Radio Warwickshire Astro Blog for June Part I

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starsI’d been struggling with writing this months blog,, but i sat this morning listening to Darren Hayes/ Savage Garden music, To The Moon and Back came on and it gave me the boost required, so many Thanks Darren for that! So, onwards i go, With so much happening in June, i am not sure where the time has gone but it has come around so fast.

INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMY SHOW, 7TH & 8TH June, Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, Fosse Way, Leamington Spa CV31 1XN.

” Visitors to WEC can enjoy a day out taking advantage of the excellent disabled and child friendly facilities, on site restaurant and amples of FREE parking. There is even a cash machine on site. With 2250 sqm of exhibition space all on one level, Making the International Astronomy Show the biggest Astronomy Show in the UK “

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We are just about ready to face the mass of people that will attend the International Astronomy Show on June 7th & 8th 2014, we will be at stall 46, so come along, drop by, say Hi, and don’t be afraid. Go here and buy your tickets, We look forward to seeing you there > http://www.ukastroshow.com/tickets/

Normally, it’s not us to promote things like this, but this event was excellent last year, and we only attended as a group of friends meeting up, but it was truly awesome. There are also many lectures taking place over the weekend, Pete Lawrence, Dr Lucie Green (couldn’t leave her out could i Richard?) Mark Thompson, Nick Howes, just to name 4 people that are doing a talk, all info on tickets for these are available on the above website.

Beginners, we are going to be there for YOU, we have all been there, where asking questions seem silly or stupid, but let me tell you, NO question is either of those. You are just starting or you are thinking about starting out in Astronomy, what is up there, takes a long time to learn, and you cant have all the answers. SO, now is your chance to come ask us the questions that YOU think are stupid or silly, we will help you! If you need advice on what Telescope is best for you, how do i attach a camera, What camera is best, What computer programs do i need etc, then we are just the people to ask, and if you live local, then even better, we can help you set up and show you how to get the best out of your new telescope, so make sure you pick up a leaflet of when and where we meet up every month!

Interview with Willmott Dixon Employee Elaine Ingram who has gone under the razor charity

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elaineElaine, who has worked at the North Birmingham branch of Willmott Dixon for over five years, has shaved her head for the second time in ten years and raised £1000 in the process.

Elaine, who lives in Bartley Green, was affected by cancer after her close friend, Karen, was diagnosed in August 2012, but after having half a lung removed, weeks of chemotherapy and numerous scans, she has now been given the all clear. Elaine is now a keen fundraiser for both St Marys Hospice and the Roy Castle Lung Foundation.

Elaine’s efforts have also been supported by the Willmott Dixon Foundation, which pledged £100.

Elaine said: “After cropping my hair the first time around, I really wanted to go that extra step this time, so I decided to completely shave my head. A close friend of mine suffered from lung cancer, and it really hit home the importance of charities such as the Roy Castle Lung Foundation and St Marys Hospice.

“I want to raise awareness of the hard work and personal sacrifices people working for these charities make, and shaving my hair off really gets people talking and asking questions. The response to my fundraising has been incredible, and donations such as that from Willmott Dixon, as well as friends and family, have meant I’ve surpassed my target.”

For more information or to donate you can go to Elaine’s JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/elaine-ingram2

Elaine’s fundraising comes weeks after the community actions of Willmott Dixon staff received a Royal seal of approval, with the company achieving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. One of the areas highlighted by judges in making the award was the £1 million worth of community investment made by the company and staff each year to local good causes.

Willmott Dixon is committed to charity and community work, and actively encourages staff members to raise funds and engage with their local community. Each staff member is given a day each year to contribute, and every Willmott Dixon branch has fundraising aims for local and national charities.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships is currently working with Birmingham City Council to repair and maintain 60,000 properties in the city. It’s two contracts for the north and south of the city includes the areas of Edgbaston, Hall Green, Northfield, Selly Oak, Ladywood, Erdington, Perry Bar and Sutton Coldfield.

Reporter @LianeKate

Interview with Raff Achour of Boot-Led-Zeppelin

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led zepBoot-Led-Zeppelin are internationally recognised as the ultimate tribute to Led Zeppelin. The band tour most of the UK from theatres and festivals to the most legendary of music venues. International tours have included Austria, France, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Malta, Portugal, Belarus and 3 highly successful Russian tours.

Clients have included Channel 5, Sky TV, Harley Davidson Owners Group, to mention just a few over their lengthy career. The band were asked to officially represent Led Zeppelin for the live finale on the BBC TV programme, “I’m in a Rock ‘n Roll band”, helping the nation to vote Led Zeppelin as the No.1 rock band of all time.

Boot-Led-Zeppelin capture the magic and excitement of Led Zeppelin’s legendary concerts. Their close attention to detail, and sheer presence and energy on stage, ensure to take their audience on a journey back in time, delivering the ultimate Led Zeppelin experience!

UK tour dates
May 2nd – O2 Academy Oxford
May 30th – The Assembly, Leamington Spa
August 29th – Wyvern Theatre, Swindon
September 12th – Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne
October 4th – The Robin 2, Bilston
October 24th – The Priory Centre, St Neots

Assembly – 087122002602 http://www.leamingtonassembly.com

For more information and the latest news Http://www.boot-led-zeppelin.com

Reporter @LianeKate

Interview with Richard Fonge ahead of this years Kenilworth Show 7th June

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The NFU’s Let’s Talk Farming roadshow, which tours the country annually, will be a welcome attraction at the already successful Kenilworth Show on Saturday, June 7.

The roadshow and its farming presenter, Johnny Ball, have been a huge hit with families for more than a decade and Johnny said he was looking forward to the event, which is organised annually by Kenilworth and District Agricultural Society (KADAS) and takes place on the showgrounds opposite Stoneleigh Park.

The NFU roadshow features Annabelle, a model dairy cow, has a farmland stage with Astroturf floor, a landscape backdrop with video footage of farm animals, tractors and crops, straw bale and cow-hide seats.
Warwickshire College will be leading tree climbing demos throughout the day at the event on the showgrounds opposite Stoneleigh Park after linking up with show organisers Kenilworth and District Agricultural Society (KADAS).

Diane Whitehouse, Vice Principal at Warwickshire College said, “We’re delighted to be offering tree-climbing and arboriculture demonstrations at the Kenilworth Show this year, showcasing the skills and talents of our students and staff.

“I hope the visitors will enjoy the demonstrations, as well as visiting our main stand which shows everything the college has to offer, including equine, animal welfare, agriculture and countryside courses.”

Other key attractions on the day will include performances from medieval stuntmen the Knights of Middle England who bring the historic sport of jousting to life in the 21st Century.

The event will also host a vintage display of classic cars, the chance to see real birds of prey up close, cattle, sheep and equestrian classes, while the countryside area also includes the chance to try air rifle shooting, clay shooting, gun dog scurrying and demonstrations with working dogs

There will also be plenty of children’s amusements and displays for the whole family to enjoy, alongside a host of trade stands and food and drink outlets.
Over the coming months it will visit more than 80 schools, shows and events in 26 counties reaching around one million show goers, food lovers and schoolchildren.

Farmer Johnny Ball said: “The popularity of the roadshow continues to go from strength-to-strength and it’s great talking farming and speaking to the public about where their food comes from and the work we are doing.

“This year will be the roadshow’s busiest ever and I’m delighted to be off to Kenilworth Show for the first time as it has such great pedigree and is now the main event in Warwickshire.
Gordon Gatward, from KADAS and chairman of the Kenilworth Show organising committee, added: “We’re thrilled to have secured the NFU roadshow for the Kenilworth Show and is a fantastic addition to the line-up of entertainment on the day.
For further details about the Kenilworth Show visit www.kenilworthshow.co.uk

Reporter @LianeKate

Judie Tzuke – Woman Overboard Tour – #Amazing

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If you listen to my radio show ‘That Was Then This Is Now’ you will know I am a huge Judie Tzuke fan and have been for many years.  On Sunday 25th May I had the pleasure of seeing her at The Stables in Milton Keynes.  Before I mention the show just have to say The Stables is a great venue, holding up to 400 people and it is next door to Cleo Laine’s house! I was on the second row feeling very much part of the ‘action’ and the theatre was full!

Judie was supported by two great acts. First there was Jamie Lawson who I had seen perform last year at Marylebone Station.  He sounded fabulous then but at The Stables he was just fantastic.  Jamie played six tunes covering his musical career from ‘Almost All The Time’ from his first album ‘Last Night Stars’ through to the more recent ‘Moving In’ from ‘Between Each Breath’ EP.  At the end of his set he said he would stay and chat in the break and if you wanted to buy a CD you could to cover the cost of his ‘tour bus’ – he went on to explain one sale would cover this.  Such was the success of his set that there was a huge queue at not only the end of his set but also at the very end of the show!  I can really recommend checking out Jamie and his material – (In case you didn’t know he has had a number 1 in Ireland!)

Jamie was followed onto the stage by Judie’s daughter Bailey, who was accompanied by her sister Tallula on backing vocals and Ben Mark on guitar.  Bailey played a short set comprising some new tunes which will be released shortly as well as a side project she is working on.  Bailey has an excellent voice and I’m really looking forward to hearing more from her.  I’ve already requested that she plays her own tune ‘Strong’ when I see her next!

So to the main event and the superb Judie Tzuke.  Judie came out to the stage with just Ben Mark and performed the beautiful ‘All at Sea’, the band then joined for a stirring version of ‘One Tree Less’.  I’ve said before that Judie has a very special voice and on Sunday despite having only just recovered from a throat infection she really did sound as good as ever. It is clear that Judie and her band love what they do and each one is amazingly talented.  In what other band have you seen a drummer also play viola?  The whole band were superb musicians and Ben Mark’s guitar playing was exceptional (how many guitars does he have?).  Her set covered her whole career including her hit from 1979 ‘Stay With Me Till Dawn’ right up to the title track of her new unreleased album ‘Women Overboard’.  The stand out tracks for me were ‘Tonight’ from the ‘Wonderland’ album and a fabulous cover of John Martyn’s ‘May You Never’ with Judie, Bailey and Talulla all taking a turn at lead vocals.

The set closed with the beautiful track ‘If’ based on the Rudyard Kipling poem.  No one left and after a standing ovation Judie and her band (including Jamie Lawson) were back to perform an ‘a capella’ version of ‘For You’.  The whole show finished with an uplifting version of Sukarita and another standing ovation.

The whole evening was amazing but was made even more special as everyone who waited got the opportunity to talk to Judie, Bailey, Jamie and the band.  They were all simply charming and it was a delight to be in their company.

This was a fantastic evening with an amazing talent who I believe is a National Treasure.  If you wish to hear a number of the tracks from the concert you can catch them on my show this week on Sunday at 8 on Radio Warwickshire.  Alternatively if you get a chance go to see the concert live as there are still some dates left on the tour – go to www.tzuke.com/ to get all the latest information – you will have a great evening!

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Judie Tzuke with daughters Bailey and Talulla

Roman Empire: Power and People

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Roman Empire: Power and People
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry
16th May – 31st August

Rome ID Portrait2Anyone who thinks that England would be better off without all the foreigners clearly has not understood English history at all. Ours is a history of constant invasion, not only of the war-like political kind but also invasions of foreign ideas, fashions, food and drink, art, beliefs and knowledge. This island has been a crucible that bubbles with the heat generated by multiple cultures for over two thousand years.

This is not an exhibition about a country at the point of conquest, and nor is it about the end of an empire. It is about the 400-plus years that came between the two; a period of time when England was part of an empire that stretched from the borderlands of Scotland in the north, to Syria and Iraq in the east, south to Libya and Egypt and west to Morocco and Portugal. It is easy to think that we know this story; we know how the Romans came along and built us a road network and brought awe-inspiring engineering skills, only to depart again, scattering behind them handfuls of coins and tesserae for archaeologists to dig up centuries later. But the detail in this exhibition tells us a greater story; it is the little personal objects and the small hints of complex belief systems on display here that enable us to see more than just the massive scale and the sheer power of the Roman Empire; here we see through all of that, and can come face to face with the people who lived under its rule, on the very land that we now occupy.

This remarkable exhibition brings together around 300 objects from across the Roman Empire. Some huge and heavy, and others barely the size of your thumb-nail, some are rough stone and some are gleaming gold – but each is a dazzling little glimpse back at the people we used to be. Over 160 of the objects have come to Coventry from The British Museum in London, others are star exhibits on loan from other historic sites and museums such as Hadrian’s Wall, English Heritage managed Wroxeter Roman City, The Lunt Roman Fort and Rugby Museum. As you arrive you are caught in the gaze of the most exquisite statuette of Hercules in gilded bronze; fine, strong and heavy – and still bright after two thousand years. There are beautiful things here: a child’s knitted sock from Roman occupied Egypt, with its cheerful stripes still vivid; an invitation to dinner, written carefully on papyrus and preserved in the dry sands of Egypt; and the funny little feet of a tiny figurine, that remain standing while the rest of it is lost.  And again, before you turn to leave you, are confronted by the steady, calm eyes of the life-sized stone-cut figures that grace a huge Roman funerary monument. Nestling among these internationally important artefacts are pieces that tell the story of our own corner of this province – there are finds from the Lunt Roman Fort at Baginton, a quern stone and amphora from Warwickshire, fragments of wall plaster and geophysics images from new excavations at Broadwell, a gold amulet from Oxfordshire and a huge pig of lead, from the area’s lead silver mines, that was somehow discarded along the Fosse Way. Then, when you look more closely, you start to understand the real story – how the new taste of wine and olives arrived packed inside those amphorae, how strange and beautiful new Gods blazed into our imaginations, how the brightly painted plaster and mosaic floors of the rectilinear architecture replaced our cosy, Hobbity roundhouses and how the shining, multi-coloured millefiori glass changed our taste in trinkets. This exhibition tells a story that is more appealing, more complex and far more interesting than is expressed in the words:  ‘military occupation’.

One of the greatest mistakes of historical thinking that we can make is to allow the assumption that cultural change as a one way process. While there was certainly some extremely brutal repression of the Celts, there is also plenty evidence that not only were the Romans quite at ease with the mingling of celtic beliefs with their own, but also that Rome itself embraced gods, foods, ideas and even leaders from other parts of its Empire. Of the hundreds of objects on display in this exhibition, for me the most revealing is stone altar from the Gloucestershire that shows a Cotswold Hunter God, a sort of cross between the Roman god Apollo and the Celtic hunting god Cernunnos. Roman influence streamed like a river through our culture; and along that river in both directions, back and forth like the trading vessels, also travelled the ideas, tastes and objects that linked our little island to Europe and the Middle East.

While Roman Empire, Power and People is aimed at children, there is nothing diluted and simplified about its presentation. Schools and parents will find well-written interpretation, rather than ‘facts’ about revolting Romans.  This is our history with all the complex and confusing bits left in. The space is used intelligently, with key areas left open so school groups can gather, and the myriad objects are displayed with humour and intelligence. The staff of the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum have clearly enjoyed themselves immensely, and that makes all the difference! There are areas where you can take instruction about how to dress as a Roman, and then take and post selfies on social media, and the exhibition has a kaleidoscope of games and videos that help to draw visitors in to the story of the Roman Empire. Children and adults will be amused and delighted to see the statuette of golden Hercules displayed from the back as well as the front, giving the most spectacular view of his perfectly formed, pert Roman bottom. After all, anyone who has studied art history will know that perfection of form and an artistic understanding of ideal human anatomy was an idea central to Greek and Roman culture.  And, here it is, on full display!

The exhibition is itself a testament to the role of both the British Museum and the many local collections around the country in enabling us to understand the true complexity of the English identity. Go! Take your children – and your parents too – to see this exhibition. It is now more essential than ever that we understand how important the arrival of foreign ways has been to our country’s history, and the extent to which foreign influence is part of being English.

Roman Empire, Power and People is at The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry in partnership with The British Museum. 16th May – 31st August 2014

During the half term and summer holidays there are many of events and activities for children; and adults will find plenty curator tours and evening lectures.

Adult ticket £5, child £2.50 – concessions, family tickets, advanced booking reductions also available. See their website for details http://www.theherbert.org

Photo Credits: © The Trustees of the British Museum

Review by: @autumnrosewell

Stick in the Wheel – Bones EP

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By @AutumnRosewell

I’ve lost count of the number of young female folk artists who send me material with publicity asserting that they ‘sound like a young Joni Mitchell’ along with photographs of themselves performing at festivals wearing as few clothes as possible, as if to make up for the fact that they aspire only to sound like someone else. There are also lots of nicely groomed, shiny-haired young men who tell me, usually with great pride and self-importance, that the folk revival of the 60s and 70s is irrelevant to their work – but who then send me a very traditional piece of folk storytelling, apparently under the impression that they have created something new and original, and consequently leaving all the hard work to those who are prepared to acknowledge a huge debt to the musicians of sixty years ago. However, every now and then something slinks quietly into my inbox that sounds like nothing else I’ve heard, and is so brimming with personality that I’m hooked from the first shuddering chord. Stick in the Wheel is one of those strange and beautiful creatures that slipped in quietly one evening, like a fly-by-night intent on mischief and insolence. This group deserves to be described only as sounding like themselves, to compare them to another group would be to overlook sheer originality of what they have created. Furthermore, I don’t need to see a glossy website and publicity material to understand that they have a deep knowledge of historic folk and a ravenous appetite for the ancient grime and human decay that is their home city of London. Stick in the Wheel has the confidence to grab words and melodies from our past and drag them, coarse and uncleaned, back into London’s still-filthy pubs and silt-braced riverside venues.

Bones is the new EP from this London trio. There are five tracks, each of which cries something different; some are their own interpretation of much older songs, and some are original work, but all have a strange prettiness and dirtiness to them. The overall effect puts me in mind of the disturbing beauty of dying flowers; sensuous roses at the moment that decay starts to creep in.

The opening track, Four Loom Weaver is a lament on starvation that dates itself to the time of the American Civil War, when cotton was suddenly – and inexplicably to the English weavers – in short supply. Like the best of our oldest songs there are many versions of this song on record in Roud’s collections, all lovingly wrapped in silk and stored by folklorists. Stick in the Wheel has revived a version from Lancashire, made it their own while paying great respect to its origins and, dare I say it, allowed it to still be relevant at a time whenthe almost medieval threat of starvation and disease once again haunts our poorest communities.  All The Things is one of two original pieces on this EP. It is a beautiful and troubling song of fire, grief and loss. The whole song is engulfed in choking smoke out of which a sickening horror creeps up on you. It is so far from the limp whimsy that characterises so many folk acts on the current scene that it is tempting to describe this fire-storm as cleansing. The vocals are ramped up and the lyrics clear and arresting. With great poise and elegance the accompaniment is stripped right back to a pretty, but constantly churning few phrases which are given depth and a certain darkness by the tense, slow pounding of drums. Poor Old Man is a horrid little folk tale, but fascinating. Like the ballad of Long Lankin it tells an unsavoury tale from which the nice healthy part of you reels back in disgust, while the night side of your soul leans forward to hear it all the better. This is another original piece from Stick in the Wheel; they choose to twist the screw even tighter by turning the tale into a foot-tapping dance with lively string work swirling along behind the vocals. Again, instruments are added economically, and never for the sake of folkiness. No less striking is Bedlam, Stick in the Wheel’s version of a much older folk song called Bedlam Boys of which, once again, many versions are recorded. This one has more character than most others I’ve heard and is an ecstatic descent into lunacy; it screams in joy and liberty as the pain of madness is finally allowed a free-reign. The whole show is rounded with a sleep; the final piece is an instrumental composition entitled ‘Ends’, which, when it as woven its little spell, vanishes in a blink.

From its opening track to its concluding instrumental piece, Bones is dark, dangerous and curiously medieval. It is brimming with a shadowy and slightly sinister atmosphere that puts you in the mood to tap your feet and clap along, while wondering if there aren’t invocations written in somewhere underneath. Stick in the Wheel’s spirit is volatile and vulgar, and it dances wildly with the murky, dirty, ancient soul that is London. This is the London I was brought up in, this is music for people like me who love that city with all its filth, its unceasing stench and all its dark history. This is folk music washed raw by the foul, steel-grey waters of the Thames.

You can buy Stick in the Wheel’s ‘Bones’ EP from their Bandcamp site, and for news of live performances follow the group on Facebook, or check their website. You’ll find the links on this page. As well as many other London gigs, the group performs regularly at Tiller Flat Folk Club which uses the wonderful Golden Hinde II, the dry-docked reconstruction of Drake’s 16th Century ship, as a venue. The Tiller Flat Folk club raises funds to support the ship’s conservation.

Links:

http://www.stickinthewheel.com/

https://stickinthewheel.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/StickInTheWheel?fref=ts

http://www.goldenhinde.com/tiller-flat-folk-club/

Interview with Mette Poynton of Cotswolds Concierge

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“With The Cotswolds Mystery, we want to bring focus on The Cotswolds in a brand new way”, says Mette Poynton of The Cotswolds Concierge, “Of course it is easy to show this wonderful ‘Area of Natural Beauty’ off as a beautiful tourist destination, but we will also show The Cotswolds as an exciting, fun and truly diverse place to visit, live and do business. We want to show people everywhere in the UK and beyond that the perception of The Cotswolds as an old-fashioned place full of nothing but fields and sheep is just plain wrong”.

THE WONDERFUL COTSWOLDS PEOPLE
By using real characters in The Cotswolds Mystery, with real Cotswolds businesses, Mette has created the ability to show The Cotswolds as a real hub for exciting business of all shapes and sizes. Amongst the rolling hills, and picture postcard perfect villages, nestles a fortunate and hard-working community of local crafts and business people, humorous, smart, artistic and business-minded driving The Cotswolds forward through the 21st century.
INVOLVEMENT OF ANY ARTFORM
The Cotswolds Mystery campaign is created to encourage involvement from people from all over the World, children as well as adults, schools and artistic groups and individuals. By encouraging people to read the story and interact on social media with words, images, art, pictures, illustrations, songs, acting, films and, well, pretty much any way they like, focus will be brought on The Cotswolds.
WIN A 10-DAY HOLIDAY IN THE COTSWOLDS WORTH OVER £7,000
With weekly individual prizes, a number of prizes offered exclusively to nursery & primary schools and with a fantastic Grand Prize of a 10-day holiday in The Cotswolds worth more than £7,000, people will see what incredibly diverse, fun and exciting place The Cotswolds is.
A NEW IMAGE FOR THE COTSWOLDS
“The Cotswolds needs an updated image. We saw an opportunity to help make this happen with our network via CotswoldsConcierge.co.uk and we decided to just jump in and do it rather than sit around and be frustrated by the lack of initiatives”, Mette Poynton shares, “Passion and determination was the major factor in getting there, but the only way it has truly been possible to get this to launch day, has been with the support of those businesses and people who share our passion for The Cotswolds, and who were all willing to take a risk and believe that we could do it. Even though all we approached them with was a crazy idea and some sheep that weren’t there!”
Nine fabulous Cotswolds businesses were chosen to be part of the story, they were chosen for their business type, their location and their wonderful personalities. Their businesses vary in size, type and age but a common denominator is a love of The Cotswolds and an interest in promoting this wonderful Area of Natural Beauty that they all are happy and proud to call home. And even more of the CotswoldsConcierge.co.uk advertisers believed in the campaign and offered amazing prizes for the campaign.

Weekly prizes for schools and individuals, as well as a whopping 7000+ worth of prizes for a Grand Prize, the 10-day Cotswolds Holiday of a Lifetime.
Find out more at http://visit-the-cotswolds.co.uk/?author=1

reporter @LianeKate

interview with Jack Linstead about Warwick Rocks

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The teams speak with Jack about Warwick Rocks & events to look forward to on Warwick 1100 year – including Artisan Uncovered in Smith Street May 29-31st involving Bread & Co, Spectacular Goat, The Drinks Room & Church Farm Brewery; To. The Warwick Folk Festival 24th – 27th July.

Find out more at http://www.warwickrocks.org @warwickrocks

@lianekate