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Stars line up for Gap Festival

Goring & Streatley's four-day celebration of arts

Trish Lee

Trish Lee


01635 886663

giles brandreth

THE Gap Festival hits Goring & Streatley from Thursday to Sunday this week, with a line-up of big names that includes top soul singer Mica Paris, queen of crime fiction Val McDermid, antiques expert Eric Knowles, writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, celebrity gardener Joe Swift and the innovative Pop-up Opera, alongside a  feast of workshops, talks, art trails, comedy and music of all kinds.

Queen of UK soul Mica Paris will headline the music bill, performing songs from jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald in the festival marquee on the Saturday. And bestselling crime fiction writer Val McDermid should keep festivalgoers on the edge of their seats with her show Killing People for Fun and Profit – spilling the beans about her writing, her inspiration and the fatal attraction of crime fiction. Dubbed the Queen of Crime, she has sold over 15 million books to date across the globe and is translated into over 30 languages. She is perhaps best-known for her Wire in the Blood series, featuring clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill, which was adapted for television starring Robson Green.  On coming to the festival she says: 'This may be a hotbed of murder thanks to Morse and Midsomer, but it's time Goring and Streatley emerged from the cocoon of cosy crime and confronted the dark realities of Tartan Noir. Though I do have to confess that it was Agatha Christie's The Murder at the Vicarage that first turned me on to crime.' (Christie lived near Wallingford and is buried in Cholsey). 

Antiques expert Eric Knowles  brings his one man show What’s it Worth? The Bigger Picture,  a witty and entertaining look at the world of antiques.  The audience are invited to bring along their heirlooms and treasures for on-stage discussion.

Joe Swift is a familiar gardening face, as a regular presenter on BBC Gardeners World since 1998. He also anchors The BBC coverage of The Chelsea Flower show as well as other RHS shows and several BBC gardening series over the years. He’ll be talking about creating a Chelsea garden. Pop-Up Opera will perform a Mozart double bill of Der Schauspieldirektor and Bastien und Bastienne, two delicious one-act comedies in which a pair of actresses battle to be the prima donna and a pair of lovers tease and test their feelings for each other. The inimitable Gyles Brandreth celebrates all things theatrical his new one-man show Break a Leg! – a dazzling afternoon of wit, wisdom, high drama, low comedy and hilarious name-dropping. 

Sit back and listen or take to the dance floor with authentic swing music from the 20s and 30s played by the Pasadena Roof Orchestra.

If you haven’t got tickets for The Lightyears gig, you’re too late – the indie band of local lads who’ve  made their mark on the music scene have  already sold out.

There’ll also be comedy with Harriet Braine, Science Oxford with their show  Fire!,  an art trail with local artists opening their studios and a visual arts exhibition to include textile art for the first time.    Gardens and gardening feature on Friday as Joe Swift is joined by “flower grower’s flower grower” Rachel Siegfried’s masterclass on creating gorgeous hand-tied bouquets and a local gardening Experts Question Time with a panel that includes Claire Hastings, Rob Jones and  National Trust head gardener Tim Martin.

Of course, there will be more music as well as children’s events, culminating in a fabulous family day on Festival Sunday. 

For more information, including booking, visit

Twitter: @TheGapFestival

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