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Woodbridge: New music and art festival launches this weekend

Bird Radio, performing at Woodbridge Music and Art. Photo Chiara Ambrosio

Bird Radio, performing at Woodbridge Music and Art. Photo Chiara Ambrosio


Mercury Prize nominated acts, up-and-coming artists, old favorites and more descend on Woodbridge this weekend for a new music and cross platform arts festival.

Organised by music and art collective Noise of Art, daytime events will take place in Elmhurst Park and Market Hill Square and move into venues dotted around the town in the evening. Entry will be with a wristband, so the audience can move between venues to see different acts.

Acts announced so far include funk, afro-beat, hip hop, acid jazz and drum ‘n’ bass act Red Snapper, who have worked with the likes of Bjork, The Prodigy and Fugees. Just out of studio, their afro funk inspired LP is released this autumn.

Mercury Prize nominated five-piece Polar Bear, whose drummer Seb Rochford has worked with everyone from Pete Doherty and Herbie Hancock to Bret Anderson and Paul McCartney, are also on the bill along with UK hip hop legend TY.

Late 1980s Glastonbury headliners The Woodentops, a favourite of John Peel, were the first band to crossover between dance and indie music, prefiguring bands such as Happy Mondays with everyone from Paul Oakenfold to Ashley Beedle playing their records at early acid house parties.

Those just starting to make their mark in different areas of music include 18-year-old Ben Hauke, who uses vintage samplers to create new improvised live tracks from source material; teenage post punk band The Intermission Project, Keane collaborator Thomas J Spieght and Suffolk-based singer Charlie Law.

There’s a focus on local regional acts. Kevin Pearce, from just over the Essex border, has just completed a UK wide tour supporting Turin Breaks who spotted him playing a Blue Bus Tour gig in Woodbridge.

New East Anglian act Oculus offer a contemporary twist on rock, intertwining classic Deep Purple with something much darker.

Keyboardist and electronic music composer Jan Pulsford, who recently relocated to the easst coast from the USA, has worked with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Thomposon Twins and Nile Rodgers of Chic.

Lowestoft-based singer songwriter Rhiannon Mair joins east coast electro-folk band Aartwerk and local scene promoter/singer songwriter Peter Hepworth, while DJ Talulah Goodtimes is a leading local electro swinger. Bird Radio, Aldeburgh Music’s contribution to Woodbridge Art and Music, will be playing on the roof of the Riverside Theatre on Saturday.

Robert Castellani will demonstrate his virtuoso open string percussive guitar playing and Soulful house label Unique 2 Rhythm will showcase the international talent on its East Anglian imprint alongside veteran Suffolk deep house DJ Ben Allen. On a different DJ note, Ipswich’s NonSuch DJs is playing a northern soul set.

Among the international DJ line up, French disco don The Reflex has been tipped by Time Out as an act to watch out for. Italian DJ Severino, resident at London’s famous Horse Meat Disco club, will slip in a Saturday night appearance at Woodbridge between gigs in Lisbon, London and Munich.

Other DJs include The Hacienda veteran Justin Robertson and Si Begg, who has a habit of turning the dancefloor into a twisting and shuddering mass of energy as anyone who witnessed his recent Latitude sets will agree.

DJ Ben Osborne, the founder of Noise of Art and curator of Woodbridge Art and Music Event, is another Latitude regular having played the music and film stage alone eight times.

Meanwhile there will be a programme of art installations and exhibitions. Local arts organisations and promoters such as Aldeburgh Music Open Space, Blue Bus Tour, Steven Lay Music and Planet Patrol have also been invited to get involved.

There are different types of tickets available, ranging from daytime or evening events only to whole weekend options. Discount and advance tickets are available online and from venues in Woodbridge and Lilac Thyme shop at Woodbridge station.

Woodbridge Art and Music Event 2014 runs tomorrow and Sunday. For more details visit

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