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This month

SEPTEMBER 2019

MUSIC

applause-audience-band-196652Dust off those disco pants and get ready to party as Stansted Park, near Havant, gets a 70s makeover on Sun 1 with an ABBA Tribute Concert. While it may not be everybody’s bag, if you like a bit of cheese and sequins then this is the night for you – full of flares, sparkles and questionable disco moves.

For something a tad more modern in the North of the county, then definitely put the Felix Festival, Silchester, in your diary for Fri 7 – Sun 9. Live music, a banging DJ set, delicious catering and a fully stocked bar, all in the beautiful countryside of Hampshire. And its raising money for charity, so even waking up with that pounding headache will feel worth it. 

Grab your Union Jacks and head to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens on Sat 7, for a Last Night of the Proms – Picnic Concert. Bring plenty of grub and enjoy the beautiful sounds of the Southampton Concert Orchestra, (complete with fantastic firework finale) and music from Elgar Parry and John Williams. Al fresco trumps the Albert Hall in my books. 

For a good slog of teenage dreams rolled up into one Friday night out (Fri 13) then head to Winch for Martin Kemp Presents 80’s Gold at the Winchester Guildhall. With already two shows sold out, this night is promised to be a throwback. Although 80’s dress is not essential it is very much encouraged, so grab your leg warmers and head on over an unforgettable night.

Channel your inner beatnik by picking up tickets to the Winchester Jazz Festival, happening between Thurs 19 – Sun 22. Where else can you hang with groovy cats and click your fingers in some of the most amazing historic venues Hampshire has to offer. Niceeee.

We like to keep our eyes open for off-the-radar events and my little birds have told me about Raw Events/ Secret Garden Party/ Mini Fest  in a super-secret location around Yateley on Sat 21. Here you can dance the day and night away with DJs playing feel-good songs (#ALLTHECHEESYHITS), and epic BBQ food once you’ve built up your appetite on the dance floor. Oh, and its kid-friendly so no babysitter required for this one. 

If you’re a fan of early 00s indie (that’ll just be me then!), then get ready to get excited as The Mystery Jets headline the Winchester Indoor Music Festival, on Friday 27 at the Guildhall. Taking all the fun of Summer’s Winchestival indoors, as well as cracking bands there’s plenty of street food and drinks to shimmy away your Friday night. You’ll likely find me at the front howling Two Doors Down in Blaine Harrison’s direction. *cough*

FOOD & DRINK

Celebrate the beginning of September with yummy food, crafts stalls and live music in a beautiful park as Alton FlavourFest gets underway on the first day of the month (Sun 1). Thirsty? Then Muddy faves Hattingley Valley are opening their (cellar) door in Alresford for a no-book required sip and sup on their award-winning wines. Cellar Door Day is happening on Fri 13. Hey, it may be unlucky for some, but we can weather the storm with wine. Amma right? 

Speaking of drinks, the weekend of Fri 13 – Sun 15 sees The Gunwharf Quays Gin Festival in Portsmouth. Hosted by The Gin Lounge, this festival offers exclusive gin bars, a complimentary cocktail, various tasters and many masterclasses. A great day out for all gin lovers (which, to my knowledge, is a lot of us). 

Doug Scobie Southsea

Photo: Doug Scobie

Need a bit of help soaking up all that booze? Then stumble along down the seafront to the Pop-up on the Pier Food Festival at South Parade Pier, Southsea on Sat 14 – Sun 15. As well as being a gorgeous pier (fun fact: The Who almost burned it down once, whoops!) this day of street food from local businesses and live music will make a brilliant family day out by the beach. Get there early and head to nearby Canoe Lake for free parking. 

Heading to the West now, Sun 15th is New Forest Vegan Festival at Brockenhurst Village Hall. 100% vegan festival full of delicious food, talks, live music and children’s entertainment. This festival is perfect for any vegan families, flexitarians and general lovers of ALL the food. 

Hattingley Valley Harvest t-shirtsFancy some more wine tasting? Haha! Of course you do. And, even better? It’s free. Hattingley Valley are holding a wine tasting at Winchester City Museum on Thurs 19. Sure, it’s a school night but… FREE!

And if you’re Island-bound at all make sure to grab your train ticket to hop aboard the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s Cider & Cheese Weekend on Sat 21 – Sun 22. My top cheesy tips? Get some Gallybagger and Isle of Wight Blue for a real taste of the Wight.

THEATRE

RandJ8906

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo & Juliet

Thespians rejoice, there’s SO many fantastic shows on this month across the two counties. Starting off with a touch of cheesy, sing-along vibes with Beyond the West End at Shanklin Theatre. Running between Wed 4 – Thurs 26 it’s rammed full of songs and show tunes. Think Whitney Houston. Carousel, Tina Turner and of course, The Greatest Showman.

Looking for a bit of a thriller, then check out A murder has been arranged at The Phoenix Theatre in Bordon on Fri 13, Sat 14 & Fri 20.

 After a reschedule because he was a bit poorly (he’s feeling better now though, hoorah!) TV legend Parkie rocks up to Theatre Royal Winchester for An Evening with Michael Parkinson on Sun 15 Sep. AND, for once he’s not asking the questions… his son is. Bound to be a fascinating look behind the scenes with the King of Interviews.

Over at The Mayflower in Southampton make sure to check out record-breaking and multi-award-winning production of Stephen Daldry’s An Inspector Calls (Tues 17 – Sat 2) and for all you Matthew Bourne fans his production of Romeo and Juliet hits the stage between Tues 24 – Sat 28. 

Born in Portsmouth and with his very own statue mere steps from the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth, Dickens’ classic Bleak House treads the boards between Thurs 26 – Sat 28. 

If you like surprises then how about you’ll love the fantastic Olivier-winning Showstopper as it heads to Theatre Royal Winchester on Fri 26. A musical comedy that is totally improvised, every show is unique and bound to be a night to remember.

OUTDOORS

spirit of the orient robin hill half termIf you fancy getting outdoors this September there’s plenty going on to tempt you into the fresh air, starting with the Isle of Wight Age UK Powder Run in Porchfield on Sat 7. Raising money for a great cause get pelted with paint powder and laugh about how fab you look in rainbow colours.

Highclere Castle

Photo: Richard Munckton

With the impending release of the Downton Abbey movie, channel your inner Lady Mary with a night of Costumes, Cocktails and Castle Tours at Highclere Castle on  Sat 7 – Sun 8. The Dowager Countess Grantham is TOTALLY my spirit animal.

Ever wanted to get a wiggle on with mindfulness but don’t know where to start? Then how about a slight sneak over to Dorset (honest, I won’t tell!) for a fab Open Taster Day at The Retreat New Forest in Christchurch (Sat 14). This is an all-day bumper session of some of their most popular classes. So don those yoga pants and get ready to find a brand spanking new improved you. 

Grab a pair of Hunter wellies and get your tweed on, because The Romsey Agricultural show is also on Sat 14. Locally grown food, a fairground, dogs and horses – totally countryfied but well worth the trip.

The woods on the Island will be aglow the final weekend of the month when the absolutely awesome Electric Woods returns once again with Festival of Light Inspired by Diwali at Robin Hill Country Park (Fri 27 Sep – Sat 2 Nov). Instagram-worthy, a fab place to explore and definitely a different way to see in the brand new season.

FAMILY

Dear Zoo - CREDIT Victoria Macken (4)

Photo: Victoria Macken

Get some brownie points with the ankle-biters by treating them to a day at the theatre as the classic Dear Zoo pops up, complete with puppets, to Theatre Royal, Winchester on Fri 6 – Sat 7. 

If you missed the Portsmouth Kite Festival last month then make sure to hop aboard the ferry and get to Chale as the Island’s version, the Isle of Wight Kite Festival takes flight on Sat 7.

For some family fun with a charitable edge then to Southampton for this year’s Honeyfest  (Sun 8). Offering an entertaining day out full of live music, bouncy castles, games, face painting, arts & crafts and a BBQ (best take your brolly then) and the super pretty Chilworth Manor to oggle at as you enjoy. 

Are you aware of vultures? Well, if not then check out the special International Vulture Awareness Day at the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Andover on Sat 7. To be fair, I’m aware of them but this event is to educate and dispell some of the myths behind these industrious fowls. Plus there’s plenty of swooping birds to enthral the kids at the same time.

Not that we’re biased, but it’s no surprise that there’s an Isle of Wight Day (Sat 21). Celebrating all that’s great about the Wight (and goodness there’s A LOT), expect live music, a beach clean initiative and more to be announced.

And closing off the month in Swanwick there’s a Family Fun Day over at The Brickworks on Sun 29. This is a chance to find out more about how bricks are made (I know, I know, but honestly kids love this kind of thing!), have-a-go activities and if it pours (and to be honest, that’s pretty likely at this time of year) there’s plenty of room inside to keep everybody happy. Result.

CULTURE, ART & EXHIBITIONS

This is MAJOR. Alongside mega-hits by Tracey Emin, Hockney, Banksy and Damien Hirst, this Chris Levine portrait of Her Maj will be on display just over the Berkshire border at Fresh:Art Fair at Ascot Racecourse. Some of the best galleries (Muddy Award-winning ones among them) in the UK and Ireland, will bring more than 6,000 pieces, priced from £500 to £5,000 (19 – 22 Sept). Check out 12 artists to keep an eye out for here.

Swing, 60s-stylee, over to Mottisfont House for a fab new exhibition kicking off on Sat 21st. Lichfield, Duffy and Donovan: Snapping the Sixties exhibition will give you a sneaky-peek into one of the most iconic decades of the 20th-century with its famous faces, fashion and fun, all captured on film. Groovy baby!

If you’ve got a gaggle of petrol heads then I totally recommend the West Green House Classic Car Show in Hook (Sun 22). Consider it a mini-Goodwood of classic car enthusiasts and those who just like to look at the pretty old cars. Vroom vroom!

And towards the end of the month, Josie Eastwood’s September Show 2019 opens at the gallery in Longstock, Stockbridge (Fri 27 Sep – Sun 13 Oct). Head here to see a wealth of amazing artists and start visualising where you’re going to put that cracking piece in your home. 

Find more ideas here

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