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This weekend

Fri 14 - Sun 16 Jun


EVENT: Marlow Town RegattaMarlow, Sat 15 – Sun 16 Jun

We all love a good excuse to get out of jeans and a t-shirt, or (*ahem*) pyjamas and Marlow Town Regatta is a goodie- a weekend of eyeing up the muscle, I mean messing about on the river, with competitive rowing on the Saturday and family fun with the Dragon Boat Festival, live entertainment, food, drink and craft stalls on the Sunday. Pass the Pimms!


MUSIC: Witney Music Festival, Witney, Fri 14 – Sat 15 Jun

This week is the last weekend of Witney Music Festival, one of the largest free music festivals in the UK with local acts and those from further afield performing over three weeks. The main event concludes the festival with three headline acts: Prodigy tribute Jilted Generation (RIP Keith Flint), ’90s band Republica and N-Trance.


CULTURE: Buckingham Literary Festival, Buckingham, until Sun 16

We love a lit fest here at Muddy and Buckingham Literary Festival is small, but a goodie, with 25 events taking place in venues across the market town. Highlights this year include Sir Alan Sugar’s right hand man and Countdown wizz Nick Hewer, Luke Jennings whose Villanelle novels inspired the brilliant Killing Eve and Sunday Times Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop, author of The Island.


CIRCUS: Giffords Circus, Oxford’s University Parks, Fri 14 – Mon 24 Jun

Giffords Circus pitches up its Big Top once again at Oxford’s University Parks on its summer tour with a brand new show Xanadu– the theme this year is the Summer of Love, set in Hyde park 1973, so expect hippies, hipsters, rock stars and all-out grooviness alongside Nell Gifford’s brilliantly curated circus acts. Tickets here.


FESTIVAL: Sistafest, Duns Tew, Oxon, Fri 14 – Sun 16 Jun

Now in its third year, this three day camping festival celebrates women in music with an all female line up (girl power!) and eco friendly ethos. FYI the festival is solar powered.


THEATRE:  Amelie, Wycombe Swan, until Sat 15 Jun

It’s been a Broadway smash hit and now Amelie is coming to Wycombe Swan. Based on the award-winning 2001 rom-com starring Audrey Tautou, it’s a feel-good musical about a young girl with a big imagination. The show is playing later in the month at New Theatre, Oxford, too (Mon 17 – Sat 22).


FITNESS: Fitfest, Oxford Academy, Oxford, Sat 15 Jun

Think Fit, Feel Fit, Eat Fit. Yep, you guessed it, Fitfest is all about promoting a fit and healthy lifestyle and if it will make me look like this hula hooping goddess above, I. AM. IN! Started two years ago, the festival that’s held at the Oxford Academy has a large programme of workshops, fitness classes and foodie, wellness and beauty talks including HoopTone, Bounce Body Fit (a fitness class on trampolines), roller skating lessons, cocktail making with Dirty Bones (oh, hello!) and ‘how to  achieve the perfect blow dry’ workshop- you’ve got to look good to feel good, right?


OUTDOOR THEATRE: Treasure IslandWycombe Park, Sat 15 Jun

Chapterhouse Theatre Company perform Robert Louis Stevenson’s swashbuckling adventure Treasure Island on the East Lawn of West Wycombe Park.


EAT: Stonor Food Festivalsouth Oxon, Sat 15 – Sun 16 Jun 

Stonor Food Festival returns for its second year in time for Father’s Day- what better way to spend it than stuffing your face? Celeb chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli and Atul Kochhar are headlining the Festival Kitchen alongside local chefs, 60 food and drink stalls and a free bottle of Brakspear ale for dads. Tickets include entrance to Stonor House and Gardens as well as the Wonder Woods Adventure Playground for children.


ECO: Oxford Green Week, various locations, until Tues 18 Jun

Oxford Green Week is in full swing, promoting sustainable living with talks, clothes swaps, cooking demos and events across the city. Full programme


KIDS: Nick Sharratt drawalong, Pegasus Theatre, Oxford, Sat 15

Nick Sharrat

Illustrator and children’s author Nick Sharratt, of Tracy Beaker fame, hosts a drawalong to celebrate his latest book Nice Work for the Cat and the King. He’ll be giving a tutorial on how to draw his most iconic characters as well as unicorns, dragons and other fantastic creatures.


NEW EXHIBITION: Paula Rego: Obedience and DefianceMK Gallery, Milton Keynes, Sat 15 Jun – Sun 22 Sept

At Milton Keynes’ mega new MK Gallery (I’ve been, it’s brilliant) you can see Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiancethe largest retrospective of the political artist’s work in England for 20 years with pieces focusing on gender discrimination, violence, slavery, abortion and political tyranny. Heavy stuff.


EVENT: Didcot to Oxford Great Western Railway 175th anniversary, various locations, Sat 15 Jun 

To celebrate the opening of the train line between Oxford and Didcot there’ll be events at all five stations en route: Didcot (activities at the railway centre, live music, special GWR train naming at 11am); Appleford (family fete, vintage vehicles, brass band); Culham (historical artefact display); Radley (displays, storytelling); Oxford (miniature railway, live music, stalls, vintage train). Pendon Museum in Long Wittenham will also be open as well as train rides throughout the day.


COMEDY: Shappi Khorsandi, The Stables MK, Milton Keynes, Sat 15 Jun

Muddy met Shappi Khorsandi recently and we can confirm, she is hilariously funny (read the full interview if you don’t believe me), so it’s definitely worth snaffling a couple of tickets for her new show Skittish Warrior which she’ll be performing at The Stables MK, Milton Keynes.


NEW EXHIBITION: Wonderland – A wander through the world of AliceOxfordshire Museum, Oxford, Sat 15 Jun – Sat 7 Sept

For families, check out Woodstock based Oxfordshire Museum’s Wonderland – A wander through the world of Alice, in collaboration with The Story Museum, Oxford. The interactive exhibit will have a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, croquet with flamingos and a final escape from the Queen of Hearts.


EAT: Eat Food FestHenley, Sat 15 – Sat 29 Jun

A fortnight of foodie activities showcasing local producers, eateries, distilleries and more with a series of pop-ups, supper clubs, demos, films and activities. Highlights include the festival’s opening event The Big Feast (Sun 16), the Riverside Fiesta (Sat 29) and chef demonstrations at Kenton Theatre throughout the festival (Sat 15 – Sat 29).


ART: Bucks Art Weeks, various locations, until Sun 23 Jun

St Mary’s in Aylesbury by Christine Bass

Following on from Oxfordshire Artweeks last month, over 600 artists and makers across Buckinghamshire are out in force this month for the 34th annual Bucks Art Weeks. Galleries, pop-up displays, open working studios and demonstrations are all free for the public. Find your nearest venue here, or you can order a free directory from local libraries, tourist centres and participating venues.


FESTIVAL: Love Marlow, Marlow, until Sun 16 Jun

church spire boats ducks on river

Love Marlow is a two week community festival with over 60 events including music, sport, workshops and kids activities across the town. Highlights this week include canoeing, a teddy bear’s picnic, kayaking, workshops and Marlow Town Regatta.


OPERA: Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate, until Sun 30 Jun

The Bartered Bride

Good news for opera fans as Garsington Opera Season is in full swing. The bucolic Wormsley Estate is the setting every year for a spot of warbling of the highest form and this week you can see The Bartered Bride (Tues 11, Sat 15), Don Giovanni (Thurs 13) and Fantasio (Fri 14, Sun 16).



Cup of Eggs, 1970

Ongoing exhibitions this month include, Waddesdon Manor‘s two new exhibitions, Brought to Life: Eliot Hodgkin Rediscovered, the largest ever show of the British painter’s work who’s best known for his still life and landscape paintings (until Sun 20 Oct)- check out my new review here, it was a surprise hit with the kids. Also at Waddesdon is Framing Madame de Pompadour, a recreation of François Boucher’s famous portrait that’s on display at the Alte Pinakothek, Munich. The project, in collaboration with digital art conservators Factum Arte has used 3D reproduction technology to reproduce the painting which will be displayed in its original 18th century frame with an accompanying interactive exhibition (until Sun 27 Oct).

There’s also Claudette Johnson: I Came to Dance at Modern Art Oxford. An overview of the artist’s life, the exhibit features her early work from the ’80s when she joined the newly formed BLK Art Group, comprised of black British art students and the moving, political large-scale drawings of black men and women she is best know for (Sat 1 Jun – Sun 8 Sept).



NEW EXHIBITION: Manolo Blahnik, The Wallace Collection, London, Mon 10 Jun – Sun 1 Sept

This new exhibit contrasts paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement with Spanish fashion designer Manolo Blahnik’s designs. The intimate collection has been curated by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives and these gorgeous candy pink shoes designed for Sofia Coppola’s award-winning film, Marie Antoinette. There are also a few accompanying talks, Fashion or Art?, Fashion and Power, The Collector, The Interior World, but if you want to go get a ticket quick as they’re selling out fast. This exhibit is free.


SCREENING: The Royal Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet, various locations, London, Tues 11 Jun

The Royal Opera House in collaboration with BP Screens are hosting a few screenings around London this summer- a great way to make the arts more accessible, without a beefy price tag. This week you can see the Bard’s star-crossed lovers, Romeo & Juliet at Trafalgar Square, Television Centre in White City, Arena Square Wembley Park and General Gordon Square, Woolwich.


NEW EXHIBITION:  Keith Haring, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, Fri 14 Jun – Sun 10 Nov

Spot the little guys! A cool exhibit to check out that’s not over in the Big Smoke is this retrospective of Keith Haring, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene.  The exhibit will feature 85 artworks including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.



If you’re heading for the Big Smoke, there’s tons to do all summer between London and Tower Bridge with the largest outdoor festival in the capital, Summer by the River (until 28 Aug). Outdoor cinema including a live screening of Royal Ballet’s Romeo + Juliet (11 Jun) as well as concerts, workshops, comedy and quizzes. You can scoff and drink to your heart’s content from the obligatory artisan stalls and then join in one of the fitness events to assuage the self-loathing. Or if you’re heading to Covent Garden, it’s your last chance to check out Covent Garden in Bloom (until Sat 15 Jun), with floral artists Fleurs de Villes returning Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. All the retailers and restaurants muck in with botanical window displays, it’s super pretty.



Must-see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include Beasts of London, above, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the beasts, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals. Or you can check out the V&A‘s retrospective of iconic 1960s designer and the mother of  miniskirts, Mary Quant– over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive (until Sun 16 Feb 2020); also at the V&A is this year’s biggie, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, which traces the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him (until Sun 1 Sept). It is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance – it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A. Also worth checking out is the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg (until Sun 11 Aug).



EVENT: The Boodles, Stoke Park, Tues 25 – Sat 29 Jun

Hosted at Stoke ParkThe Boodles is one of my favourite summer events- I’ve been a few times and apart from getting massively sozzled and trying on jewellery worth more than my house (I checked the exits, they were all covered unfortunately), it’s a brilliant, local, fun and cost-effective alternative to Wimbledon. The line up is always fantastic (this year you can see 21 year old tennis wizz  Stefanos Tsitsipas and former US Open champion and double Olympic silver medallist Juan Martin del Potro) and tickets sell quick- so you need to move swiftly.


THEATRE: The Girl on the Train, Oxford Playhouse, Mon 15 – Sat 20 Jul

I read Paula Hawkins’ novel The Girl on the Train a few summers ago when it came out and was hooked (it’s the sort of novel you binge-read) but was less enamoured with the film (Emily Blunt was its only saving grace), so I’m excited to see how the thriller plays out on stage. The show stars Samantha Womack, who plays Ronnie Mitchell in Eastenders and Oliver Farnworth (Hollyoaks, Coronation Street) – looks like a goodie.

The Hidden Garden, Henley Royal Regatta, Wed 3 – Sun 7 Jul

If you’re heading down to Henley Regatta this July and want to escape the riff raff (not that Henley does real riff raff, of course) book now for The Hidden Garden. New to the Regatta this year, the luxe but laid-back riverside venue on the Berkshire bank offers brilliant views, VIP hospitality, musical entertainment, gourmet food and – most importantly – lashings of booze (chilled Henriot champagne and local favourite, Mr Hobbs gin to be precise). Pre-booking is a must so grab your other half, bezzies or workies and get organised pronto!

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