Welcome back to Rye Festival

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The 45 annual Rye Arts Festival kicks off tomorrow (Saturday) with more than 60 events scheduled to take place during a packed fortnight, featuring world-class artistes.

To get the town in the mood for a fortnight’s feast of the arts, Saturday will see rhythmic drummers, cool jazz music, puppet theatre, the melodious tones of the Rye Ukulele Experiment and a strange giant octopus at points around the centre of the town.

The huge Octopot (an octopus in an enormous pot) will be somewhere on the streets of Rye at 11.30am, 1pm and again at 2pm.

At noon the cool sounds of The Music Well Jazz Group will strike up just inside the doors of St Mary’s Church as the twelfth strike of the bell’s end – drop in and listen to easy listening jazz and some Latin rhythms that will transport you in a bossa nova heaven to Rio from Rye-o.

At 1.30pm the Drumskulls will start to strike their drums outside the Kino Digital before marching off on a parade through Church Square. The parade will finish by the north side of the Methodist Church and the entrance to the Ypres Tower Museum where the puppeteers of Idolrich Theatre Company will perform the highly entertaining The Walrus & The Carpenter.

At 3pm the action is in the High Street as a select band of Rye Ukulele masters strike up their mighty midget guitars. At 3.30pm the Drumskulls will start on another parade from Rye Kino before a second puppet performance at 4pm.

There will be plenty of contemporary and classical music, literary talks, historical walks, film, theatre, art exhibitions and children’s events over the two weeks.

Highlights include The Coal Porters, a British-American band who play self-styled ‘alt bluegrass’ and are sure to get the audience at Rye Community Centre up on its feet on September 20.

With fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and bass driving the music forward, Rye will be transported to Appalachia for the night.

And the very best of the new wave young folk musicians of the Celtic fringe are coming to town on September 22 when 9Bach, a Welsh group which plays such hauntingly beautiful music that is hard to tightly pigeon-hole. The group won the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Album.

On September 18 there will be a free gig at The Oak in Rye Foreign featuring a band called The Passing Show, who plays the music of the great Ronnie Lane and a range of music from his contemporaries. The band includes is ex-Ronnie Lane player Andy Guainiere.

Two live operas will bookend the festival, with a performance of Britten’s Turn of the Screw tomorrow (Saturday) and the festival finale on October 1 will be a fun-filled performance of Don Pasquale. Both are being performed by Euphonia Opera Company.

Tzu-Yin Huang, the young Taiwanese winner of the recent 2016 Hastings International Piano Competition, is jetting in from USA for a concert on September 21. It is the turn of young Polish pianist Anna Szalucka on September 19, courtesy of sponsorship by the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

And violinist Anthony Marwood, who co-directs the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival, is joined by his favourite accompanist Aleksandar Madzar, on September 20.

There is a great deal more on offer over the two weeks. For further details, or to book tickets, call the Box Office on 01797 224442 or visit www.ryeartsfestival.co.uk.

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