Good grooves, gourmet food

SO’s resident music guru Paul Dunton reveals the hot line-up for this year’s
Pub in the Park which takes place from July 7-9 in Dunorlan Park


One of the main highlights of the Tunbridge Wells summer events calendar is the annual Pub In The Park festival which this year takes place over the weekend of July 7-9 at Dunorlan Park. Hosted by chefs Andi Oliver, Si King and Matt Tebbutt, Pub In The Park will once again offer award-winning food, fun cookery demos and world-class live music.

The festival has a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere and apart from the superb live music there are plenty of activities taking place, including Q&As with top chefs, quality shopping from a multitude of stalls and a children’s area to keep the little ones entertained.

This year the music line-up is quite something with Rudimental (DJ Set) headlining the Friday evening and the superb EMF also on the bill. Saturday afternoon offers a stellar sonic selection including Badly Drawn Boy, with main support from the inspirational House Gospel Choir. Saturday night promises to be a party to remember with British pop royalty McFly and renowned British DJ, producer and MC  Jaguar Skills also performing. Sunday is headlined by none other than iconic American group Sister Sledge with additional performances from another two outstanding acts – Fleetwood Bac and The Shires.

I’m pleased to say that once again Pub in the Park is giving space to four Local & Live acts all of whom hail from Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas. It truly is an honour for them to have been chosen to perform on the main stage at this year’s event. I can reveal that opening for Rudimental and EMF, will be renowned local singer-songwriter Mike Wilton. He will perform with his full band and has established himself as one of the ‘must-see’ acts on the local scene and beyond. Mike has performed all over the UK and has opened for the likes of The Bluetones and British Rock legends The Who on numerous occasions.

Mike is certainly excited, telling SO Magazine: “This gig is going to be amazing! The atmosphere is fantastic and we can’t wait to get the Friday night party started!”

On Saturday afternoon, up-and-coming local singer-songwriter Isabella Coulstock will be playing before Badly Drawn Boy and the House Gospel Choir perform. Isabella’s songs are rich in country and pop sensibilities and she also has a spine-tingling voice that is truly unique and captivating. 2023 has seen her tour across the UK with the likes of Jools Holland and Nell Bryden. She recently gave an outstanding performance at Black Deer Festival and is bound to go down a storm at Pub In The Park too.

Isabella says: “Pub In the Park will be my highest profile festival gig to date, I cannot wait to share the stage with so many iconic music stars, I have butterflies already!”

Ramping up the grooves on Saturday night will be established Kent singer-songwriter, James Kirby. James has performed all over the world to great acclaim and draws big audiences wherever he goes. He is a highly-gifted songsmith, offering an uplifting and upbeat sound. Inspired by the likes of John Mayer and James Morrison, he is renowned for his infectious melodies, heart-warming vocals and exemplary guitar playing. James will be joined by his full band for his opening set ahead of McFly and Jaguar Skills.

James Kirby adds: “I am so pumped about playing Pub In The Park! The main stage is incredible and features a world-class line-up. I cannot wait to open for McFly and Jaguar Skills. To be able to play at Pub In The Park is a real honour and privilege!”

Finally I am delighted to announce that my own group The Paul Dunton Orchestra has been invited to open the Sunday session. We are absolutely thrilled to be opening for the legendary Sister Sledge, The Shires and Fleetwood Bac. We are rehearsing hard and have lots of new songs to play and will be bringing a lively mix of our cinematic pop-style songs to Pub In The Park.

For all the local acts involved, this is an incredible opportunity to open for such esteemed musicians, on a professional festival stage in front of thousands of people in their home town. As an independent musician myself, I can definitely say on behalf of everyone we all feel very elated and fortunate to have been invited to play. These are the type of gigs you dream about and nothing is more motivating than knowing you have a world-class act following your performance.

For now though it’s time to get rehearsing! Huge thanks to Pub in the Park’s founder Tom Kerridge and his team. I think it’s a wonderful thing that Local & Live will be represented once again at Pub In The Park!

You can find out more about the festival and grab your tickets at 

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter