Simonsbath Festival – List of Events

Poetry at St Luke’s – Wednesday June 11 – 7.30pm

José Emilio Pacheco 1939 – 2014

Building on the success of last year’s event, the North Devon Poetry Workshop returns to Simonsbath Festival with another informal session, presenting a series of poems by members on various themes and inviting poems from the floor after the interval.  Everyone with an interest in poetry is most welcome, especially poets, readers and writers inspired by Exmoor.

The publication last December of the first-ever Exmoor-based contemporary poetry anthology –Midnight Skies – Exmoor in Verse – has generated interest both locally and further afield.  The launch of the anthology was a manifestation of the power of poetry – its ability to bring people together and create a unique community through the particular means of communication that this medium offers.

Refreshments available and an optional light snack costing £4 may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Admission: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; minimum suggested donation £5 for unreserved seating; 14 year-olds and under free.

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Aji Pa’Ti – Saturday May 31 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s 

Outstanding 10-piece band Ají Pa’Ti brings the exciting beat and rhythms of world music and the unmistakable sound of Cuba to Simonsbath Festival.

Ají Pa’Ti is a truly international band with members from Cuba, Colombia, Australia and Britain performing a mix of ancient and modern, folklore and tropical, Latin American and European music.  The distinctive sound of the charango – the small Bolivian Andean lute, guitar and ukulele blends with the driving rhythm section of percussion and bass, while the voice of Cuban lead singer Indira Roman rises effortlessly above the classic Latin American polyrhythms.

Refreshments and a light Cuban-style supper, prepared by Exmoor’s own Cordon Bleu trained Frances Chanter, will be available at approximately 6pm, after the workshop and before the evening’s concert, and may be booked in advance by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Admission: £15 to reserve the seat of your choice; standard tickets £10 (student/unemployed £7.50); 14 year-olds and under FREE.

Combined ticket to include Aji Pa’Ti concert and DrumNation workshop (4-6pm at Simonsbath Sawmill): Adults: £12.50 (Concessionary £10); 14 year-olds and under £3.

Alaudiae – Saturday May 17 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s

Sopranos Carleen Ebbs and Claire Egan and mezzo soprano Miranda Westcott, who form the vocal trio Alaudiae, perform a selection of trios, duets and solos from the sacred, song and operatic repertoire encompassing a musical journey through the 16th to 20th centuries, accompanied by pianist Charlotte Forrest.

Refreshments available and an optional canapé selection, costing £5 and prepared by Exmoor’s own Cordon Bleu trained Frances Chanter, may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Admission: £15 to reserve the seat of your choice; standard tickets £10 (student/unemployed £7.50); 14 year-olds and under FREE.

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John Burgess – Wednesday May 21 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s

Voices from the Moor

Oral history specialist and former BBC Radio producer John Burgess presents a selection of recordings he has made over the years of local people telling their own personal stories about life on Exmoor, including  the Simonsbath area,  with tales about the school, the old mine cottages and stories connected to the First World War.

Refreshments available and an optional light snack costing £4 may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Admission: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; minimum suggested donation £5 for unreserved seating; 14 year-olds and under free.

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Chris Chapman – Saturday May 10 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s

Film Premiere 

How Many People see the Stars as I do?  The Exmoor Story of Hope Bourne

Acclaimed photographer and documentary film maker Chris Chapman presents the premiere of his film about the legendary Exmoor writer and artist Hope Bourne, who for 24 years lived in a tiny caravan in remote isolation, leading a life of self-sufficiency, painting and sketching the moor, writing for the local paper and later combining this creativity in a remarkable series of books.

Refreshments available and a snack of produce exclusively sourced from Exmoor, costing £5 and prepared by Exmoor’s own Cordon Bleu trained Frances Chanter, may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Tickets: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; standard tickets £5; film sponsors and 14 year-olds and under FREE.

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Lord Douglas Hurd – Wednesday May 14 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s

Lord Douglas Hurd, who served in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major between 1979 and his retirement in 1995, shares personal reminiscences of his time in office and his special interest in the great 19th century Conservative politician and twice Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, about whom he has co-authored a best-selling biography.

 Refreshments available and an optional light snack costing £4 may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Admission: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; suggested minimum donation £5 for unreserved seating; 14 year-olds and under free.

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DrumNation – Saturday May 31 – 4-6pm – Simonsbath Sawmill 

Drumming and percussion workshop with Josh West

A high energy and fun-filled workshop for all ages and abilities, with a range of drums and percussion and some tuned melodic percussion provided, but you are welcome to bring your own instruments as well.

Adults: £5; 14 year-olds and under £3.   

Combined ticket to include DrumNation workshop and evening concert with Cuban band Ají Pa’T at 7.30pm St Luke’s Church Simonsbath: Adults: £12.50 (Concessionary £10); 14 year-olds and under £3.

Refreshments available during the break.

A light Cuban-style supper, prepared by Exmoor’s own Cordon Bleu trained Frances Chanter, will be available at approximately 6pm, after the workshop and before the evening’s concert, and may be booked in advance by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

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Victoria Eveleigh and Hilary Bradt –  Wednesday June 4 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s 

Saddlebags and Silver Snaffles

Equestrian tales, fact and fiction

Local authors Hilary Bradt and Victoria Eveleigh talk about the experiences and adventures that inspired them to write their much-loved books.

Victoria writes children’s fiction with horses and ponies as a central theme, guided by the conventions of storytelling, whereas Hilary’s recent books describe a journey with her ponies through Ireland, complete with all the things that real life can throw at you in an apparently random manner.

As Hilary and Victoria compared notes about horse stories in general and their own books in particular, they made some surprising discoveries…

Refreshments available and an optional light snack costing £4 may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Admission: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; minimum suggested donation £5 for unreserved seating; 14 year-olds and under free. 

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Karl Daymond – Saturday June 14 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s

Lowering the Tone

Opera Singer, pianist and actor Karl Daymond invites you to waste an evening with him in the company of Noel Coward, Tom Lehrer, Gilbert and Sullivan, Flanders and Swann and others.

Karl Daymond trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at The National Opera Studio, sponsored by Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He has appeared as a principal baritone with English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, at The Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Opera North, The BBC PROMS, Glyndebourne Festival, The Chicago Festival, The Covent Garden Festival, The Edinburgh Festival, The Dublin Festival, The Bath Festival and with The Philharmonia, The Royal Philharmonic, The London Sinfonietta and The Berlin Philharmonic.

Refreshments available and a “snack with attitude”, costing £5 and prepared by Exmoor’s own Cordon Bleu trained Frances Chanter, may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Admission: £15 to reserve the seat of your choice; standard tickets £10 (student/unemployed £7.50); 14 year-olds and under FREE.

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Les Petites Annonces – Saturday May 24 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s

Les Petites Annonces Gypsy Swing band performs an irresistibly delicious blend of French music from the foot tapping gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt’s famed Hot Club de France to the romantic chansons of the 1920s to 60s, including the wonderful Charles Trenet, and plenty more in between.

Refreshments are available and optional tapas snacks costing £5 and prepared by Exmoor’s own Cordon Bleu trained Frances Chanter, may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451. 

Admission: £15 to reserve the seat of your choice; standard tickets £10 (student/unemployed £7.50); 14 year-olds and under FREE.

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The Moorland Quartet – Sunday May 25 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s Sarah Greinig, Simon Routh, Barbara Pears and Ruth Lock with soprano Alison Routh

The Moorland Quartet was formed by local musician Barbara Pears.  Barbara attended the Guildhall School of Music where she gained a teaching diploma.  She taught violin and viola at Epsom College for 18 years and also taught for Surrey County.

Refreshments available and an optional light snack costing £4 may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Admission: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; minimum suggested donation £5 for unreserved seating; 14 year-olds and under free.

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 Geoff Nichols – Good Vibes – Wednesday June 18 – 8pm – Exmoor Forest Inn

Geoff Nichols brings his Swing jazz band Good Vibes to Simonsbath Festival 

“One of the great jazz players in this country today.”  Humphrey Lyttelton.

“One of the best . . . A pleasure to play alongside.”  Acker Bilk. 

Having led the legendary Avon Cities jazz band for many years, trumpet and vibes star Geoff Nichols turns to the Swing music of the 1930s and 40s to present his Good Vibes Band for the discerning jazz fans who require something more than the ordinary or just average.

The band’s style is built around the wonderful jazz sound of the vibraphone (or vibraharp, as it is known in the US), supplemented by the Swing-style trumpet and horn of the leader.

Included in the band’s programme will always be a selection of compositions by Gershwin, Porter, Kern, Berlin, plus some of Geoff’s own compositions, spiced with a handful of jazz classics from the 1920s.

Admission: free with a retiring collection.

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Paddy King-Fretts – Sunday June 1 – 6pm – Boevey’s Tea Rooms

‘Pimms with Paddy’

Paddy King-Fretts – man of Exmoor, soldier, traveller and writer – shares the story of his fascinating and eventful life in the friendly and informal atmosphere of Boevey’s Tea Rooms.

Brought up high in the wilds of Exmoor in the immediate post-war years, Paddy takes us back to the harsh existence of what life was like on the moor in those far-off days – before the advent of electricity, drainage or piped water – when two cart horses pulled the hay wain, years before the National Park.

He recounts vividly how this remote, solitary boyhood shaped his life, first as an infantryman and SAS soldier, then later as a writer about the moors we love.

Refreshments available during the interval and a light Ploughman’s with a selection of local cheeses, costing £5, may be booked in advance for the interval.

Admission: £5 (includes a glass of Pimms).

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Tom and Barbara Brown – Wednesday May 28 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s 

An Exmoor Garland

Ever-popular folk and traditional entertainers Tom and Barbara Brown present an evening of modern and traditional songs, stories, readings and music all about the ancient Forest of Exmoor and its ways of life.

Refreshments available and an optional light snack of a Ploughman’s Supper costing £7 may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Admission: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; minimum suggested donation £5 for unreserved seating; 14 year-olds and under free.

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Tamsin Waley-Cohen –  Saturday June 7 – 7.30pm – St Luke’s 

Virtuoso Violin

Supremely gifted violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen performs some of the greatest works for virtuoso violin on one of the world’s finest violins, her treasured Stradivarius, made in Cremonain 1721.  The violin was played for many years by the great Hungarian violinist Lorand Fenyves, with whom Tamsin studied at Prussia Cove.

Refreshments available and an optional snack during the interval may be booked in advance.

Admission: £15 to reserve the seat of your choice; standard tickets £10 (student/unemployed £7.50); 14 year-olds and under FREE.

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Two Skirts and a Sporran – Friday May 16 – 7.30pm – The Exmoor Forest Inn 

Light musical entertainment for a summer evening from the trio Two Skirts and a Sporran featuring James Ross on bass clarinet and flautists Barbara Wilson and Caroline Taylor. The concert includes popular jazz tunes by Gershwin, Rogers and Hart and Hoagy Carmichael; a selection of pop favourites by Abba and Elvis Presley; film tunes from The Thorn Birds, Robin Hood, All That Jazz; as well as a selection of popular classical pieces.


Admission: suggested donation £5

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Westcombe Brass – Friday May 9 – 6pm – St Luke’s 

Westcombe Brass are an accomplished young brass quintet who have previously given concerts at St Luke’s.  

As part of this year’s Simonsbath Festival they are running a series of workshops in local schools – Cutcombe First, Exford First and Dulverton Middle – and working towards this joint concert with the children.

The concert programme includes songs from the First World War and music composed during that era.

Refreshments available and an optional light snack, costing £4 and consisting of a Cornish pastry, delivered fresh from Cornwall by the trombone player’s family, together with a tub of Styles’s ice cream may be booked in advance for the interval by telephoning Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.  Free refreshments available for children.

Admission: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; suggested donation £5 for unreserved seating; 14 year-olds and under free.

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