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  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Warwick Folk Festival

Warwick Folk Festival: Thurs 21st - Sun 24th July (Warwick School, Warwick)

Thousands are expected at the Warwick Folk Festival this weekend Credit: Warwick Folk Festival / Marketing Aloud

The 37th Warwick Folk Festival takes place this weekend and it is expected to attract thousands of visitors.

For the first time, the organisers are offering one-night camping options for those that can only attend for one night.

This year the Festival is organising a dedicated programme of workshops, performances and activities for those aged 12 - 25. Also new for this year is the Kids Zone which has been moved into one space on the main stage, close to the craft fair & food stalls.

"Ticket sales are going exceptionally well and I would strongly urge those who want to attend to book their tickets now.

With many superb headline acts and something for everyone, the Festival promises to be a fantastic fun-filled 4 day weekend of first-class entertainment for all tastes and ages”.

– Dick Dixon, Festival Director

For opening times and more information visit: www.warwickfolkfestival.co.uk

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Simon Says Festival

Simon Says Festival: Sat 23rd - Sun 24th July (De Montfort Hall & gardens, Leicester)

Simon Says 2015 Credit: Leicester City Council

More than sixty acts are set to perform at the two day festival 'Simon Says’, this weekend in Leicester.

Alongside music entertainment there’ll also be a range of bars and food stalls at the festival.

“With Simon Says... it is the full package that people love! The music is brilliant, but so is the food, the beer and the chance to just hang out with your friends at the same time.

For 2016 we will build on this great formula and try and make it the best Simon Says… yet.”

– Matt Kirk, Firebug, Official Partner

For opening times and more information visit: https://simonsaysleicester.com/your-visit/faqs/

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  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Cherry Fair

Cherry Fair and 1940s weekend: Sat 23rd - Sun 24th July (Bewdley Museum, Worcestershire)

There'll be a cherry hunt around the museum and gardens for children Credit: Wyre Forest

Bewdley’s unique annual Cherry Fair will take place this weekend in Worcestershire.

The town has been famous for its cherry fairs for almost two centuries and over the weekend all things cherry will be celebrated once again.

There is a chance to taste and compare different varieties of cherries. Young cherry trees will be for sale and bags of cherries will be available to buy.

“This is a free family event with something for everyone. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the history of the town and we’re encouraging visitors to come along in 1940s costumes too.”

– Councillor Sally Chambers, Wyre Forest District Council

For opening times and more information visit: www.bewdleymuseum.co.uk/onegrain

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Cosford Food Festival

Cosford Food Festival: Sat 23rd - Sun 24th July (Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, Shropshire)

Food on the menu includes Indian, Italian and French Caribbean, Cuban and Mexican Credit: Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum

More than 80 local food and drink producers will be at the Cosford Food Festival this weekend.

Returning to the festival this summer will be popular exhibitors, including Moyden's Handmade Cheese, bringing along a selection of their award winning range of artisan cheeses. As well as Salop Pickle Works who’ll have a wide range of artisan pickles, with exciting flavours to choose from including hot chilies.

The diverse menu on offer will include everything from Indian, Italian and French cuisine to a taste of the Caribbean with Cuban and Mexican food.

With additional entertainment and live music being lined up for festival goers, organisers say they are confident the event will not only appeal to food lovers, but also families looking for an enjoyable day out.

For opening times and more information visit: www.rafmuseum.org/cosford

Weekend Picks: Truck Racing Championship

British Truck Racing Championship: Sat 23rd - Sun 24th July (Donington Park, Derby)

Racing trucks can hit 100mph quicker than some sports cars Credit: Donington Park

The trucks may look like the slow and steady HGVs along the motorways, but these racing versions can hit 100mph quicker than a sports car.

There’ll be 10 monster contests for the heavyweight Truck Racing Championship in Donington Park this weekend.

Donington will be opening up the start grid during the lunch breaks on both days, allowing fans to get right up close to the trucks, meet the drivers and take in the atmospheric surroundings.

Organisers say the event is the country’s biggest racing championship, featuring five-tonne racing leviathans boasting 1,000 horsepower and 12-litre engines.

For opening times and more information visit: www.donington-park.co.uk

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Food Festival

Great British Food Festival: Sat 23rd - Sun 24th July (Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire)

British Bake Off finalists will be judging the popular cake off competition Credit: Great British Food Festival

This weekend head down to Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire where there’ll be food and drink producers, chef demonstrations and foodie talks.

British Bake Off finalists Luis Troyano and Miranda Gore Browne will be showing off their skills on the Chef Demo stage.

Luis and Miranda will also be judging the popular Great British Cake Off, where amateur bakers compete head-to-head in two baking categories.

“We’re thrilled to announce the great chefs at this year’s event. The ‘Cake Off’ competition is great fun, it’s fantastic to see the public entries and what they can do.

We are excited to have the first Great British Food Festival at Kelmarsh. We hope that people will come down for this new event for the area and enjoy the atmosphere this event brings.”

– Dan Maycock, Festival Director.

For opening times and more information visit: www.greatbritishfoodfestival.com

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  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Belgrade Mela

The Belgrade Mela: Sat 23rd July (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry)

Visitors can watch traditional South Asian dancing at the event Credit: Nicola Young

Coventry’s annual, one-day South Asian Arts Festival takes place this Saturday.

Showcasing the city’s South Asian arts, artists and arts organisations, the Belgrade Mela will see representatives come together to provide a platform for emerging South Asian talent.

A range of workshops will be held throughout the day including: An Introduction to Yoga, Learn Bollywood Dancing, An Introduction to Bharatanatyam Dancing, Learn to play the Dhol and Classical South Asian Instruments.

“The Belgrade Mela is very much a community-wide event in which all south Asian religions, cultures and communities can come together as one to enjoy their culture.

By choosing to hold the Mela at one of the city’s premiere arts venues – rather than outdoors which is the traditional setting for celebrations of this type – we hope to encourage better access to the theatre amongst Coventry’s South Asian communities.”

– Nasreen Akhtar Khan, Mela Artistic Director.

For opening times and more information visit: http://www.belgrade.co.uk/event/coventry-belgrade-mela-2016

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Splendour Festival

Splendour Festival: Sat 23rd (Wollaton Park, Nottingham)

Splendour Festival 2015 Credit: Splendour Festival

Twenty thousand people are expected at Wollaton Park this Saturday for Nottingham’s Splendour Festival.

More than 10 Nottingham artists will perform at the event and rub shoulders with global superstars across three stages. Headliners include Grammy Award winner Jess Glynne and legendary bands The Human League and UB40.

“Booking local artists for Splendour is so hard because there are so many fantastic acts to choose from!

Inviting local artists along to perform is DHP’s way of saying thanks and giving them a good platform to play their songs to a bigger and new crowd…”

– Danielle Sorsby, Festival organisers at DHP

For opening times and more information visit: www.splendourfestival.com

  1. Chris Halpin

15 times more invested in Arts in London than Midlands

Between 2010 and 2015 the Midlands saw the biggest fall in local authority funding to arts and culture in the country, with councils cutting cash many museums, theatres and galleries had relied on for decades.

But during that time a major review found that per person, 15 times more public money was invested into arts and culture in London than in the West Midlands. The Arts Council here says it's working to spread that money more fairly, but as local organisations struggle, some think the arts in the MIdlands still isn't getting its fair share. Here's Chris Halpin with the final part of our series, Culture Shock - the Future of our Arts.

  1. Chris Halpin

Could 'Culture Levy' on hotels help fund Birmingham arts?

A significant reboot - that's what's needed for the future of funding for arts and culture in Birmingham according to a report out today.

It's calling on greater collaboration and investment by businesses and universities as many cultural institutions struggle with funding after years of cuts from local government.

Ideas include organisations taking loans from businesses, borrowing on buildings, through to more radical ideas like Dragon's Den style pitches for particular arts money making ideas or putting a culture levy on hotel rooms.

Around 65 thousand people are employed in the sector in the Midlands, but without reform it's feared a lack of funding could put the region's world class culture at risk. Chris Halpin reports in the second part of our special series, Culture Shock: The Future of our Arts.

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