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From Metal to Mozart: Open Air Concerts Rock The National Forest

Friday, 4th May 2007

Whether rock floats your boat or metal is your thing, The National Forest is the place to come to see open air concerts this summer.

Conkers’ covered amphitheatre will be rocking audiences with a packed programme of bands throughout the summer months. Idyllically set beside the lake at Conkers Waterside and surrounded by woodland, bands that will set the stage alight include the Searchers and The Swinging Blue Jeans on Saturday 19 May, UB40 tribute band: Rats In The Kitchen on Saturday 9 June, Ian Drury’s famous band The Blockheads on Saturday 16 June, The Commitments and Never The Bride on Saturday 14 July, Talon-best of the eagles on Saturday 4 August, Pink Floyd Tribute on Friday 10 August, followed on Saturday 11 August by U2:UK. For more details on the individual events at Conkers visit the website www.visitconkers.co.uk or call the booking hotline 01283 216 633 (ext 6) for more information.

The annual Bloodstock heavy metal music festival will be held on Thursday 16 - Saturday 18 August at Catton Park. Chris Slade from ACDC described the concert by saying “Bloodstock is a festival NO metalhead should miss“. For tickets call 01332 666 370.

Heather Music Festival has an eclectic mix of music from big band to rock, jazz to classical, with the odd pop band thrown in for good measure. The main festival dates are 3-5 August 2007 but the festival has been extended to include an earlier performance of classical music on 28 July by the London Primavera Chamber Orchestra. Tickets can be booked by calling 01530 260 544.

The parkland landscape of Calke Abbey provides a beautiful setting for two fantastic open air concerts. Calke Party Night on Friday 10 August will be the ultimate tribute concert with The Magic Of ABBA, Utter Madness & Magic. The evening culminates in a sizzling celebration of the music of Queen and Freddie Mercury with internationally acclaimed tribute band Magic, set against a fabulous firework finale.

This is followed on Saturday 11 August with Calke’s Flying Proms Spectacular. The English National Orchestra will perform a superb programme of popular classics, film themes and Prom favourites. The concert gets off to a flying start with a breathtaking aerial display (to music) by an original WW2 Spitfire over the skies of Calke. The evening will conclude with a glittering fireworks finale to accompany the flag-waving frenzy of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope & Glory. For more information on both events telephone 01909 511061, email calkeabbey@nationaltrust.org.uk

The Forties Proms Night on Friday 1st June at Coors Visitor Centre in Burton upon Trent will have the Burton Concert Big Band and the Land Army Gang performing music from this wartime era. The event is part of a weekend of activities that will see a ‘fly past’ by a Dakota from the Battle of Britain flight during the following day. For more information call 0845 6000 598.

Just outside The National Forest in Repton, Derbyshire, Brian Ferry and Michael Ball will be entertaining the crowds on 7-8 July as part of Repton School’s 450th anniversary celebrations. Tickets are available from the Piccadilly Box Office on 0871 424 4444.

The National Forest Folk Festival is putting on an impressive line-up of bands at Conkers from 6-8 July including The Saw Doctors, Cherish the Ladies and Swarb’s Lazarus. Prolific folk singer Richard Thompson will also hold a special performance on 20 July. Tickets for the festival are available through Ashby de la Zouch Tourist Information Centre (TIC) on 01530 411 767 and Burton upon Trent TIC on 01283 508 111 or through the festival’s website www.affc.demon.co.uk

Penny Wilkinson, Tourism and Promotions Officer for the National Forest Company said: “It is fantastic that there is now such diversity of music in the Forest. The new woodland and ancient Forest that frame The National Forest make a fantastic back-drop for music and theatrical events which is the reason it is becoming increasingly popular as a venue for organisers to stage concerts here.”

As well as the music concerts, there are hundreds of events taking place across The National Forest throughout the year. These include outdoor performances such as Romeo and Juliet at Calke Abbey, Clash of the Knights at Ashby de la Zouch, Picnic in the Parks, guided walks and The National Forest Wood Fair on Monday 27 August.

To find out what events are taking place across The National Forest the Visit & Explore pages www.nationalforest.org/visit provide a full listing. The National Forest’s newsletter, Forest Scene, also has details of events, dates and contact numbers to get tickets.

For more information on attractions, activities, events and places to stay in and around The National Forest, the 2007 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 tel: 01283 551211, email: discover@nationalforest.org.