North Devon Festival returns

THE North Devon Festival returns in all its glory this week and promises an entire month of excitement, activity and entertainment for all ages to enjoy. It kicks off on Friday at Barnstaple Rugby Club and will be held alongside the finals of the schools

THE North Devon Festival returns in all its glory this week and promises an entire month of excitement, activity and entertainment for all ages to enjoy.

It kicks off on Friday at Barnstaple Rugby Club and will be held alongside the finals of the schools' Tag Rugby Festival, with hundreds of youngsters adding to the buzz of this year's festival launch.

North Devon Theatres staff, event organisers, festival producers, musicians, costumed characters and movers and shakers will all be on hand to highlight what the 12th instalment of the annual celebration of everything that is good in North Devon has to offer. Main festival sponsors this year are Phoenix Learning and Care plus Petroc.

The line up for the 2010 includes funny man Paul Merton and his Impro Chums, plus musician Rick Wakeman, comedian Shappi Khorsandi, Brian Blessed, jazz singer Jacqui Dankworth, reggae from Toots and the Maytals, plus the Pegasus Opera Company and the eagerly anticipated Theatre Royal Bath production of Alan Bennett's acclaimed play The History Boys.


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On Saturday get a taste of the festival spirit as North Devon Theatres look forward to a cracking fun-filled month. From 10.30am-3.30pm there will be free live music, face painting, special offers and theatre ticket deals, plus a host of giveaways - and some rather large street puppets on patrol!

As ever the festival covers hundreds of community events, shows and activities for all ages, from art exhibitions to rock pool rambles, history re-enactments to workshops, plays, gigs, sport and everything in between.

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The North Devon Festival umbrella includes a numbers of festivals in their own right, such as the exciting GoldCoast - the regions' top sport, surf, lifestyle and music festival at Croyde from June 18-20, with a headline show from The Magic Numbers.

Don't miss the packed Appledore Visual Arts Festival from June 3-6 and later in the month beard the artists in their own dens as Art Trek and Open Studios returns from June 11-27.

Lynton and Lynmouth Music Festival showcases a host of talent from June 11-13, while throughout the month pubs, cafes, streets, kitchen and corners will host a vibrant array of mostly free performances from live music to dance and theatre as part of the Barnstaple Fringe, with around three quarters free.

In fact, from June 24-27 alone, there will be 69 performances as part of the packed Barnstaple Fringe Theatrefest at venues around the town.

Inspirational speakers on the festival menu include one of the country's favourite actors and explorer's, Brian Blessed, BBC film maker and photographer, Martin Pailthorpe and architect and star of Channel 4's The Home Show George Clarke.

For those with energy to burn, there is the Coast to Coast cycling challenge on June 13 and new for 2010, the demanding off-road North Devon AONB Marathon and Half Marathon for the North Devon Hospice on June 27.

Also new for this year and making an appearance at a number of festival events will be The Movie Bus, a recently restored vintage 1967 mobile cinema, thought to be the only one left of its kind, set to screen a series of fascinating archive films and capture unique footage from this year's festival - a festival that looks set to be the best yet.

This bank holiday weekend is also a last chance to enter a competition to win a full festival family experience, including a full ticket to GoldCoast Oceanfest, as well as family tickets to all theatre shows during June, family days out, goody bags and more. The winning family will be chosen on Monday and notified on Tuesday.

Brochures are available now from various outlets right across the region and the programme is online at www.northdevonfestival.org. For competition and festival information, visit the website or call the Box Office on (01271) 324242.

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