I aim to build on the success of the past two Festivals and, with help from the rest of the team, ensure that 2018 will be another wonderful time full of entertainment and celebration.
Work on the 2018 Festival programme is underway and I can tell you that there will be something for everyone of all ages - great music, inspirational speakers, comedy, new things to try out in a range of workshops, family fun and some unexpected sights around the village. I hope you will find yourself spoilt for choice!
You’ll already have seen the first of our Festival ExtrA! events, an evening with Simon Evans. We’re planning more of these during the year so you don’t have to wait until 2018 to get into the Festival spirit!
As you may know, the Festival is run entirely by volunteers – from the governing board to those who help on the day. Without these generous, community-spirited people the Festival wouldn’t be possible. If you can help in any way, please get in touch. We need people right now to help us in the planning stages. Have a look at our Volunteers Page and get in touch if you’d like to get involved!
I look forward to meeting you.
After all the months of planning and preparing, the Festival came and went so quickly. We had five amazing days filled with wonderful events - and wonderful people. We think the photo from the last evening just about sums it up. Take a look at the galleries and re-live your favourite moments.
We look forward to putting together another outstanding cultural celebration in Goring & Streatley in 2018. Happy times ....
We love having a first and we’ve certainly got one with Chris Russell! We’ll have Chris’s new book, Songs About a Girl available a full six weeks before the official launch!
Chris is incredibly excited about launching Songs About a Girl at the Gap Festival. “I was so lucky to grow up in a village full of people who are passionate about the arts, and it provided the foundation for my entire career. There’s an extraordinary amount of creativity in Goring & Streatley - I’m just happy to be a part of it!
Chris will be discussing the book with Fiona Pearce, of Croft & Pearce at the Swan Hotel in Streatley on Thursday so it’s going to be a lively session. Then you can buy your advance copy (get it signed!) plus we have goodie bags of lippy from Miss Sporty – sorry guys, but you can put yourselves in the good books with mum or girlfriends.
Songs About a Girl tells the story of sixteen-year-old aspiring photographer Charlie Bloom, whose world is turned upside down when she is invited to take backstage photos for hot new boy band, Fire&Lights. Songs About A Girl is book one in a heart-thudding trilogy about first love, pop music and the power of teenage obsession. And in another first - Chris has written several of the songs that appear in the novel, and will be performing some of these live at the Festival, for the first time.
The idea for Songs About a Girl in late 2013 popped up when Chris was working as a ghostwriter for a One Direction fan club. All the daily gossip updates about Harry Styles and co., gave him an unparalleled insight into the intense nature of fandom, and a book was born!
Join us at The Swan Hotel on Thursday 16th June at 6pm. Entry is free but you need to register as spaces are limited.
Lippy courtesy of Hodder and Miss Sporty. Everyone who buys a copy of Songs About a Girl will get a lippy pack!
Saturday afternoon and it’s party time!
Come and join an afternoon of dancing, cakes & cocktails as we get the afternoon off to a swinging start with Reading Swing Jam and the Big Band on Saturday 18 June.
If you have never tried Swing (from Charleston to Lindy Hop or Blues) then you are in for a treat. And if you already dance Swing you know what fun it will be!
For the uninitiated, Swing music comes under broad umbrella of jazz; it has a fabulous upbeat rhythm – think of Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” And there’s modern Swing music too – all with same “get up and dance” feel.
Reading Swing Jam teachers will show you some simple routines to get you started, and then the afternoon is yours to shimmy away to music from the Big Band. One thing is guaranteed, it will be hard to keep a smile off your face! Book your place before they go. You don’t need a partner to join in, just bring your dancing shoes (sneakers or heels, whatever you feel comfortable in). If you want to join the vintage vibe, why not dress up 40’s style and add a bit of glamour to the afternoon.
Saturday 18 June at 3pm in the Festival Marquee. Tickets here.
A little something to get you in the mood ....
A Festival is a celebration and a celebration needs a party! We’re kicking ours off with the brilliant LOVE SHOVEL in the Festival Marquee on Thursday 16 June at 9pm. If you know Love Shovel, you’ll want to be there, and if they are new to you all you need to know is that their sets are guaranteed to keep the dance floor full all night, they played with Boney M, Jamiroquai, Pablo Nutini, De La Soul, Belinda Carlisle and other top artists and they are simply amazing musicians & performers. So get your tickets and get ready to party!
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything - Plato
We have a wonderfully eclectic mix of nationally acclaimed artists and our own home grown talent to delight all tastes at this year’s Festival: classical, folk, rock, pop, soul & R&B. Our lovely venues will brim with delectable sound. It all starts with the delightful voices of local children with Berkshire Maestros in St Thomas’s Church (they will soar!) and unplugged local bands in the Morrell Room. Then you can immerse yourself in the music from top talent in the Festival marquee and throughout the villages … and what lovely choices you have … Arias, toe tapping tunes, serene summery sonatas, infectious indie pop, Indonesian gamelan, and gorgeously up-tempo grooves from the one and only Ruby Turner. And the festival will say goodbye for 2016 with a blast of fabulous music from our very own local bands (watch this space for news) and Goring’s answer to Pete Tong – Andy Ankerson. So get ready to let your imagination fly!
The Lightyears. Photo copyright Alex Cooke
The lovely Cara Dillon - "What may well be the worlds most beautiful female voice" - Mojo Magazine