Local & Live is 18

As Local & Live returns this weekend for its 18th anniversary, the music festival’s founder Paul Dunton previews the event and explains why you should come along…


Local & Live returns to Tunbridge Wells this August bank holiday weekend. We are delighted to have the support from local business Maxipay Accounting Services who agreed to be our headline sponsor for the second consecutive year, providing a vital lifeline for the festival’s finances which, coupled with valuable contributions from The BID (Royal Tunbridge Wells Together), donations from the public, numerous local business sponsorships and a contribution from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, all adds up to the fantastic news that Local & Live can go ahead again.

The free music festival, now in its 18th year, is a regular annual fixture in the town’s cultural calendar. Local & Live has become a popular weekend for picnicking in the park, attracting all generations from young families to the more senior music fans. It features the cream of the local area’s original musical talent and artists already confirmed include Kumala, Black Gabanza, James Kirby, Zoe Nicol, Anna Howie and many more. It begins on the evening of Friday August 25 at 5pm and focuses on a purpose-built stage in Calverley Grounds, the beautiful Decimus Burton-designed park in the town centre. The music continues in the park through Saturday 26 (12pm to 10pm) and Sunday 27 (12pm to 10pm). The Forum will be hosting afterparties every night after the music finishes in Calverley Grounds with an array of local bands playing until late each Night. To accompany the music in Calverley Grounds, there will be drinks tents run by local businesses The Forum, Hattons, Sankey’s and Fine Grind, and a selection of local food traders including Roddy Burger, Fine Grind, Crumbs & Treacle, Naked & Ready Foods, Alice’s Ices, Rascal’s Crepes and Pizzas, Kaphao Thai street food and many more. All the traders will be serving an array of wonderful foods to suit everyone’s tastes. The bank holiday Monday is known as ‘Fringe Day’, and we are delighted to announce that The Forum will be continuing to host Local & Live artists from 2pm through to late, with local band Catching Mangoes headlining at 8.45pm. The Sussex Mews will be our main outdoor stage location with an array of Local & Live acts performing music from 1.15pm until 8.30pm. Shep & Co headline The Sussex Mews stage at 7.15pm.

As the festival has grown in both reputation and size, it has also drawn visitors from the length and breadth of the UK and Europe. Local & Live brings together a collective audience in the region of 15,000 people to enjoy the music and a relaxed family-friendly festival atmosphere.

Local resident and frontman of The Bluetones, Mark Morriss recently gave his take on the festival: “Local & Live has established itself as an essential hub for uniting musicians and fans of all generations and genres in the area of Tunbridge Wells. We are so lucky to have it.” Iconic rock legend Roger Daltrey of The Who, is a long-term supporter of the festival and commented: “Local & Live is a fantastic platform for independent, original music in Kent and Sussex. Long may it continue!”


Headline acts announced

We are delighted to announce that local band Code: Marla will be headlining on the Friday evening at Calverley Grounds, with six other local acts taking to the stage in the build-up to their set.

Friday promises to be a rocking affair with Black Gabanza, The Next Agenda, Night Without Sleep, The River Flows and Reptile Kin also on the bill. Code: Marla offer a breathtaking fusion of live electronic music and ground-shaking nu-metal, interwoven with intricate textures and harmonies. Code: Marla’s music effortlessly blends heavy guitar-driven rock with the pulsating beats of dubstep and drum and bass, creating a dark and hypnotic atmosphere that will leave the audience spellbound.

Saturday kicks off with music from 12pm all the way through to 10pm. Local four-piece ‘Cyrano’ top the bill with renowned singer-songwriter James Kirby as main support. Cyrano are inspired by the likes of Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Elbow and Queens of The Stone Age, and are renowned for their anthemic melodies, led by Joe Ackerley’s soaring vocals.

Local & Live is also thrilled to announce that Two Weeks In Nashville will be headlining Sunday night at Calverley Grounds. The popular local group have been wowing crowds across the UK, performing at some of the UK’S leading festivals including numerous Pub In The Park mainstage sets.

They are without doubt one of the best live acts I have ever seen, with world-class musicianship and superb songs, they offer their own distinct brand of infectious indie pop/rock and they will definitely rock Calverley Grounds.

With music again starting at midday on Sunday, an array of superb local acts is on offer, including the likes of Steffan James, The Charlie Rivers Band, Cally Collective, and more… all paving the way for Two Weeks In Nashville to strut their stuff!

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing fundraising@localandlive.org if you have any sponsorship enquiries or ideas, we would love to hear from you.

Any individual or business can advertise on our giant screen positioned next to the stage in Calverley Grounds, it’s a great way to support the festival with ads starting at just £40. Our crowdfund page is available at: justgiving.com/campaign/localandlive2023 

Thanks for all your support and interest and roll on the weekend! You can find us at @localandlive on Facebook and Instagram and @Local_and_Live on Twitter. The festival website is: localandlive.org

I look forward to seeing you there!

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