Monday 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

Now this isn't going to be terribly original - and frankly we should all have better things to be doing with our time. But if we let the occasion or event of one year ending and another beginning pass without acknowledgement, well what would people say about us?

All of us associated with the Buxton Festival Fringe do sincerely hope that all our many friends and supporters; all the artists and performers; the thousands of you that make up the audiences for the hundreds of events and performances during Fringes past and to come - that each and every one of you have a peaceful and Happy New Year.

Buxton Fringe 2013 runs from Wednesday July 3 - Sunday July 21.
Key dates include: Fringe Sunday - a free extravaganza in the Pavilion Gardens - will be on July 7th; Buxton Carnival will take place on Saturday July 13th.

Two of the biggest and most popular Fringe events have already been announced - details of the Military Tattoo in the Dome and the close-up High Peak Magicians in the Palace Hotel can be found on the Fringe website Programme pages.

Fringe 2013 will be the last in which we have use of the famous Paupers' Pit and Barrel Room in the cellars of the Old Hall Hotel. Work has begun on redeveloping the Crescent to open as a 5* spa hotel in the spring of 2015 and that will mean the loss of those two performance spaces.

Let's not rush ahead though: once the New Year begins we can confidently expect a steady stream of new events to be announced for Fringe 2013. Check out our pages regularly for all the latest news.

Stay safe everyone.

Monday 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and - if at all possible - hope that all find peace in the New Year.

The Puppet Masters are coming? Here is a link to a short You Tube clip created by a band from East Kent called The Puppet Masters. They may well be in Buxton for Fringe 2013. I'd better declare an interest here - my brother-in-law plays keyboards and sometimes sings for them (but not on this song). This only takes 3 minutes and 30 seconds out of your lives and has plenty of gags squeezed into it. Some of it will make you smile - let The Puppet Masters know you like them and maybe you'll see them in Buxton next July!

Wednesday 19 December 2012

The Biggest Show Is Back In Town!

The biggest show in Buxton for the past three years is coming back to town!

The Military Tattoo takes place at the University of Derby Dome on Saturday July 6th. There are two shows - from 2-4pm and from 6.30-9pm. 

The finest military bands, the sound of bagpipes, the beat of the drums - all under the atmospheric roof of Buxton's Dome. The spectacle is unmissable!

Even though there are 950 tickets for each show this event will sell-out, so there is no point in delaying. For tickets ring: 01298 25568

Sunday 16 December 2012

Beltane & Badges

Homeland is on - but it really is such tosh. How can it be regarded as amongst the 'best' on TV in 2012? Mind you The Killing 3 was pretty disappointing too: the plot was silly in the extreme but the characterization and the acting just about saved it. I'm pinning my hopes on Borgen in the New Year.

Back to things Buxton: Beltane - on Hall Bank - reopened about a month ago and is carrying on where it left off. One innovation is the vegetarian hot food courtesy of The Quiet Okapi. Not sure how long this will go on for but had a simple but enjoyable 3 course lunch today. Just £25 for the two of us including a drink each. Nothing clever or fancy but tasty and fresh.

Popped into the Green Man Gallery too to pick up this week's fashion accessory - a Green Man badge to wear on your hat or coat. The badges are made by "Mr Hope" - one of the artists. Apparently he has a full-scale industrial proportioned badge-making machine - so if you need a badge made to promote your ventures, then Mr Hope is your man.

Finally The Green Man also has copies of a new novel by a local writer for sale. The Mountain is set in the 1980s and includes some references to the songs of The Smith. Ian King Hamilton - who wrote it - says the novel has comic elements. Not The Smiths bits presumably.

Friday 14 December 2012

Music at Beltane tonight

It is a singularly crap day today. Cold, wet and windy. But it is not beyond redemption. Graham Clark's jazz trio will be entertaining the crowds at Beltane on Hall Bank tonight from around 9pm. I'm going for sure. So you can either meet me there or go somewhere else - I'll not take it personally but Mr Clark will be well worth hearing.

This Blog got about 400 'hits' yesterday - more than 10 times the normal traffic. This is some measure of how much John Beecher meant to so many people. It is likely that there will be a special event in Fringe 2013 to commemorate John's life and work in Buxton. When we know more we'll let you know. [Thanks to @owenjones84 for the re-tweet - I'm sure John would have appreciated that].

Thursday 13 December 2012

John Beecher

It was with immeasurable sadness that we learned of the death yesterday of John Beecher.
In the years that John and his family lived in Buxton they earned the respect, admiration and, above all, affection of us all.
John achieved much in his short life. (He would have been 26 tomorrow). I first met him when he was a primary school pupil and it was with much pleasure that we could see how his generation grew, developed and gave so much.
John had such a sharp, creative intelligence - but there no arrogance about him and a smile was never far from his face.
In terms of Buxton Fringe, John was, for many, the public face of Underground Venues where he managed the box office and front of house calmly, patiently and with cheerful humour. In his own unfussy way John lit up the Fringe and the lives of so many. The adjective most commonly used to describe John is 'lovely'. We were lucky to have him.
Thanks for all that you did for us John.
Our thoughts are with Nicky, Mike, Max and Anna.

Monday 10 December 2012

Up and Coming

I gather that a mini-music festival is being programmed for St Peter's Church, Fairfield as part of the Fringe for 2013. That is good news - it's a lovely music venue and it is always good to have events on the north side of town. We hope to have the details soon and the event included as part of the programme - so watch out for more news.

Nothing to do with the Fringe - but highly recommended entertainment for this Wednesday, December 12th is singer Bella Hardy singing in her home village of Edale. Earlier this year she released a lovely album The Dark Peak and the White. Her current tour is to launch a new album Bright Morning Star. It's a seasonal album including some of the famous Castleton carols. If you can't make the gig buy someone that matters to you a Bella Hardy album!

Saturday 8 December 2012

It's Magic!

Buxton Fringe 2013 is properly under way with its first entry and it's Magic!

The High Peak Magic Society is doing two shows at the Palace Hotel - one on Wednesday 17 July and the second on Thursday 18th.

Now these shows are always hugely popular because the magicians are great and there is always a tremendous "Wow" factor. The magicians work 'close-up' by your table so you can try and spot what is going on - and just as you think you might have worked it out a twist will astound you.

The magicians are good friends of the Fringe - they have supported Fringe Sunday in recent years. [Fringe Sunday in 2013 will be on July 7th]. So put the dates in your diary - tickets (£10) will be on sale from the Opera House but not until late in May.

Those of you that have been following the moral and ethical dilemma of the household Christmas tree - well we went to a farm at Kettleshulme and got a 7 footer there. It looks grand!

Friday 7 December 2012

The weekend starts here

Well it does for some. If you work in a hospital or a shop or drive a bus I guess it may not. Similarly if you're not in work for whatever reason today may be much like yesterday or tomorrow. Didn't mean to begin with such a complicated idea as "What is a weekend?" Start again.

For those of us close to Buxton the obvious thing to do tomorrow is attend the opening of The Green Man Gallery which kicks off at 11.30. The Gallery is at 55 High Street - at the five ways junction with Dale Rd, London Rd, Green La, and West Rd!

That may give you time to get a Christmas tree first thing - if you're so inclined. Ethical issues here too. Get a real one or a fake? We've gone for real trees for 30 years or more but find ourselves wondering if it is sounder to buy something in a box and recycle it year after year and leave the trees to grow. (I expect that someone will tell me that they are the wrong sort of trees to be growing).

Thursday 6 December 2012

Today's plan and bargain

According to various social media messages the Old Hall Hotel in Buxton has an unmissable bargain today - buy a mince pie (£1.50) and get a free mulled wine! What's the catch? Don't know. Tell me if there is one. For the Twitterati out there its @oldhallbuxton and you'll be kept updated with the daily offers at England's oldest hotel.
If they let you buy 4 or 5 mince pies (keep the pies for later or give them to your teetotal friends) and give you a glass of wine each time you could make quite a day of it. If you're still there at 7.30 venture to the Pauper's Pit for the current offering from Buxton Film.
As you wander home after the film - around 9.30 - if the snow and ice allows you to get up Hall Bank there may be a decent fire burning in Beltane - there will surely be some friends there eager to see you.
The Pauper's Pit - and some other parts of the Old Hall - will be closed for good in the autumn of 2013 because of the redevelopment of the Crescent. No doubt in the end it will be a price worth paying but a loss in the short-run.
Buxton Film and others will be looking for a new venue come next September. If you have any bright ideas make sure that you share them.

I see from Blogger that this site is read in the USA, Germany and Canada. Bless you all. If you are a bit perplexed about any of this - Buxton? What is that? - send me your questions and one day you'll get an answer.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Virtually an entry

Just received this Press Release from a local promoter.

"A must for the 2013 Fringe diary is  Saturday 20th July at the Railway when you will be able to enjoy two brilliant singer / songwriters Reg Meuross and Henry Priestman:

Reg Meuross (

Reg’s career  has spanned 26 years both in bands and as a solo performer and record producer. He has five critically acclaimed albums and countless collaborations to his credit His songwriting has been praised by Nick Lowe and Pete Townshend among many others. Live Highlights have been Edinburgh, Glastonbury and Sidmouth festivals. Buxton Fringe 2013 is a rare opportunity to see him up North.

Henry Priestman (

Henry has been a songwriter for 35 years. R
ecording in the 70's initially on Stiff (with Yachts), and later on Island Records, he achieved over 3 million sales as band member and main writer with the Christians. Other collaborations over the years have included Johnny Marr, Paul McCartney, Mark Owen, Jools Holland and Tom Jones.  In 2009, he re-invented himself as a story-telling singer/songwriter on his critically acclaimed solo album "The Chronicles of Modern Life".

I've heard some CDs by these guys who work together from time to time; it should be quality entertainment. Watch out for more news on Reg and Henry.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Looking Ahead - some Visual Arts

One of the highlights of Fringe 2012 (and Fringe 2010) was the Buxton Art Trail. Sadly it won't be part of Fringe 2013 because it is biennial (something that the art world quite likes evidently. The Istanbul biennial falls in 'odd' years so go there instead in 2013).
However it has been whispered to me that there may be an art trail of sorts - not intended to replace BAT, of course, but something that can definitely be looked forward to. I understand that some student groups will be bringing their end-of-the-year shows to Buxton. They are investigating exhibition spaces - so if you know of anywhere (hotels, shops, pubs, churches) that might want the attraction of quality artwork on their premises next July - then give us a shout.

Separate, but related, a local artist is looking for a pop-up space for his handcrafted dinosaur models. They'd look great in shop windows and kids love 'em - so if you know of anywhere that would be interested please be in touch.

Tomorrow's plan

You have all day on Wednesday December 5th to do as you like but come the evening here's a plan:

Starting at 7:30pm
Screened by Transition Buxton in conjunction with the Churches Environment Group. The film is by Jan van den Berg and has won masses of awards. It starts at an Inuit settlement in Greenland, where the health of the community is being destroyed by persistent pollutants, from all over the world, that accumulate in the far north. A young woman, Pipaluk Knudsen-Ostermann, travels to three different continents in search of the source of this pollution, and discovers the heartbreaking dilemmas behind it, for instance the use of DDT to control mosquitos, in spite of being banned.

Continuing from 8.30pm
To launch the newly recorded CD a special night of music-making at Buxton's longest-running live music club.

Monday 3 December 2012

...and Moreover...

Higher Buxton is looking very jolly as we approach just 3 weeks to Christmas. The Vault is setting the tone with shimmering glacial blue windows. So well done all you traders, licencees and shopkeepers.
If you don't get to that end of town very much you may not have noticed that we have a splendid new art gallery: The Green Man Gallery is on the corner of London Road and Dale Road (next to the newly reopened Mac Burnham butchers shop - also stocking some fresh vegetables for those non-carnivores among us). The Gallery opened its doors about 10 days ago but is opening properly this coming Saturday - December 8th. There is plenty to look at and plenty to buy at realistic prices. I'm bound to say I don't especially care for the Gallery's name - it seems unnecessarily gender specific. I'm told that it is a reference to the flashing image that tells you it might be safe to cross the busy roads. Why not "Stop, Look & Listen Gallery"? Anyway don't let any of this stop you from visiting.
On the other side of the road you will have passed Scrivener's bookshop of course. Apart from being a splendid shop and all-round curiosity Scrivener's windows also act as a noticeboard for forthcoming events - a generous public service.
I should say that none of these places is paying for any publicity here and I anticipate nothing in kind - but we gets lots of moans about Buxton and its shops when there are plenty of friendly independent traders ready to greet you.
With a bit of luck someone might even post a comment about the independent shop crawl for Christmas and the New Year!

Sunday 2 December 2012


While we're waiting for some serious Fringe 2013 news what else abounds?
In Buxton there's plenty to be doing and some of it costs hardly anything at all.
Club Acoustic - - operates at the Old Clubhouse these days. Next Wednesday - December 5th - is a special night because it is the launch of the new festive CD. The session starts at 8.30 (and the following week is Christmas Party night).
If it is film you want - well there is plenty being screened across the High Peak - for a comprehensive listing service go to There is bound to be something showing in a hall, a pub, a church or even a cinema near you!

New Year, New Blog Space

What with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and gkw Blogs seem a bit passe - so last v.
However one or two people - literally, no literary device here - said that they quite liked the Buxton Festival Fringe Blog from days of yore. So it's back.
The old hosting space doesn't seem to want us back, however, so this is a new start in a new space. 
Today is December 2nd - entries for Buxton Festival Fringe 2013 opened about 40 hours ago. So far we have no entries. But we're not bothered - generally we get just a handful of entries before Christmas. Those we do get, however, get maximum and privileged publicity for a while - because I've nothing else to write about.
A handful of entries are under development and under wraps I know. In the next couple of days (maybe even hours) the wraps may be off!