Short Story Competition Winners

Best-selling author Lesley Pearse presented the prizes to the winners of Frome Festival’s eleventh annual short story competition in Frome Library on Sunday 13th July, when the winners were announced by organiser Brenda Bannister.
Around 450 entries had been received, some from all over the world, but the first prize was awarded to Kerry Hood of Bristol with ‘The Disappearance of Sailor Street’, a story in which a one hundred year old woman, about to be evicted from her home by developers, recalls her life - a wonderful character with a  strong, individual ’voice’. Second prize went to Joy Clews of Lincolnshire and third prize to Christine MacFarlane of Rudge. Stories by John Langan (Surrey), Sophie Sellars (Herts), Ethan Chapman (Glastonbury) and Ssmita Bhattacharya (Devon) were all highly commended. Local awards were also made to Kerry Hood, Christine MacFarlane, Ethan Chapman and David Mathews (Bath).
Kerry, Joy, Christine, Ethan, John and Sophie were all in attendance and the prize-winners received their cheques from Lesley Pearse.
Lesley explained that she had begun writing in her thirties. He mother died when she was a three and her childhood was frequently disrupted; as a girl she had a reputation as a colourful liar, which she thought had been a good training for a fiction writer! It was only when advised to ‘write what you know’ and she began to draw on her colourful working life that her first novel Georgia was accepted. She attributes her success and her large output (22 novels) to sheer persistence – getting up in the middle of the night and spending hours writing.
Two of the winning stories were read at the prize-giving before the winners and guests adjourned to Divas café for an informal buffet.
Frome FM will be broadcasting some of the competition entries over the next few months and the 2015 contest will open on January 1st next year.

Festival President Wins Mendip Area 2014 Somerset Volunteer Star Award

Martin Bax was the winner in the Mendip area of the 2014 Somerset volunteer Star award.

The first Somerset volunteer ‘Star’ award took place at County Hall on Thursday, July 17.  Cllr William Wallace, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, made the presentation.

To coincide with National Volunteer week Somerset County Council decided to celebrate volunteering in Somerset. The event was organised by the Somerset ‘You Can Do’ team on behalf of the Somerset ‘Celebrating Support’ group. They invited people to nominate volunteers in their area and a winning nominee from each of the districts was picked at random By Cll Wallace. The lucky winner from the Mendip District was Martin Bax.

Martin Bax was a Town and District councillor and a former Mayor of Frome. Martin is the President of the Frome Festival which he founded in 2001 and was the Director for the first seven years of its existence. He was a founding trustee of Rook Lane Arts Trust and is currently its Chairman. Over the years he has been involved in various organised fundraising events for local charities and organisations.

Martin Said “When I first heard that I had been nominated for this award, I was completely taken- a-back. My first reaction was that there must be more deserving people in the caring sector. However, the organisers informed me that one of the objects of the award was to highlight the wide variety of volunteering work that is done in Somerset. I am also pleased this award will highlight the good work done by so many volunteers in Frome. I like to think I am accepting this award on their behalf.”

Speaking at the award ceremony, Cllr Wallace praised volunteers for their efforts: “It is fantastic that we can recognise just a few of our dedicated volunteers here today. These individuals can be extremely proud of the selfless work they undertake in our county.
Volunteers are unsung heroes that do so much without asking for anything in return and I would personally like to thank all volunteers in Somerset for their work

Bryan Mitchell, Manager of the Somerset ‘You Can Do’ team said: “It’s been a fantastic privilege to have coordinated Somerset Celebrating Volunteering and particularly the Somerset Star Volunteer awards. To have over 150 nominations in the first year has been amazing and shows how much people in Somerset value volunteers. I am looking forward to next year and the chance to meet even more Somerset Star Volunteers.”

The prizewinners will each have a star named after them, an imaginative and memorable way of commemorating their achievements. To find out more about the awards and the winners see


Seann Walsh Cancelled

It is with great disappointment that the festival announces the cancellation of Seann Walsh at the Merlin this evening due to illness. Refunds will be made from point of purchase. We will try to re schedule the event at a future date.

The Open Studios – a note from the organiser

Open Studios: Iain-Kemp ®David-Chedgy FF14

Open Studios: The Silk Mill Venue 6 Sonja-Kuratle ®David-Chedgy FF14

 “Looking round just a few of the amazing Frome Open Studios last weekend I am stunned at the variety and beauty of the work created in Frome.  So I am doubly looking forward to another weekend of artistic splendour when I shall pack in as many of the rest as I can, including those whose creativity extends into their Hidden Gardens.  With all studios open 11am-5pm I should just make it round them all – I just don’t want to miss anything!” Caroline Walsh-Waring.

Open-Studios: Silk Mill Exhibition, Power Stations with Artist Lin Hawkins ®David-Chedgy FF14

Open Studios: Venue 11 Eleanor Swinhoe ®David Chedgy FF14

Nevertheless Pub Theatre announce cast of WAR ZONES

Nevertheless Pub Theatre are delighted to announce the cast for their festival production WAR ZONES: Bristol actors Olivia Dennis and Danann McAleer are coming direct from their current tour with “Wallace Real’s Ministry of Madness” to Frome ready to rehearse for the Tuesday and Wednesday night’s performances.

Nevertheless artistic director Rosie Finnegan says “WAR ZONES brings you six gripping 10-minute scripts to make you laugh and cry and think some!

With scripts from local playwrighting team Frome Scriptwriters and these two highly accomplished young actors, this is an event you won’t want to miss.”

8-9pm on 8th and 9th July, upstairs at the Cornerhouse, “Fantastic value for a fiver!”



If you’re still trying to decide what to do during the festival there are still tickets for many events, with many free events on offer too.

Although some workshops have now sold out at time of going to press there are still a few places on the JANE AUSTEN DANCE workshop, MAKING a FELT HAT, HULA HOOPING SKILLS, PERFUME MAKING, DRUMMING, BLUES HARMONICA, PATCHWORK PAPER PIECING and POETRY workshops.

THE WORLD FOOD FEAST on Saturday 5th will be bigger and better than ever this year. Bring a flag or make your own banner to wave and join the FROME STREET BANDITS outside St John’s Church at 5:30pm for a celebratory procession to the FOOD FEAST with music from ACOUSTIC PLUS. Eat, drink and enjoy live music in Frome’s riverside setting, with an exciting mix of World food stalls offering a range of cuisines. There will be plenty of space to stand and dance, or sit and relax, with a dedicated area for children’s activities put on by the Frome Children’s Festival. A+ will present live music with bluegrass from the FESTIVAL SESSIONS, the captivating singer-songwriter DAISY CHAPMAN, pop-pickers THE PIGEONS and a grand funky Afrobeat finale from THE SEA SLUGS. Also this year the festival is happy to announce inclusion of a TRAVELLING MARKET, and limited edition festival bags, with this year’s poppy design, on sale.

The Festival has an exciting line-up of emerging and well known favourites at THE GRANARY (The hidden venue behind the George).  After the Food Feast why not head over for an evening of Blues with EDDIE MARTIN and his gospel band?

And later on in the week …….

On Monday enjoy JOHN LAW’s electric project ‘BOINK!’, Tuesday an evening of folk with ANGE HARDY, Wednesday an evening of Bengali folk-fusion with KHIYO, Friday 11th CLAYSON sings CLAYSON a crazy evening of ballads and prog rock, and to finish up the week on Saturday a Dutch Folk band SNOWAPPLE.

There are many unusual and eclectic events this year. If you’re free during the week, Bonhams of Bath are offering Valuations at Frome’s very own Antiques Roadshow at the Cheese and Grain on Tuesday and a Vintage Bike Ride will be held in Victoria Park on Thursday.

On Sunday 6th Violin virtuoso Billy Thompson is bringing his immensely popular Gypsy Jazz style to the Rook Lane Chapel, promising a night of high energy, soulful musicianship and panache.



Men in General, a five- piece force of male vocal antics will perform on Saturday 12th.Described as: “The Goons of Harmony, A cappella at its best- and much more, Droll, witty chat and lovely, uplifting music.” Fake Thackray closes the festival on Sunday 13th at Rook Lane.  John Watterson performs the songs of the great Jake Thackray. Exquisitely funny, satirical, incisive, irreverent, witty and gloriously un-PC – and sometimes all of these at the same time.

If it’s Art you’re into, the Open Studios will be open both festival weekends, with some opening during the week as well. Please see Open Studios booklet, available at the Box Office or the Library, or you can download a trail map at:

There are many independent Art Exhibitions going on during the week at La Strada, Divas Café, the Cheese & Grain, Christina Oswin Jewellery. Frome Museum, Black Swan Arts, The Silk Mill and St John’s Church.

This year above the Grace Gallery (The Old Pound Stretcher Shop) you can also catch the evening opening on Saturday 5th from 6 till 8pm of SUBSTANCES ( Raw materials re imagined), which will continue during the week. At the Edventure Welshmill Hub, Frome Artists Thomas Lynn and Mr Sleven present a Live Art Performance Show/Exhibition OWTCIDER JREEMTYME with Visuals provided by VJ Ultra. The event is free of charge and BYO.

The Blue House Open Garden, with entertainment and refreshments, will be open both Saturday and Sunday from 11am the 1st weekend of the Festival. It’s a mini festival and it’s free, with the bands such as the Frukes (Frome’s Ukulele band) and a Hog Roast.


This year The Hidden Gardens will be open on the 2nd weekend for three days, from Friday 11th-Sunday 13th, with maps available from the Cheese & Grain Box Office and Enigma Pottery. A unique opportunity to explore the town and peak into private gardens normally hidden from view.

For comedy this year festival punters are spoilt for choice, with the New Act Competition Final kicking off at the Old Bath Arms, the winner will take home a trophy, cash prize and win a spot at the Submarine Comedy Club on Thursday 10th. If it’s top comedy you’re after, tickets are also still available for Paul Chowdhry on Thursday 10th and Seann Walsh on Saturday 12th.

There are tough decisions to be made on Saturday 12th with Madchester legends the Inspiral Carpets playing the Cheese and Grain, Folk award winners Salt House at Cooper Hall, or dance your socks off at Sensonic at the Silk Mill, which now has a 2am license confirmed.

Of course it’s not possible to mention everything here, from literary events, to classical music, opera, health walks, yoga …..

 Please see full line-up and events listings:

Box Office: 01373 455420

A Round-up of all things ‘Classical’ in the Festival

For anyone looking for classical music during the festival? Cooper Hall, which is home to the Festival patron Morag McLaren, has an exciting Festival week programme.

The fairytale opera of Hansel and Gretel; a collaborative production between Cooper Hall’s Emerging Artists Opera Workshop and the Bath Philharmonia opens the festival at Cooper Hall. It will be performed on both Friday the 4th and Saturday 5th July. As way of an introduction, a pre-Frome Festival operatic talk by Ash Khandekar is being put on at Cooper Hall on Sunday 29th June, on the themes contained within Hansel & Gretel the opera, suitable for all ages, opera novices and buffs alike. The talk is free and can be reserved directly at Cooper Hall.

On Thursday 10th July, John Law and Ian Bellamy will present an evening of their own compositions, as well as some well-known and lesser known classical masterpieces.

Cooper Hall welcomes an Acoustic four-piece, Salt House on Saturday 12th July. (Siobhan Miller: Vocals, Harmonium, Ewan MacPherson: Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Vocals Lauren MacColl: Viola, Fiddle, Euan Burton: Double Bass) from Scotland. Their reworking of old ballads sits alongside their own writing and the instrumental section wraps Siobhan Miller’s striking, distinctively Scottish voice in a myriad of musical colour and textures. Their sound is earthy, deep-rooted, built from grassroots folk with contemporary influences.  Previous winners of BBC Young Folk Awards, a Scottish Jazz Award and many titles at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, 2013 saw the release of their debut ‘Lay Your Dark Low’.

The Festival week at Cooper Hall closes on Sunday 13th July with a cello and piano Recital with Torun Stavseng and Anna Christensson. Playing pieces from the opening of Pohádka, Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Webern’s Kleine Stücke and the Shostakovich Sonata.

Elsewhere in the town at Christ Church on Saturday 5th July, Nick Edwards will play a lunchtime concert Midday Moonlight (original piano music) at 1pm, and in the evening Spectra Musica, a chamber choir, are in concert at St. John’s Church at 7.30pm embracing all styles of music from Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart to Mozart, Elgar, Gershwin and Lloyd Webber.

On Saturday 6th  July Christchurch presents Choral Evensong, a free event from 6-7pm with Tudor music by William Byrd and organ music by North German composer Franz Tunder. At 7.30 the Frome Symphony Cellists will play the haunting sounds of a cello ensemble in the wonderfully resonant acoustic of Christ Church, in a two hour concert playing music spanning seven centuries and diverse cultures. On Monday. On Monday 7th July Lovliest of Trees – songs for Tenor and Piano – again at Christ Church – an hour of songs with Schuman exploring the human journey through life, and beautiful English songs by Butterworth and Browne who were killed in action the WWI.

The Tin Church at Brokerwood presents the Bradford Baroque BandTelemann and Marais – Violin (Alison Townley), Cello (Mark Davies) and Harpsichord (Steven Hollas) on Tuesday 8th  July at 7.30pm, and on Thursday 10th July St Katherine’s Church in East Woodlands presents an afternoon concert at 3pm The Storytellers Ensemble. (Daniel Pioro, Gaya Bisenglieva (violins) Charlotte Bonneton and Robert Ames (Violas).

Christ Church welcomes James Scott, the famous verger of Bath Abbey to play Sublime Shadows – Bach by Candlelight on Friday 11th at 10pm

And to finish off the week on the Saturday 12th July the Christchurch singers with conductor Alan Burgess will be performing a lunchtime concert at 1pm Purcell’s Come Ye Sons of Art, and on Sunday 13th July, Frome Symphony will finish off the week with Beethoven’s 9th and Elgar’s Enigma at the Cheese and Grain.

SUBSTANCES – Raw materials re imagined

Having previously shown work at “The Parlour” gallery , Marian Bruce has re grouped these creatively distinctive artists in a new show at the Grace Gallery during this year’s Frome Festival.

The five artists come from a wide range of diverse backgrounds through from Graffitti sub culture to theatrical design.

Working in a variety of mediums and disciplines they come together to show a selection of recent work with a common thread. The show promises to be a unique experience that should not be missed.



Artists showing : Eleanor Bartlett , Boswell, Marian Bruce, Mutalib Man , Alex Relph

With projections by Klumpox

Upstairs at Evening opening Saturday 5th – 6 to 8pm

Sat 5th to Sat 12th July, 11am to 5pm (closed mon/tues)

Frome Festival Wonderful Workshops

FROME FESTIVAL has an array of practical and stimulating workshops which include something for the arty, crafty, musical and those seeking some inner calm. These are ideal for those wanting to try something new as they are priced to be affordable. Many of the workshops are now sold out but there are still places available on the following for those still considering having a taster:

For those looking for a musical experience we have the fun and inspiring Chris Large with his DRUMTASTIC DRUM CIRCLE on Saturday 5th July 2pm – 3.30pm. There is also a BLUES HARMONICA workshop with Frome’s award winning Harmonica tutor Eddie Martin on Monday 7th July 1pm -2pm (harmonicas available to buy at workshop).

Those with a crafty flair might want to try ENGLISH PAPER PIECING PATCHWORK with Catherine Hill’s Millie Moon team on Tuesday 8th July 10am – 12.  There is also a chance to make felt and NUNO FELT A MINI TOP HAT on Saturday 12th July 10am – 12, an ideal workshop to do with children over 8yrs.

 There are chances to get physical with the energetic HOOPDANCE learning the skill and a few tricks with hoops provided on Saturday 12TH July 2pm – 3pm. If you’ve never seen Lisa Lottie who makes Hula Hoop dance look so easy take a peek here.

Less energetic than Hoopdance on Thursday 10th July you can learn the steps of Regency dance and follow in the footsteps of Jane Austin herself with the JANE AUSTIN DANCE WORKSHOP this is suitable for all ages 10am – midday.

On Sunday 6th July 2pm – 4pm, there is calm and relaxation with a YOGA & MINDFULNESS MEDITATION WITH SOUND HEALING BOWL suitable for all abilities. With the soothing voice of Yoga guru Suzanne Thompson this promises to be a real treat at the lovely Sun Street Chapel venue.

To see the full details of these and many more exciting workshops, pick up a brochure or see

To book call 01373 455420

Submarine Comedy Club Line-up Announced

We’re pleased to announce that The Submarine Comedy Club is back with a comedy bang on Thursday 10th July 2014, Live at the Naval Room, the Archangel, Frome with a Frome Festival special.

The full line up is as follows;

Matt Price (Headliner) – a special Edinburgh Festival preview of ‘the Maryhill Monster’

Iszi Lawrence (opening act)

President Obonjo

Robyn Perkins

Sam Carrington

Tim O’Connor (MC)

Headliner – Matt Price

Matt Price’s new show for The Edinburgh Festival 2014 is The Maryhill Dinosaur. The story starts in November 2013 when Matt unexpectedly received a stab vest through the post from his good friend “Stab Vest Steve.” That is just one of many stories that shows people’s ability to be genuinely surprising and sometimes, a little ridiculous.
The title story – The Maryhill Dinosaur –  was initially inspired by a mentally ill man called Arthur who believed that he was a dinosaur. He lived in the Maryhill area of Glasgow and was known locally as a harmless (if eccentric) character.
Kate Copstick from the Scotsman newspaper gave Matt four stars at last year’s Edinburgh Festival 2013 for his “Turkeygate” show and described him as, “A terrific comedian and wonderful storyteller.”

Opening act Iszi Lawrence

Iszi Lawrence is a Time Out Recommended (2013) international comedian. She is a mainstay fixture at comedy festivals including the Reading Comedy Festival, The Camden Fringe and had her five-star stand up show at the Edinburgh Fringe. She is a critically acclaimed and adept performer, headliner in the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Norway and a cracking addition to any comedy line up.

President Obonjo

President Obonjo is coming to Frome to bring his comedy coup. Fantastic character act. Cheeky, loveable and engaging with a wealth of great material….Well saying that, we think he’s a character act?

Sam Carrington

After previous careers presenting BBC Radio and appearances on TV shows such as Daybreak Sam has now turned his attention to stand up comedy. His observational, surreal style is gaining him friends and supporters in audiences, bookers and professional talent. Finalist in the Bath Comedy Festival New Act of the Year 2014.

Robyn Perkins

Robyn draws on her life as an American in the UK to compare cultural differences and to share stories of debauchery. She works with the audiences in a friendly, chatty style and creates an honest, crude, and entertaining depiction of her life. Her charm and innocence juxtapose the subject matter at hand, resulting in a truly unique performance.

All this and regular MC – Tim O’Connor

Local Frome comedian Tim O’Connor attempts to hold all the mayhem together and keeps the comedy love going whilst reviewing all things Frome.

Come and laugh your head off this July at the Submarine Comedy Club, please bring spare head.

Tickets on sale via the Cheese and Grain box office…£10.00

Line ups can change occasionally, just like life.

Booking early is advisable

Doors open 8, start time 8.30 sharp