Soak up the music

WESTONBIRT Arboretum near Tetbury plays host to the 17th annual Forest Live series of summer gigs and tonight sees one of the biggest acts to emerge from the X Factor stable - Olly Murs.

Olly burst on to our TV screens in the famous talent show in 2009 and since then his debut single Please Don’t Let Me Go shot to number one, his song Thinking of Me charted at number four on the UK Singles Charts and received a Silver certification by the BPI, Heart Skips a Beat was his second number-one single and Dance with Me Tonight, became his third to reach number one. He will be singing songs from his latest number one album, 24 Hours, at Westonbirt.

Pop icon Rick Astley, with support from Rumer, will be heading into the forest tomorrow. His smash hit Never Gonna Give You Up became the biggest selling single of the year and hit the number one slot in more than 16 countries. Other top 10 hits were Together Forever, She Wants To Dance With Me, Hold Me In Your Arms and many more. Recently the popster has notched up his first number one album in 29 years called 50, which has gone gold.

Rick said: “I can’t wait to perform as part of Forest Live and I really hope you can make one of the dates to enjoy the experience with me.”

Craig David, the UK Garage pioneer, sings a mix of his latest hits including When The Bassline Drops, Nothing Like This and the BBC Children In Need official single Following My Intuition mixed with his earlier classics when he comes to Westonbirt on Sunday.

Craig said: “I’m really looking forward to playing at Forest Live, there’s always something special about playing outside in the English summer.”

His urban sound went pop with a bang, and his duet with Sting, Rise And Fall, put him firmly in the British music firmament.

Forest Live concerts aim to raise awareness of England’s forests and wildlife. The concerts generate income to protect and improve the forests. The concerts, which are family friendly, are organised by the Forestry Commission, which hopes to attract people who would not usually visit. Westonbirt is set in a natural amphitheatre surrounded by trees, with a number of food outlets and beer tent.

Tickets are available from 03000 680400 or

Have a chat with the wall

IT’S your last chance to settle down for chips and egg with legendary housewife Shirley Valentine this weekend.

The luminous Jodie Prenger, who rose to fame when she won the role of Nancy in Oliver! as part of the BBC’s I’d Do Anything show, brings to life the bored and neglected 42-year-old who throws in the tea towel in favour of a fortnight’s holiday in Greece.

Willy Russell’s brilliant one-woman show will make you laugh and cry as you follow Shirley on her journey of self-discovery.

Witty one liners, bruising honesty, tittle tattle and romance all come together to form an inspirational and entertaining show.

Prenger slips between characters brilliantly — and even manages to cook real chips and egg on stage as she goes.

The performance at the Wyvern Theatre begins at 7.30pm tonight and tomorrow. Tickets are from £21.50 to £33 from 01793 524481 or

Walk down memory lane

NIP along to Lydiard Park on Sunday and join a warden on a tour of the park and learn about the life of the place when the St John family lived here, while seeking out defining features such as the ha ha and plunge pool. The walk lasts from 11am to 1pm and costs £3 per person. Book in advance on 01793 466664.