Ahoy there you, Twickenham Festival is back. As we wait for the summer to get going (vainly hoping that it actually will) and ponder with enthusiasm on which lovely career-minded politician will be our country’s next glorious leader, we have a bloomin’ festival to be getting on with. You’ll spot the official festival guide in shops and cafes around town but we’ve highlighted a few things to boost your moral fibre. There’s loads going on.
It usually all heaves into life with the traditional tug of war in Church Street from 6.30pm. UPDATE: The Tug of War planned for Friday 7th has just been put back to the 28th because of the weather. We won’t bother with any of the tug of war innuendo this year, most of you have that in hand already. After that, #TwickFest continues with its usual array of fairs and fetes. In fact, it continues so bloody much that comedian Jason Manford is hosting his comedy club at The Exchange that very same evening! Incredible.
On Saturday 8th, there’s a dog show in the Diamond Jubilee Gardens. Register your pooch for one of the fun categories or just show up for a veritable a doge-fest. The canine carnival runs from 2pm to 4pm. It’s free to watch but there are small fees to enter the competitions with the money going to charidee.
On Sunday 9th June there’s a Summer Craft Fair in Church Street. Expect all sorts of stalls selling gifts, local crafts and food & drink. And yes, Punch and Judy (hopefully a PC version), morris dancing and face painting will feature too. Did you expect anything less? It runs from 11am to 5pm. Sunday 9th is also the date of the Strawberry Hill Music and Fun Day in the gardens of the house. It’s always a popular event and this year the acts performing include the return of The Mustangs, rock & rollers Nark Drool and the Shudders, and The Launchers. 12.00pm to 7.30pm, since you ask.
On 12th June there’s another comedy night at The Exchange featuring five funny women and a token man too. Literally. You think we’re making a joke here? Well we’re not. But they will be! Get yourself down there for six great acts. And if you haven’t already seen, there’s a ‘Beatles in Twickenham’ exhibition running at the venue right through until August. Find out more about what’s on at The Exchange here. Don’t fancy the comedy? You could do a Twickenham Ales Brewery Tour the same evening instead.
On Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th Church Street Goes Green once more. The street will be greened and filled with plants, craft stalls, food stalls, and the usual cafes where you can relax and watch the world go by. Horticultural heaven. On the Saturday there’s also a Twickenham Record Fair in St Mary’s Church Hall. Great for new and old vinyl collectors alike.
On the weekend of Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd June it’s the first of the two Art House Open Studios weekends. Local artists open their studios to the public. It’s a good opportunity for art lovers to see the wide range of creative talent on display around the borough. Art House also takes place on 28th to 30th June. Eel Pie Island artists will also be taking part on both of the Saturday and Sunday dates. Cross the bridge to see painting, sculpture, prints, gifts and maybe sample a glass of Pimms. Details here.
Saturday 22nd June marks the first, but hopefully not last, High Tide Music Festival at venues in Church Street. The tip top guys from Eel Pie Records are putting on a highly eclectic mix of performers throughout the day ranging from fresh new talent to more established acts. Expect folk, blues, indie, klezmer and more. It will run from 1.00pm to mid-evening across five stages. More detail on the High Tide line up is here. On the 22nd there’s also a Pope’s Grotto Open Day giving you a chance to see the man of letters’ subterranean grotto.
The French Market returns to Church Street on Sunday 23rd June. On the same day there is live music in the Diamond Jubilee Gardens in the form of Brass on the Grass. From 1.30pm to 4pm Richmond Brass Band will be playing a mix of music inspired by the music heritage of Eel Pie Island. The 23rd also sees the start of a four day long flower festival at Strawberry Hill House.
Although 23rd June marks the ‘official’ end of Twickfest but there are still events for your diary. Saturday 6th July is the St Margarets Fair in Moormead. Music, food, beer, Pimms, entertainment for children are the drill for this one. Al fresco dining in Church Street is already back for the whole summer so that you can enjoy outdoor eating on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Want music? Then in addition to events Twick-side, there there are the usual array of outdoor concerts at Hampton Pool, Kew Gardens and Hampton Court Palace taking place in the weeks ahead. And Don’t forget that the annual outdoor production by the Richmond Shakespeare Society takes place in York House Gardens between the 15th and 20th July. This year it’s Much Ado About Nothing. Expect tricking, gossip, jolly japes, much ye olde confusion and of course, for love to triumph in the end. We’ve never read it but that’s probably the gist of it. Take a chair and a chilled bottle of something nice. Enjoy. More info here.
We’ll add to this item over the next few weeks but in the meantime, go TwickFest!
* Twickenham Town Business Association – more Twickenham Festival info