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What’s On: Five unmissable diary dates for July

Festivals of art, theatre, music, history and horse racing are all on the agenda this July. Velvet’s Riadh Falvo previews five unmissable events

Summer at the Beach

After a two-year hiatus, many of our festivals are returning at last. With its signature mixture of art, music, culture and food, one of these is Summer at the Beach, coordinated by Waterbeach artist Andy Taylor.

Running across the first three consecutive weekends in July in the Terrace Units at Waterbeach Barracks, work by 10 local artists will be featured, including mixed media pieces by Andy himself; acrylic, charcoal and graphite pieces by Peter Sutton; wall hangings and quilts by textile artist Helen Jameson; and both two- and three-dimensional works by Gideon Pain.

If you fancy a bespoke hat, headpiece or fascinator, milliner Karen Lewis will have an array, while mixed media artist Chris Evans is making an appearance with his icons, Tarryn Porter will be exhibiting traditional and digital illustrations, Sheena Harris has hand-sculpted vessels and smaller ceramic jewellery pieces available and Theo Gayer-Anderson, will immerse guests in his visual art installations.

* Pictures: Showing the 2018 and 2019 events

Cambridge Summer Music Festival

Cambridge Summer Music - Tai Murray © Gaby Merz (57718050)
Cambridge Summer Music - Tai Murray © Gaby Merz (57718050)

Tuning into the heart of the city, Cambridge Music Festival will stage 23 classical concerts in locations throughout Cambridge this July. Launching Friday, July 15 and running through to Sunday, July 31, the festival of world class classical will be presenting an astounding array of music from the Renaissance to the 21st century, from Spain and Vienna to the shores of the United Kingdom.

The programme gets underway with Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte at Childerley Hall and will go on to welcome pianist Imogen Cooper performing works by Schubert, Rabel and Liszt as well as the talented young Wigmore Soloists performing two of chamber music’s greatest works, Beethoven’s Septet and Schubert’s Octet.

Pianist Martin Roscoe will be performing with American violinist Tai Murray, while trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins is giving a trumpet-organ recital with the festival’s own artistic director, David Hill. The outdoor concert series Sounds Green is also making a return to Cambridge University Botanic Garden every Wednesday. With so much going on, there truly is something for everyone!

* cambridgesummermusic.com

Hotbed Theatre Festival

Time Travelling with the Jazz Queens at Hotbed Theatre Festival (57718072)
Time Travelling with the Jazz Queens at Hotbed Theatre Festival (57718072)

Celebrating its 20th year, the Menagerie Theatre Company and Cambridge Junction are bringing the brilliant Hotbed Theatre Festival back this month.

In line with Menagerie Theatre’s ethos - with writing and storytelling at its heart, the Cambridge-based company nurtures, produces and champions new and burgeoning writers to bring their works to the international stage - Hotbed provides a platform for “never-before-seen pieces and encompasses a variety of works in progress”.

Joshua (and Me) at Hotbed Theatre Festival (57718071)
Joshua (and Me) at Hotbed Theatre Festival (57718071)

Running July 15 to 17, at the centre of this year’s festival and of particular timely interest is The Summer Before Everything, a verbatim piece written by Bohdan Tokarskyi and Maria Montague from the Ukraine. All proceeds from ticket sales will go directly towards the humanitarian efforts in their homeland.

Valoris at Hotbed Theatre Festival (57718073)
Valoris at Hotbed Theatre Festival (57718073)

Menagerie associate Fraser Grace will take to the stage for a reading of Splinter, the latest work from Martha Loader, graduate of the theatre company’s Young Writers’ Workshop. Plus the programme features the musical Time Travelling with the Jazz Queens, which takes families on a journey to meet some of the greatest jazz singers of the 20th century.

* junction.co.uk/events/hotbed-festival

Music on the River

An invitation to spend a night filled with sweet sérénade (and a possible picnic) on the Cam, Let’s Go Punting and Traditional Punting Company are working in harmony to bring Music On The River back to “the best venue in town” after a two-year hiatus.

From July 22 to August 5, you can enjoy 90 minutes of music and pure relaxation as you are glided and guided along the college Backs - from the main landing at the corner of Jesus Green to Silver Street Bridge and back again.

On board for this year's performances and first up is Dorothéa, “a passionate vocalist and songwriter” with pop, alternative rock and RnB influences. Liam Martin, whose music “features atmospheric, emotive and cinematic resonances”, follows on the last Friday in July, and lastly, Ukulele Simon, “the beatboxing ukulele guy”, will be stepping on deck the first week of August.

Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drinks, however they’ll pack a picnic for you to enjoy if you book ahead.

* letsgopunting.co.uk

* traditionalpuntingcompany.com

Party at the Palace

“Step back in time and immerse yourself in the decadence of the Restoration period” as Newmarket’s National Horse Racing Museum brings history to life with a multi-sensory experience at its Party at the Palace.

First held in 2021 to mark the 350th anniversary of Palace House, completed in 1671 as King Charles II’s sporting palace and now at the heart of the museum complex, the event proved so popular it is back for a second year.

Visitors on July 23 will be transported back to the 1600s by costumed musicians playing period instruments, performing songs about Newmarket, the King and horse racing, of course! Guests will also be invited to take to the dancefloor to join in traditional dances of the time via demonstrations and lead dancers.

The farmers’ market will be making a return too, with artisanal chocolates, local cheeses, award-winning spirits, honey from the surrounding farms, cider, hand-built and handmade pottery.

* nhrm.co.uk/event/party-at-the-palace/

* Pictures: Showing 2021's event

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