MADhurst entertainment kicks off

The parade at MADhurst 2017
The parade at MADhurst 2017

The festival kicks off on Sunday with the very exciting Sul Fiato operatic duo in the wonderful acoustics of the parish church – great for opera newbies as well as buffs.

There’s a pre-concert supper special at the Spread Eagle and a cash bar.

On Monday it’s the comedy of Joan and Donna at Ye-Haw – a journey through lives littered with spelling tests, smear tests, mad mums and bad boyz! Pre-show dinner also at Ye-Haw.

Local lass Rosie Hodgson with Rowan Picket present their singing and fiddle magic on Tuesday, while on Wednesday you can take your picnic to the Walled Garden at Cowdray, and enjoy the quirky ragtime fun of the FB Pocket Orchestra.

On Thursday you’ll be back at the Memorial Hall for a sing-along to all the groovy 80s hits from the film Grease.

Wear your best disco gear – prize for the best fancy dress – and remember the ticket includes a goody bag and drink on arrival. There is also a pre-movie ‘fish and fizz’ supper at the Seven Fish.

On Friday we’ll still be in dancing mood with the fabulous 50s/60s tribute band Ben Pryer and the Lucky Dogs – return to the age that changed popular music for ever, with dancing in the aisles. Cash bar. Pre-concert supper at the Olive and Vine.

MADhurst has stayed with its traditional jazz and swing night at MRC on the final Saturday, this time with the Ian Young Allstars – featuring veterans of Army, Marines and RAF military bands. Listen to all your old favourites, and dance along if you like. Cash bar. Pre-concert ‘fish and fizz supper’ at the Seven Fish.

The MADhurst fringe kicks off with four events next Saturday.

There are plenty of new ideas and traditional favourites this year, from a Champagne Tennis Tournament to multiple jamming and poetry events, several guided walks, a sports day, children’s events, lunch-time concerts, Midhurst’s biggest pub quiz, a Morris dancing taster, the Italian Market with Alfa Romeo display, music events at Woolbeding Park, Langham’s Brewery and the Midhurst Sports Association Pavilion, an ecumenical service in the MSA marquee at the sports ground, the MADhurst Art Trail at 30 businesses across town, and a unique art installation in the Market Square and North Bridge, to name but a few.

The MADhurst Festival ends with a Carnival Parade, organised by the Midhurst Town Council, and Grand Finale family fun and concert. This year both are bigger and better than ever.

The Carnival Parade, on the theme of ‘100 years of Midhurst’, goes down to the Mill roundabout and will feature about a dozen floats and the Burgess Hill Marching Youth Band, Sussex Steel Band, Harry Strutters Jazz Band and the Wonder Girls Pom Pom Troupe. This year the parade will proudly include members of the Number 27 Midhurst Platoon of the Army Cadets.

There is a special invitation to children under ten (with parent/guardian) to march with the parade, and win the chance to switch on the lights at the Midhurst Christmas Street Party in December. Just turn up at 11.30am in the Grange car-park, in fancy dress of this year’s theme if possible, and put your child’s name in the ballot box for the Grand Christmas Switch-on. The winner will be announced after the Raffle Draw at the Sports Ground.

The procession will move off from the Grange car park at noon.

Follow the floats to the Cowdray Ruins and Midhurst Sports Ground for music, food and loads of fun for the family – the MADhurst free family fun day 1pm to 8pm. There will be plenty of stalls, Tricky Nicky’s Magic Show, rides and games, fantastic local food and drink, and a tea-tent provided by the parish church.

Bring your dog to enter the dog-show, buy your Grand Raffle tickets and watch live music, including Midhurst Musical Mayhem, Rylee Spooner, Midhurst Community Choir, Da Beez Neez, the Ed Goodale Band, Gabriella Groves and Vivo.

Tickets are selling fast, and some of the main events are sold out already. Get information and buy tickets either online at www.MADhurst.co.uk or by phone (01730 812123 and 815894). Tickets will be delivered to your email. If you don’t use email we recommend you book by phone and then pick the tickets up at the MADhurst Information Office, Old Library, on Fridays and Saturdays, 10am to noon, or at the event itself. At the Information Office you can also find out about volunteering, pick up MADhurst programmes, buy raffle tickets and book the Historic Walk or Teddy Bears’ Picnic.