonged to Alex Aram as Tom Collins and Dominic Melluish as Angel. The relationship between an MIT dropout and a drag queen who drums on the streets was played out tenderly and with great emotional depth. Dominic’s Angel was enigmatic from the word go, lighting up the stage with an electric presence that demanded attention. Coupled with Alex’s understated yet deeply emotional portrayal of Collins, both in love and in grief, this perfect pair were a powerhouse of talent.

The production also contained a superbly talented supporting cast, who used every inch of the clever staging to fill the small studio theatre with sound and motion. Sian Baines was particularly hilarious as TV mogul Alexi Darling and Leah Dovey-Evans was delightful as Mark’s overbearing Jewish mother. Every voice in the cast was unique and melodious, and the combination of the whole company singing together is an unmissable treat. Directors Simon Phillips and Laura Roberts have outdone themselves with this slick and highly professional standard production, so be sure to get down there before all the good seats are taken.

RENT the musical continues at the Forum theatre until February 20th. Grab your tickets at http://www.tiptopproductions.co.uk/

Chester’s 2016 Food Drink and Lifestyle FEST

The Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle festival is fast approaching. March 26-28, 2016 at The Chester Racecourse.

This popular annual event is sponsored by Taste Cheshire and includes Chef demos, free kids cooking classes, a camp on site (CamperFest) and of course loads of great food and drink!!

Exhibitors come from all over the country to display their wares. A few of the local stalls will include Deva Craft Brewery of Sandycroft, the well known Cheshire Cheese company, Cheshire Farm Ice Cream Pen-Y-Lan sausages and many many more.

This year the stage will feature Simon Rimmer, star of Sunday Brunch, as the headline Chef.

Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm as well as Monday 10am-5pm

Tickets are available online at:  chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk




Photos from last years Food Drink and Lifestyle in Chester:

Lindsey from Deva Craft Beer – looking forward to this event!


enCompass Collective Circumstances Tour

Hello and Happy New Year!IMG_3473
We are very happy to announce that we are going on tour! The first date of the tour isTuesday 23rd February 7.30pm at The Capstone Theatre in Liverpool. We shall be touring our three full length works; Room(s) to move, Our Bodies In Space and Circumstances Brought Me Here. These works have been created in collaboration with Evelyn Jamieson, Lauren Tucker and The University of Chester.

For more details please see the poster below and to book hit the link! Please share amongst your networks and spread the word.


We hope to see you there! Please don’t hesitate to email us if you need anymore information. 
All the best,
Josh Slater & Eleanor Russell