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FRI 26 – SUN 28 MAY

The Spark Festival, various venues around Leicestershire, 22-29 May

A brilliant event for the kids (0-13 year olds) to get involved in, the Sparks Festival is the largest children’s arts festival in England and Wales and brings together the very best theatre, dance, music, visual arts and digital media events. You can expect a string of events including free creative learning workshops, the chance to create an art installation, lots of storytelling, dressing up, live music and backstage tours at Curve. The mudlets can even play with print and colour to create their own limited edition works of art at Leicester Print Workshops. There’s lots more going on around the county so take a look at the website and get booking tickets now.

Sparks Festival

Festival 2 Funky, Leicester, until 28 May

Now in its 4th year, Festival2Funky will be a fantastic celebration of Black music and arts, running at 2Funky Music Café. Seven days of unmissable bands, artists, DJ’s, comedians, masterclasses, workshops and B-Boys will include a range of high profile artists. This urban festival brings together a brilliant line up of artists in the city, in one venue over seven days. Highlights include Germany-based Akua Naru, Nia Soul with her full band, talented duo Lotto Boyz. There’s also poetry, comedians, dancers and fun workshops including vocal mastercalsss from Bizzi Dixon (finalist in BBC’s The Voice), a DJ masterclass run by world DMC Champion Jon1st, a comedy jam and dance battles.

2 Funky

Glastonbudget, Turnpost Farm, 26 – 28 May

Take a mahoosive farm, pitch up a couple of tents, add some booze, and a string of musicians to perform over three days and what do you get? Glastonbudget that’s what! Running since 2005, the festival has grown in popularity and what initially started as a festival for tribute bands, now also showcases new acts. This year the tribute bands line up includes, Fell Out Boy, Guns 2 Roses, Who’s Who, Totally Tina, Oasish (i love where this is heading) Fleetwood Back, The Bootleg Beatles and many more.

Glastonbudget

Ashby de la Zouch Food Gusto Festival, Sat 27 – Sun 28 May

The popular Ashby de la Zouch Food Gusto Festival is back for another weekend-long celebration of the region’s finest food and drink. Taking place in Bath Grounds, the Food Gusto Festivals gives visitors a chance to try gourmet food, hand made confectionery, artisan breads, speciality beers and locally produced wines, to name a few. Stock up your larder with delicious goodies from the event.

Food Gusto

Aqua Park, Rutland, 27th May – 23rd Sept

The UK’s biggest aqua park is opening up for the summer and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Now measuring over 100m by 80m this incredible floating inflatable water park has climbing walls, trampolines, balance bars, rockers, rollers, blast bags  and a special corner for adrenaline junkies. In a nutshell it’s awesome and we can’t wait to get soaked in this fun outdoor water playground.

Loughborough Rocks, Sat 27 May
This epic new event will see five bands perform and you, the audience will get a chance to pick your favourite to support the headliners at Wicked Hathern Fest ’17 in August. Watch acts including Christopher Moody And The Underground Kings, Hell On Heels, Rawkus Redz, Jitterz and Novocaine perform.

Bring The Paint, Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, Sat 27 May

Pic Credit: Inkie

This free international street art festival will see artists come together to transform Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. Bringing with them high impact, high quality and huge scale street art, the Cultural Quarter will play host to live artworks, music, skateboarding, breakdancing, BMX and a range of creative activities and exhibitions. Artwork being produced includes window illustrations, pop up street art exhibitions and major graffiti walls. There will also be music food and free after parties at The Soundhouse and The Shed. The event runs from 11am-4pm.  

Bring The Paint

Spirit of Harborough, Market Harborough 27- 29 May

Join in the celebration of local alcohol producers over the bank holiday weekend. Take part in taste tours, tutorials by local artisan brewers and tours and demonstrations from local producers. If you fancy a tipple on the day you’ll have plenty to choose from. On Mon 29, there will be a festival garden party at The Oat Hill Bar and Restaurant, featuring local food and drink stalls and live music.

Spirit of Harborough

Canteen Pop-up, LCB Depot, May 26-27

As part of Bring The Paint Festival (see above) monthly pop up Canteen will be running over two days this month. Whooo hoo. This means more tasty food! The menu on Friday includes burgers from Flying Cows, Poutine (with cheese and gravy) from The Gravy Train (big up to the French-Canadian dish BTW),  South American inspired street food & BBQ from Smoqued and more. Meanwhile on Saturday expect Big Daddies Diner, Grays, Bitsy’s Emporium and others.

Canteen

Moira Canal Festival, Ashby Canal, 27-28 May

Taking place on the restored length of the Ashby Canal, the festival will include a boat parade and a wide range of family entertainment around the banks of the canal. Visitors will also enjoy a spectacular magical performance, there will be music, with an assortment of bands and singers over the weekend, Morris dancing on Saturday, an RAF Dakota flypast on Sunday, fun for the children, live steam train rides, a variety of stalls and demonstrations, classic cars, historic engines, boats, plus a bar and refreshments. Shreck the boat horse will lead the boat parade and there will also be a chance to enter a duck in the Duck Race along the Ashby Canal.

Moira Canal Festival 

Medieval Castle life and laughter, Ashby de la Zouch, 28 -29 May 

Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of medieval England. See King Edward II inspect his castle’s defences against the revolting barons and talk to the castle’s crossbowman who is paid to defend the castle. Swords will be wielded and helmets battered as medieval combat is displayed in front of your eyes. Young knights can pick a sword and advance in the children’s battle drill – will you be good enough to be knighted and join in the battle? From 11am-5pm

Splash, Ashby de la Zouch, Sat 27 May 
Grab your swimming gear and head to Hood Park Leisure Centre for a dip in their outdoor pool. Open from Saturday, the pool is one of the last remaining outdoor swimming facilities in the country and it looks like this is where the party will be. Expect a poolside barbecue, and rafts and floats galore Entry on the opening day will cost £1 per person, with the pool opening at 9am and the barbecue lit at midday.
Ashby Arts Festival, Ashby de la Zouch, until Fri 2 June

Pic credit: Ashby Arts Festival website

Featuring local artists, musicians, song writers, poets, performers and story tellers, this local festival links everyone together through drama performances, street theatre, music, poetry, workshops, arts and photography competition. Many locations around the town host exhibitions, musical performances, workshops and talks. Go along and get involved.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Leicestershire