Press Release,
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

The variety of music on offer in this year's Hebden Bridge Arts Festival is more than matched by the variety of venues in which to listen to it!

The programme ranges from chamber music to "electronic ambient", and from African drumming through Brazilian flamenco guitar to western European piano music. The performers vary from a "bloody big soul band" to piano and guitar soloists, with just about every size and combination of ensemble in between. And all summed up, it seems, by the final event of the festival programme, the Festival Party at which "Klezmer clarinet and Scottish bagpipes team up with Arabic percussion and funky bass to play Breton and Eastern European tunes - cosmopolitan or what?"

So - where to see all this musical extravaganza? Well, it will be performed in spaces as diverse as a church, a bar, a grand house, a gallery, a theatre and a cinema. There's even music on a canal barge! And the great outdoors, where "Baybeat" kick off this feast of Festival music on Saturday 21st June at 1.30 p.m. with a free concert on the marina offering samba rhythms, salsa classics, and Caribbean and African beats. Add to this show the appearance of Comedy Store regular Steve Rawlings, "the only man to have set fire to his own head in front of HM the Queen", and it's clear that the Festival will start as it means to go on!

Hebden Bridge Picture House hosts a number of musical events this time round, for which tickets are going fast. On the evening of that first Saturday they present "Off the Wall", a Pink Floyd tribute band (how Hebden Bridge is that?). The following Saturday it's the by now traditional Doris concert, as our favourite soul diva returns to the Festival with the Dinner Ladies and the BB Soul Band for their sixth consecutive year. The next Friday the same venue will show the classic Irish Soul film "The Commitments" and this is followed by a live band, "The Ten Commitments", with an opportunity to rock in the aisles to feature numbers from the film.

It's off to more tranquil settings for somewhat more tranquil performances. Walshaw Lodge, in Hardcastle Crags, offers the "Walshaw Piano Trio, including a splendid buffet lunch, on Sunday June 22nd. Heptonstall Parish Church is home to various choral and instrumental recitals during the Festival, with local singers Cantorelli and The Hepton Singers, local musicians Roger Scaife, Dave Nelson and others, and visiting performers including chamber sextet The Lamond Ensemble, clarinettist Lynne Sherwood, stunning pianist Sonya Hadari and the Sacconi String Quartet. The church also hosts two exciting and very different duos - Mezzo soprano Susan Legg with pianist Ann Martin-Davis performing a fascinating double bill of works from 1840 aqnd 2002, and multi-instrumentalist Peadar Long (saxes, clarinets, flutes, whistles) teams up again with pianist Dave Nelson for another unforgettable head-to-head concert by these local heros.

No space this week to give details of the other musical venues and delights, such as La Dual band, cabaret songs, and skin whistle playing at the Little Theatre, guitarist Pete Griggs and Box Junction jazz at Square One bar, and drumming at the Holme Street Arts Centre. But not to worry - as you will surely know by now details of all Festival events are contained in the little black and yellow Festival Programme available from a multitude of outlets.

Book by post using the form in the programme, or from 7th June the box office on Albert Street opens daily, plus phone bookings on 01422 842684.

If music be the food of love, this Festival looks like being a two-week long love-in!

HB Arts Festival