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Newbury Spring Festival events devised with children in mind to introduce the next generation to live music

Family & Children Shows at Newbury Spring Festival this May

At Newbury Spring Festival, which runs from May 11-25 May, there’s plenty on offer for families; shows specially devised with children in mind to introduce the next generation to live music through audience participation, imagination and plenty of fun.

This year, younger children can be immersed in stories of groovy pirates, Thumbelina and Wind in the Willows, all underpinned by lovely music.


Families can explore the world from Thumbelina’s perspective on Sunday, May 12 at Sheepdrove Organic Farm with Grieg’s music played by two world-class pianists, Elena Zozina and Mikhail Kazakevich, and with narration by Richard Morris.

After their popular performance last year, Newbury Spring Festival will welcome back Toscana Strings who will take us on a musical journey through Wind in the Willows (Saturday, May 18, Corn Exchange Newbury) with a real ballet dancer teaching the steps.

Grooving with Pirates
Grooving with Pirates

On Saturday, May 25, children and their grown-up crewmates can set sail with groovy pirates in the Corn Exchange with the family favourite Groove Baby - jazz and funk will bring this swashbuckling adventure to life.

For families with older children, Flowers Band will be performing recognisable brass favourites at the Corn Exchange on Sunday, May 19, suitable for the whole family.

On Thursday, May 16, comedy string quartet Graffiti Classics will wow audiences with their hilariously entertaining show, which is bound to get the Corn Exchange laughing, clapping and singing along.

Graffiti Classics
Graffiti Classics

School and community music groups will also take to the Corn Exchange stage with Good Vibes Music Academy in a jubilant celebration of local talent on Monday, May 20.

There are opportunities for budding writers to get involved with the festival too with the Festival’s Young Critics competition, which Newbury Spring Festival runs in conjunction with Good Vibes Music Academy and St Gabriel’s School. Young audience members can write a review of any event from this year’s festival and submit it to the team at Newbury Spring Festival by June 15.

There are three categories: age 5-8 years old, age 9-11 years old and age 12-18 years old with prizes including: an invitation to the Newbury Spring Festival Gala Dinner to receive their Young Festival Critic Certificate; the opportunity to meet and interview one of next year’s artists before the 2025 Newbury Spring Festival; the opportunity to work with Trish Lee, arts editor at Newbury Weekly News to write and publish another concert review; an invitation to present a concert review live on Kennet Radio; and four free lessons in either piano, guitar, drums, vocal OR DJ lessons at the GVMA studio worth £110.

Newbury Spring Festival also hand-picks a number of events every year which under 30s can attend for free. This year’s events include Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers (Tuesday, May 14, Corn Exchange), Takács Quartet (Thursday, May 16, St Mary’s Church, Shaw), The Sheepdrove Recital (Friday, May 17, Sheepdrove), Newbury Spring Festival Chorus (Friday, May 17, St Nicolas Church, Newbury), Catrin Finch & Aoife Ni Bhriain (Tuesday, May 21, Donnington Priory), The Telling (Wednesday, May 22, Corn Exchange), Joe Stilgoe Trio (Friday, May 24, Corn Exchange), Emma Johnson and the Orchestra for the Environment (Friday, May 24, St Lawrence’s Church, Hungerford).

The Festival is committed to music education for children and the community. For many years now school children have been invited to attend performances and join in with a variety of workshops completely free-of-charge, with some events open to people of all ages. This year, the Festival will present a number of educational events for local pupils with artists from the main programme including Flowers Band, Ballet Central, Graffiti Classics, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Jonathan Mayer and Kousic Sen, and Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers.

Tickets on sale via the Corn Exchange box office newburyspringfestival.org.uk

Events Listings

Sound Beginnings: Thumbelina

Sunday 12 May, 11am & 2.30pm

Sheepdrove Organic Farm, RG17 7UU

Musical story-telling for the young! The story of Thumbelina, with Grieg’s music played by pianists Elena Zozina and Mikhail Kazakevich, is presented with narration by singer Richard Morris.

Tickets: Adults £10 / Over 5s £7 / Under 5s free


Graffiti Classics

Thursday 16 May, 7.30pm

Corn Exchange, Newbury, RG14 5BD

16 strings, 8 dancing feet and 4 voices with 1 aim: to make classical music wickedly funny and exhilarating for young and old alike. Graffiti Classics never fails to get audiences laughing, clapping and singing along.

Tickets: £25


Wind in the Willows

Saturday 18 May, 10am & 11.30am

Corn Exchange, Newbury, RG14 5BD

Can Mole, Ratty and Badger help Mr Toad after one adventure too far? Adapted from Kenneth Grahame’s novel and music by Elgar, this performance combines enchantment, humour and audience participation to captivate young imaginations.

Tickets: £7.50


Flowers Band

Sunday 19 May, 3pm

Corn Exchange, Newbury, RG14 5BD

A mixed programme giving an insight into the varied sounds of the brass band world, suitable for all the family to enjoy.

Tickets: £20


Good Vibes Music Academy Showcase

Monday 20 May, 7.30pm

Corn Exchange, Newbury, RG14 5BD

A jubilant performance that unites school and community music groups from across the region in a joyous celebration of musical creativity.

Tickets: £7


Grooving with Pirates

Saturday 25 May, 10.30am

Corn Exchange, Newbury, RG14 5BD

Come on a swashbuckling adventure with family favourite Groove Baby as it sails the seas in this exciting, jazz and funk fuelled show especially for 3-7s and their grown-up crews!

Tickets: Adult £10 / Under 16 £7


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