MUSIC & THEATRE
There’s a tonne of new shows and special events on in Hampshire this month with something for every age and taste. Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, Gloria the hippo and a troupe of pesky penguins explode onto the Kings Theatre Southsea’s stage in Madagascar The Musical, a guaranteed hit with kids (and adults for that matter) who like to move it move it (sorry) (Fri 5 – Sun 9 Jun).
For another kid-vibed musical experience the fantastic Matilda The Musical heads to Southampton’s Mayflower this month for an extra long run (Tues 11 Jun – Sat 6 Jul). This adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale, with music from Australian funny bloke Tim Minchin, has been wowing crowds for nearly nine years now.
For something a little more sombre, The New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth is holding a D-Day Celebratory Concert (Sun 9 Jun) to mark the 75th-anniversary of the historic event. Filled with first-hand stories, comedy, music and more, it’s a very fitting tribute to an important historic event.
On a completely different tack, The Lights in Andover has a saucy evening of fun with The Secret History of Burlesque on Sat 15 Jun. Expect cheeky jokes, plenty of skin and an evening of good ol’ fashioned adult amusement.
For another legend of epic proportions, Sir Ranulph Fiennes aka “the greatest living explorer” will be exploring Basingstoke this month. In this evening named Living Dangerously, Sir Fiennes will recount some of his many exciting – and obviously rather dangerous – escapades to a packed out audience at The Anvil (Thurs 27 Jun).
As the weather improves the opportunity for some al fresco entertainment increases and there’s a couple of brilliant outdoor theatre productions to boot.
Over at The New Place Hotel in Southampton, the grounds will be transformed into Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic imagining of The Secret Garden on Thurs 20. The tale of orphaned Mary Lennox will come to life in the grounds of the beautiful house. Tickets start at £16.00 for adults and kids under 3 go free.
Also outside, and in a rather unusual venue, is Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Gatcombe Gardens in Portsmouth on Thurs 13 Jun. As even most residents of the city don’t know this park exists, it’s the perfect location for a magical outdoor telling of the fairy folk.
Oh, you lucky things! There are SO MANY amazing festivals this month in both counties.
Kicking off on the second weekend of the month Alresford Music Festival (Sat 8) is a fab one-day event featuring Sunscreem, London Afrobeat Collective and REWS. For something a little bit more spiritual then brand new event The Awakening (8 June) hits the Island this weekend as well. Expect soundbaths, yoga workshops and plenty of guest speakers to keep you super-duper zen this summer.
The Southwick D-Day Revival (Sat 8 – Sun 9) is tipped to be even bigger this year as it coincides with the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This is the perfect chance to throw on a tea-dress, slap on some rouge and check out the Military Wives Choir who will be performing.
Also on this weekend is the Hampshire Country and Garden (Sun 9 Jun) in Whitchurch. This is a chilled out chance to find out about flora, fauna, perennials and more. You can enjoy talks from notable gardeners, creators and crafters (Hugh Fearneley-Whittingstall’s mum is there in fact) and test out lots of local artisan producers. Yum!
Over in Basingstoke things are getting a little bit Eastern with the Magic of Thailand (Sat 8 – Sun 9). A family-friendly celebration of all things Thailand, expect traditional dance, amazing crafts (I’m a sucker for Thai silk), plenty of Tom Yum Goong to eat and more.
Culture vultures rejoice as this weekend also sees the start of the New Forest Film Festival (Sat 8 – Sun 16) Celebrating a huge range of 10-minute shorts across six venues, the great and the good of the art house world have submitted their pieces and will be judged by names such as Tyger Drew-Honey and Mark Kermode, film critic for the Observer.
Things then really kick off with the Island’s best-known festival, Isle of Wight Festival (Thurs 13 – Sun 16). The line-up this year is STELLAR (as always!) and includes everybody from Biffy Clyro to Noel Gallagher, George Ezra to Garbage. Best saddle up the wellies.
If full-weekend jollies aren’t your thing, then make sure you check out Winchestival (Sat 15) also on this weekend. With hairy rockers The Magic Numbers, an impressive comedy line-up plus many Muddy fave indies getting involved, the third year of this festival is going to be a banger.
For extreme sport lovers mark the next weekend on your calendar as the Kitesurfing Armada flies back to Hayling Island (Fri 21 – Sun 23) for some mega thrills and spills on the Solent coast. Even if your knowledge of kitesurfing is nil, this spectacle is still well worth a good old gawk at.
Muddy fave The Point is well known for their performance and avant-garde productions, with a good dose of circus thrown in for good measure and Eastleigh Unwrapped (Sat 22) organised in conjunction with the theatre takes this to the streets. Aerial acrobatics, crazy mechanics and bonkers immersive theatre is the name of the game here. We like!
Over at Stansted Park, The Nostalgia Show (Fri 28 – Sun 30) returns for a vintage extravaganza. Vintage shopping, retro fair rides plus a line-up of kitschy old-timey acts make this a fabulous way to timewarp for a few days.
FOOD & DRINK
Hampshire has a couple of pretty impressive food festivals this month with the first-ever Hythe Seafood Festival at Hythe Marina Village on Sat 8. Further down the coast, Portsmouth Seafood Festival (Fri 28 – Sun 30) returns to Gunwharf Quays for its second outing. Featuring some top-notch seafood suppliers and some of Portsmouth’s best eateries slinging their wares this will be a fab chance to scoff some shellfish in the sun.
Along with the food festivals there’s also a whopping amount of drink festivals too (woohoo!) Starting off with a special Silent Pool Gin Night at Symes Interiors in Alton (Fri 7), the Surrey-based distillery nips over the Hampshire border for an evening of G&Ts and pretty swish interiors to look at. Also on Fri 7, Portsmouth Guildhall hosts Rock and Rum Festival. Rum is tipped to be the new cool drink and we’re more than happy to jump on this latest trend.
There’s no let-up either as the Guildhall also hosts The Cocktail Festival for two sessions the following day (Sat 8). With traditional favourites and more quirky cocktails, plus fantastic entertainment this is one for all you drinkers who don’t want to pick just one spirit.
Over in Winchester, there’s the annual Ginchester Fête (Sat 8) at The Great Hall, slinging some of the great and the good of Hampshire’s (slightly further afield’s) botanical world.
Southampton is getting in on the boozy action with the annual Southampton Beer Festival (Fri 7 – Sat 8) at St Mary’s Stadium. Craft Ale is very much on the up and up and this is a good chance to check out over 75 different types in one go (err… maybe don’t drink them ALL).
Romsey is also hosting its annual Gin Festival on Sat 15 at Crosfield Hall. Hosted by The Gin Stall, they definitely know their stuff (plus there’s rum, Prosecco and more for those who fancy something a bit different).
Myers Touch is at it again with another stonking Supper Club with McCrimmon & Reid on Wed 19. The menu hasn’t been revealed yet but it’s set to be a homage to summer flavours. It’s bring a bottle so why not do some *very important research* by booking up for a Spring Food Pairing at Chewton Glen (until Thurs 20) and find the ideal bevvy to take along.
Speaking of Chewton Glen, it’s holding its very own gin masterclass – It’s a Gin Thing – on Fri 28. This is a step-up from other gin events and for £175 pp you get a guided masterclass from Martin Jennings (Co-Founder and Craft Distiller of multi-award-winning Pothecary Gin) and can create your very own personal gin recipe, eat a gin-themed lunch and take home a rather fab goodie bag.
ART & EXHIBITIONS
This month sees the launch of an exhibition I am VERY excited about. I Grew Up 80s opens its doors on Sat 22 at the Willis Museum in Basingstoke. This epic trip down memory lane is a fantastic way of getting a nostalgia fix, or just confusing the kids as to what a Sinclair ZX Spectrum is (“Mum, what’s a cassette tape?”) Curated by Matt Fox (who also did a rather fabulous Star Wars exhibition, May The Toys Be With You), Fox has dug around for all the things that will make you say “I remember that!” The exhibition runs until Sat 14 Sep and then moves down to Gosport, so don’t panic if you can’t make it.
From Thurs 27, National Theatre Live screens its latest offering, Small Island. Available at screenings across both counties, this tale follows three storylines of those involved in migration from Jamaica to Britain in 1948, the issues, trials and tribulations that people faced in those post-war years.
Hopefully, the sun will be shining for June as there is plenty of fun outdoor events and activities happening this month. Starting the month off really big is the D-Day 75 Celebrations in Portsmouth. As well as the main ceremony itself (complete with Her Maj’, Prince Charles, Theresa May, Trump, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel in attendance… how’s that for a guest list?), if you haven’t got a ticket to get past the big wall on Wed 5, the ceremony will be screened on Southsea Common as well.
On Sat 8 and Sun 9, there’s going to be a huge Portsmouth Revival Festival with live music, stalls and entertainment, fireworks and the Red Arrows will also be nipping back for a spectacular as well.
For those who are looking for an outdoor activity with a little less hustle and bustle then Sat 8 marks the very first North Wessex Downs Walking Festival. With plenty of routes from Hampshire into neighbouring counties – such as Berkshire and Wiltshire – this a nice gentle paced event for all abilities.
Over in the New Forest, in conjunction with the New Forest Film Festival, there are two fab films on at the New Forest Drive-In Movie (Sat 14) in Bransgore. With both Back to The Future and the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody showing, grab the car and some popcorn for a fab outdoor viewing experience.
Fancy a spot of Forest Bathing? The Duchess of Cambridge is apparently a big fan of this on-trend wellbeing activity. Participants ditch their tech and head into the forest for a little bit of one-on-one with nature. Muddy and Royal favourite Heckfield Place has a special guided session with Maria Verdicchio on Sun 16.
Make sure you mark Thurs 13 – Fri 14 in your calendar as super luxe furniture and lighting shop Vaughan has its super summer sale in Winchester. Not only can you grab some amazing discounts on high-end pieces but there’s free fizz on Thursday night.
Also this month, the Heckfield Place‘s monthly Plant and Kitchen Garden Produce Sale starts for the summer. Every second Saturday of the month (That’s Sat 8 for June), you can pick up lots of gorgeous plants and tasty goodies from the biodynamic Home Farm and Heckfield kitchen.
Muddy recently caught up with the super funny Shappi Khorsandi and this month she brings her show Skittish Warrior to Andover Lights on Sat 1. Also at the Lights this month is Taskmaster and Live at the Apollo alum Paul Chowdhry with his show Live Innit on Mon 10.
With possibly the most soothing voice in the whole comedy-sphere, Reginald D Hunter brings his latest show Facing The Beast to Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal on Wed 12.
In Havant’s The Spring, James Rowland brings his final of three shows on Fri 14. In this instalment, James talks about when he was asked by two friends for his sperm… yep. His comedy is tipped as hilarious, but equally heart-warming as well.
And towards the end of the month, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey holds Giggles in the Garden on Sat 29. Featuring a huge line-up of well-known comedy acts you can check out stars such as Lee Nelson, Geoff Norcott, Tanyalee Davis and Romsey’s very own Elle Bert. Tickets for the event on Sat 29 are £30 per person and make sure to take a picnic.
KIDS & FAMILY
While the Island has many unusual creatures lurking around none are quite as impressive as the unicorns at Tapnell Farm. No, I’ve not lost the plot, on Sat 1 – Sun 2 it’s Unicorn Weekend where you can check out hobby horse jousting and even meet Harmony the Unicorn Princess and Cloud the Unicorn.
Sticking with the magical creature theme, Sun 9 is the Fairy Festival at Butser Ancient Farm. With plenty of glitter, wings and fairy storytelling, its a tween girls dream day (and maybe some grown-ups looking for a bit of magic on the weekend).
Later on this month we’re getting all retro… Regency-style with the Jane Austen Regency Week in Alton (Sat 22 – Sun 30). While I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to see Mr Darcy emerging from a lake (swoon), there’s probably no more likely place than this to do so. The main event is Regency Day on Sat 22 with horse & carriage rides around the town, folk dancing and plenty of family fun.
The month rounds up with one of the key events on the Isle of Wight calendar the IW Mardi Gras in Ryde on Sat 29. With elements of the Rio Carnival, New Orleans Mardi Gras plus a good slog of the Island’s own eccentricity, grab your feather boa and dance like nobody’s watching.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Looking forward to next month is the Hampshire Food Festival which will be held at various locations across the county between Mon 1 – Wed 31 Jul. The annual event brings together the best producers and vendors across Hampshire and gives attendees a chance for a real Hampshire foodie experience.
Also in July is the Island’s Rhythm Tree Festival at Three Gates Farm, Calbourne. This festival has some awesome headliners including dance legends The Orb and Americana stalwarts, Albama 3, this is a fab excuse for a party on the Wight between Fri 12 – Sun 14 Jul.
For something a little more family-centric then make sure you grab tickets for this year’s Camp Bestival (Thurs 25 – Sun 28 Jul) over the border at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. With a Heroes Vs Superheroes theme, headliners include The Human League and Nile Rodgers & Chic, plus you can take the littlies and get them all pumped up for Mr Tumble and some good old fashioned family-fun time.
Also on that weekend is quite possibly one of the best foodie festivals in the country as Smoked & Uncut comes to Lime Wood on Sat 26 Jul. Headlining is Sister Sledge and The Wailers, better be quick though as The Pig sold out super fast.
If you missed out on Glasto this year (*sigh*) then make sure you head to Hampshire’s own (and arguably… better) version, Boomtown Fair held just outside of Winchester on Wed 7 – Mon 12 Aug. Less festival, more mini-city, the acts announced are incredible and include a huge amount of festival exclusives. Expect to see Ms Lauryn Hill, The Streets, Groove Armada, UB40… and many, many, many more.