Festival programme highlights revealed

Wetherby Arts Festival has been bringing music to the masses for over 40 years.

Sunday, 8th October 2017, 3:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:11 pm
Andy Kershaw.

This year’s musical highlight is the presence of international classical guitarist Craig Ogden.

Described as ‘one of the most exciting of our generation’ Ogden will be the soloist in Manuel del Ponce’s Concierto del Sur in the St James’ Church with Leeds Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday October 14.

Martin Binks (Lunchtime concerts Tuesday 17-Thursday 19) is an unsung hero of Wetherby’s festival. Conductor of the Leeds Symphony Orchestra as well as a member of the Festival committee, Binks will perform piano duets with Michael Payne and accompany tenor Joseph Pratt and soprano Heather Jane Taylor in a selection of popular classics from Puccini to Bernstein.

7th May 2010. Martin Binks aged 69 from Horsforth, who's celebrating 40 years as the conductor of Leeds Orchestra. PICTURE GERARD BINKS

He will then team up with flautists Hannah Dilwright and Catherine Wright for the fourth of Wetherby’s lunchtime Monday and Friday’s concerts featuring organists Michael Payne and former Wetherby chorister Adam Parrish.

The Paul Mirfin band, with a mix bluegrass folk rock and country, will be perform tracks from their latest album This Train’s Bound for Glory in St James’ Church on October 16.

Other musical offerings come from Wetherby Silver Band on Sunday 15, Swing on Wednesday 18, Barbershop on Saturday 21, and Light Music Singers on Thursday 19th.

On Friday 20, alongside Fauré and Bach, the St James’ Choir will perform a rare treat - Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo - with libretto by Michael Flanders.

7th May 2010. Martin Binks aged 69 from Horsforth, who's celebrating 40 years as the conductor of Leeds Orchestra. PICTURE GERARD BINKS

In Hallowe’en season audiences can join author and critic David McIntee’s Ghost Story on Saturday October 14 at Linton Memorial Hall.

Legendary broadcaster and journalist Andy Kershaw, who has devoted his career to promoting the new and eclectic as well as covering some of the most dangerous news stories of the last few decades, will bring his show to Wetherby.

The Adventures of Andy Kershaw, reflects his life in which he has presented The Old Grey Whistle Test, worked on the Today programme and currently on the One Show.

International touring musician, comedy songwriter, sci-fi author and activist Mitch Benn brings his biting satire to close the festival on October 22.

Benn shares the double bill with Paul Sinha, host of Radio 4’s The Sinha Test. Sinh is a professional quizzer and a formidable opponent to participants in ITV’s The Chase.

Local musical talent will be celebrated on the street with busking from October 1 in the Horsefair Centre and elsewhere.

Wetherby Festival’s first weekend pulls no punches on cutting-edge politics and satire, and proves the pen is mightier than the sword.

Ayesha Hazarika, who opens the first comedy nights on Friday October 13 at The Engine Shed, has experienced at first-hand the real world of fictional spin doctor Malcolm Tucker.

Ayesha admits that working as an advisor to previous Labour leaders prepared her for return to work as a full-time comedian.

Literary Lunch guest Alice Nutter (Bridge Hotel, Walshford, Friday October 13) has a string of successes including work about forgotten female munitions factory workers of WWI.

Alice is joined by local author Richard Newman who explores the life of the religious order. The Bar Convent survived hidden in York in the guise of a school through anti-catholic persecution. In his best-selling A Nun’s Story, Richard tells of the current sisters.

The Literary Lunch is on Friday October 13 at the Bridge Inn, price £28 to include three-course meal, the Comedy Evening in The Engine Shed on Friday 13 , price £18.

Tickets are from the Box Office at 45 High Street or online,