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A Packed Programme of Summer Concerts Takes Centre Stage

Wednesday, 11th May 2011

It will soon be time to chill the champagne and pack the hamper for the range of musical and theatre performances taking place across The National Forest this summer.

Visitors will have a fantastic opportunity to see one of the country's finest violinists and rising talents on 16th July when classical BRIT Award Winning Violinist Ruth Palmer performs a concert in Calke Abbey's atmospheric Riding School, as part of her 'Hidden Acoustics tour'.

The parkland landscape of Calke Abbey then provides a beautiful setting for the family favourite, 'Pinocchio' on 3rd August.  Suitable for children over five, this fresh and exciting adaptation by Heartbreak Productions of Carlo Callodi's fairytale will mesmerise audiences of adults and children alike. Booking is essential for these events. For more details contact 01332 863822 or visit the 

At Kedleston Hall on 15th July Illyria will perform Gilbert & Sullivan's popular comic opera, Pirates of Penzance, which will be packed with laughter, romance and a galleon full of memorable songs!  The theatre company returns to Kedleston on 29th July to present an evening of romance, music and sheer utter joy as it performs Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on a stage inspired by those of the mediaeval touring troupes.  For more details and to book tickets contact 01332 842191 or visit the

The annual music festival returns to Heather on 29th-31st July offering a real mix of classical, Jazz, Folk, Rock and Cajun music.  And, the best thing is that it is free! For details visit the 

Set beside a pretty lake and surrounded by woodland, Conkers' covered amphitheatre will be hosting a packed programme of brilliant tribute bands throughout the summer months.  Bon Jovi UK will be making their much awaited return with the sounds of Bon Jovi on 28th May, followed by Take That Saturday on 4th June, the Mods and the Rolling Stoned on 18th June and Rockaholic on 9th July.  The Blockheads and Maz Mitrenko Band will rock the amphitheatre on 16th July, with the mellower sounds from the Magic of Motown on 23rd July.  August sees a great selection of bands including The Gleek Club on 12th, Talon – the best of the Eagles on 13th and Jackson Live on 19th.  There will also be Proms in the Park at Conkers on 20th August for visitors to bring a blanket, sit back and relax in the evening sunshine to a delightful performance from Ibstock Brick Brass Band.  The summer concerts at Conkers finish with a finale of Queen UK on 3rd September, T Rex on 10th September and U2 Experience on 17th September.  For more details on the individual events at Conkers visit the or call the booking hotline 01283 216633.

In addition to this programme of events, the National Forest Folk Festival is putting on an impressive line-up of bands at Conkers amphitheatre from 1st to 3rd July including Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Salsa Celtica, Rory McLeod, Seize The Day, Demon Barber Roadshow, Rod Clements, Monster Ceilidh Band, Kelly's Heroes, Pete White's Suitcase Circus, Dan Walsh, Tri, Alice Burn & Emily Hoile and Hand on Heart. Tickets are available from Ashby Tourist Information Centre on 01530 411767 or through the website

Alice Cooper returns to Download Festival at Donington Park on 10th - 12th June. Other bands headlining at this huge event include Def Leppard, The Darkness, System of a Down and Linkin Park. Tickets are available from the

Bloodstock heavy metal music festival will be held on 12th - 14th August at Catton Park. Chris Slade from ACDC described the concert by saying "Bloodstock is a festival NO metalhead should miss". For tickets call Tel: 01332 666370 or visit

On 29th to 30th May and 30th to 31st July visitors to Ashby de la Zouch Castle will see a Clash of the Knights and The Battling Barons. Medieval knights will be fighting for their honour in the Castle grounds with awesome combat displays!  For further details contact the castle on 01530 413343.

To find out which events are taking place the website thislink provides a full listing.  Or for more information on attractions, activities, events and places to stay in and around The National Forest, the 2011 visitor guides to the Forest and Beyond are bursting with great ideas.  These are available from Tourist Information Centres or from the National Forest Company on 01283 551211,