Much Wenlock will be teeming with life during the first two weeks of June as the popular Festival returns. The programme promises something for everyone, with shows from Much Wenlock Male Voice Choir featuring mezzo soprano Bethan Langford and baritone Piran Legg; a folk extravaganza featuring Chase Mist and young musicians Wildfire Folk; and the return of the anarchic Oddsocks troupe with both ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘The Tempest’. There will also be a Motown night and a hog roast, with many other events taking place over the fortnight, which runs from Saturday 2 to 16 June.
The event is put together by a team of dedicated volunteers. Organiser Peter Wight says, “I’m very lucky to have a small but hardworking committee who give their time and expertise for free. They provide a cross section of skills, from catering to accountancy, marketing and graphic design. We’re also lucky to have our generous sponsors without whom the festival would be nearly impossible to put on.
“We’re always striving for a bigger and better series of events every year. Oddsocks were a difficult concept to market in 2016, but the audience on the first night gave them a rousing standing ovation, and on the second night – yes, you’ve guessed it – another standing ovation. I think if I had not rebooked them, I would have had a coup on my hands!”
Peter says the event strives to have a strong focus on new performers: “One of my personal aims is to give as many young people as possible the chance to show their talents. The Showcase of Young Talent, the Folk Night and Songs from The West End all reflect young local talent.”
The festival also gives visitors the chance to enjoy food and drink on the church green and to explore some quieter art forms including a quilt show and a display at the town’s Holy Trinity church called ‘Triple Perspective’. This features art by the district’s U3A Creative Writing, Photography and Art groups, who have collaborated to produce an exhibition of interpretations and perceptions of each other’s works.
The U3A’s Maggie Bardsley explains, “The starting point of the process was either a photograph or a painting; this was passed to a writer, anonymously, for interpretation into words. Each piece of writing was then passed to a painter or photographer, again anonymously, for their interpretation. The outcome is a set of intriguing themed triple perspectives – with surprising results!”