Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Most ‘diverse, extensive and exciting’ Thatcham Festival in 22 years

The Mayor of Thatcham, Councillor Jeff Brooks writes:

In this its 22nd year, Thatcham Festival is the most diverse, extensive and exciting that it has
ever been with over 45 events covering a wide spectrum of arts and leisure activities which
are taking place at locations throughout Thatcham.

There are guided walks through some of the amazing countryside surrounding Thatcham,
as well as the rich history around Thatcham’s Town Centre, talks with bestselling authors
Robert Harris and Holly Webb, music concerts and events covering Brass, Wind, Choral,
Celtic as well as Contemporary, and we are particularly looking forward to The Big Thatcham
Fest-Off and seeing ‘Beyond the Sons’ take to the stage as they feature Thatcham school
boys and there is much interest in the band nationally we understand. The Big Thatcham
Fest-Off takes place on Saturday 15th October from 5-9pm with Thatcham High Street closed,
a stage programme which also features West Berkshire Rock Choir, ‘Sion and Zoe present
Thatcham Introducing’ highlighting the best acoustic artists and bands in the local area and
an artisan style street market.

With concern for the environment such an important issue, we are delighted that we have
talks that focus on re-wilding and how we can make a difference, Holly Webb’s talk on her
new novel shows the importance of nature to wildlife. The return of Apple Day after a few
years’ absence is a wonderful family day out. There is also the Thatcham and Newbury
Sustainable Living Market which, aside from offering sustainable products, also provides
advice on how you can make easy changes to your own lifestyle. I look forward to attending
as many events as possible and welcoming regular and new Festival goers to this year’s
Festival.

There is indeed something for everyone at this year’s Festival with preschool and family fun
events including the popular Leisure and Craft Fair taking place in The Broadway and St
Mary’s Church on Saturday 22nd October. An Art Exhibition takes place on Saturday and
Sunday, 15th and 16th, with a Photographic Exhibition the following weekend, both taking
place at the historic Old Bluecoat School.
The finale event of The Festival is always special, and this year will be no exception with
Cold Ash Brass Band presenting a specially themed concert in connection with the late H.M.
The Queen’s, 70 years of Service. If you always wanted to sit in whilst an Orchestra is
rehearsing, or indeed join in with them, there is an opportunity with acclaimed Beenham
Wind Orchestra who have an Open Rehearsal on the evening of Friday 14th October at St
Mary’s Church. Music features strongly at this year’s Festival and there are also singing
events with Watership Cantabile, Incantata Ladies Choir and Harmony Choir, whilst an
evening of Celtic Music with Mark T and special guests will also be on offer.
For those nearing or indeed retired, u3a (University of the 3rd Age) will be showcasing the
many societies available with an open afternoon on Thursday 20th October at Thatcham
Catholic Hall. Interested in retro computers and retro games, then Newbury and District
Hackspace will be allowing you to ‘have a go’ at The Pavilion at The Moors Playing Field on
Saturday 22nd October.
There is much, much more on offer at Thatcham Festival, with a theatre show, Half-Light,
which takes us back to a family during VE Day in 1945, an introduction to Church Bell
Ringing, Ghost Walks, Classic Car Show, Bird Walks, Dance Gala featuring dance from 14
different regional Dance Schools, an Astronomy observing evening and there’s more still!
To find out more about the events and activities taking place at Thatcham Festival, and
when and where they are taking place, your first port of call is Thatcham Town Council’s
Festival website where you can see the full programme:
https://thatchamtowncouncil.gov.uk/events/a-festival/
You can also follow Thatcham Festival on social media:
Facebook: @thatcham Festival
Twitter: @thatchamfest
Instagram: @thatchamtc
Or drop into participating venues or the Town Council Offices on Brownsfield Road, RG18
3HF to pick up our Brochure or call 01635 863592.