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Pick of the week’s best events nationwide



It’s often regarded as the godfather of the small festival, and all in an idyllic Oxfordshire country setting. With Friendly Fires, George Ezra, Jake Bugg, Circa Waves and Courteeners, playing this year, it’s a wonder they still qualify as a small festival, but then that’s just how they like it. Today-Sunday, Hill Farm, Steventon,


Music, science, art and culture collide at this thinking person’s festival (pictured above) . As well as The Chemical Brothers and The Flaming Lips, there’s a special screening of Blue Planet with the Hallé Orchestra, talks on pretty much everything by eminents such as Richard Dawkins, plus a telescope installation and stargazing. Until Sunday, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire,

Larmer Tree

First Aid Kit, Jake Bugg and Public Service Broadcasting lead the field at this ever-popular festival that returns after a year’s break. Sara Pascoe, Mark Watson and Jen Brister are part of the impressive comedy line-up. There’s workshops, talks and family stuff too, and you can dip into the Larmer Spa if it all gets too much. Until Sunday, Larmer Tree Gardens,


Down in the Hidden Valley you’ll find Herefordshire’s favourite boutique festival. What it lacks in size it makes up for in ooh la la. There’s music from Chase & Status, Goldfrapp and The Selecter plus comedy from Reginald D Hunter and Phil Kay. It didn’t win the Mind Blowing Spectacle Award last year for nothing. Today until Sunday, Rowden Paddocks, Bromyard,



King Lear

Ian McKellen tackles the greatest role in Shakespeare for the second time in his career in Jonathan Munby’s intimate production, which also stars Sinead Cusack. Until Nov 3, Duke of York’s Theatre, London,

The 39 Steps

Patrick Barlow’s global smash hit spoof, based on the noirish Hitchcockian thriller, returns to its North Yorkshire roots, in-the-round at Alan Ayckbourn’s home theatre. Until Aug 23, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough,

The Fisherman

Based on Chigozie Obioma’s acclaimed novel, this is the story of four brothers in Nigeria, whose lives are twisted out of shape by the power of a prophecy. Until Jul 28, Home, Manchester,

Exit the King

Twelve years ago Patrick Marber directed Rhys Ifans in Don Juan and the pair are reunited in a new version of Ionesco’s absurdist tragicomedy. Until Oct 6. National Theatre London,



Faith Evans

She’s better known as the widow of The Notorious B.I.G. but that says more about how news works than the talented R&B/hip-hop/soul singer, songwriter and producer, who had a recording contract years before she met him. This tour, though, promotes her latest (seventh) record, an affectionate, posthumous collaboration called The King & I, so expect a solid serving of that in just three UK dates. Tonight, O2 Ritz, Manchester,, then touring

Status Quo

Rick Parfitt died in 2016, but fellow Quo founder Francis Rossi and pals are keeping the boogie-rock faith alive with new guitarist Richie Malone. Dismissed by many as a pub-rock band, they’ve been praised of late by Noel Galllagher — not that they care given the fierce devotion of their fans. This is a one-off UK headliner. Tomorrow, Middlesbrough Town Hall,

The Gaslight Anthem

The New Jersey alt.rockers balance grittiness and arena-friendly wallop with a heart-on-sleeve honesty, the latter via singer-songwriter Brian Fallon. He’s a huge Bruce Springsteen fan — the Boss once said if he ever needed anyone to fill in, Brian would be his choice — but the band are their own men. On this short tour, they’re playing their second LP, The ’59 Sound, now ten years old, in its entirety. Tonight and tomorrow, Eventim Apollo, London,, then touring

Graham Nash

It’s easy to forget that this 76-year-old singer/songwriter is English and was also a member of The Hollies, as his fame with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was so monumental. He wrote their hits Marrakesh Express and Our House, for starters. He released his latest solo LP in 2016, but there are another five to draw from, so expect a hefty, nostalgic songbook, plus some reminiscences. Tonight, Sage Gateshead,



IF: Milton Keynes International Festival

A ten-day dazzling spectacle is what you’re promised at this eyepopping festival. Expect circuses, sound and light shows, giant insects, acrobatics, music, trapeze, theatre, comedy, a ghost train and a concert played entirely on bicycle bells. In fact, expect pretty much anything and we’re sure you won’t be disappointed. Today until July 29, various locations, Milton Keynes,

Isle of Wight Pride/Pride in Hull

Expect encounters with bearded ladies as this year’s Pride extravaganza takes its grip. Eurovision icon Conchita Wurst will take the ferry to star in this year’s Isle of Wight festivities — a weekend of dress-up, get-ondown action with Gok Wan, Danny Beard and Livin’ Joy. Meanwhile, tomorrow, in Hull, they’ll be waving their rainbow flags at Queens Gardens. There’s a parade, a market and a line-up that includes a member of Girls Aloud, one of RuPaul’s Drag Race superstars and the UK’s Eurovision entry. Tomorrow, Ryde School, Isle of Wight,; Queen’s Gardens, Hull,

Enfield Balloon Festival

If there’s anything as exciting as a summer sky full of balloons, we don’t know what it is. At London’s only hot air balloon festival, there’s plenty to grab your attention — human cannonballs, motorbike displays, knights in shining armour, funfair rides, animals and fireworks. Tomorrow and Sunday, Enfield Town Park, London,


Is there a car in history that has garnered the sort of love that the VW Beetle has? See how fast your Bug can go on the famous drag strip, let the kids get up to their own VW activities in the Little Buggerz zone, enjoy some music and generally give it up to the little car with the big appeal. Today-Sunday, Santa Pod Raceway, Northamptonshire,

Bee in the City

Manchester will be buzzing as a colony of super-sized bee sculptures (above) wing their way to the city. Wild In Art and Manchester City Council join forces to bring a host of communities together in this huge public art event. Designs include a Rock ‘N Roll Bee, created with Liam Gallagher, to a Hac-Bee-Enda in ode to the legendary nightclub, and a tribute to one of Coronation Street’s most loved characters, Hilda Bugden (geddit?). From July 23, various locations, Manchester,



Monet And Architecture

Don’t miss this show of paintings by Claude Monet (1840-1926). Here together for the first time are 75 works by the man who set the standard for French Impressionist painting. It’s no surprise he was continually drawn to Venice, Normandy, Paris and London. From romantic silhouettes of buildings to majestic clouds, train stations swathed in fog and glistening visions of the Thames — these truly are paintings to lose yourself in. Last chance. Until July 29, National Gallery,