Wednesday, 06 July 2022

Festival celebrates return with theme of community

THIS year’s GAP Festival in Goring will be all about community unity, says the artistic director.

The event, which begins on Thursday and runs until June 12, features music, art, film and drama.

A 1km long street party will be recreated in honour of the queen’s platinum jubilee.

It is the first time it has taken place since 2018 as the 2020 festival was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ginny Avery, who took charge in 2020, said: “We are relieved to be back after the festival was cancelled two years ago just when our programme was about to go to print.

“We have so much talent and creativity in this village, as well as kindness and support, and this year’s festival will be an opportunity to celebrate that. It’s all about unity and bringing everyone together and having some fun.”

Ms Avery, an actor and drama teacher who lives in Goring with her husband and two children, said: “We have 69 ticketed events but there is so much more that people can experience free, including a wonderful street party and a whole new variety of fringe music events, pop-up performances and activities for children.

“The idea is that people can come along and listen to different kinds of music every evening and experience the festival in a new way.

“There’s something for everyone and for every pocket as the real focus for us has been our community. It has been so good to see new faces and new people involved — we are all volunteers and giving our time to the festival free.

“It has been a real labour of love for me and I am humbled by the reception it has had so far.

“When I was asked to take over the role, it really felt serendipitous and I thought, ‘This is something I can do for the community’. I had a lot of ideas and creativity and it has been fantastic to be able to put it in practice but I couldn’t have done it without my team.”

The festival will include a children’s film festival in which young film-makers of all school ages were invited to submit entries.

Each category winner will receive a voucher for a two-day film course run by arts and creative media charity Film Oxford to help build their film-making skills and knowledge.

Ms Avery, who taught drama at The Henley College and Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning, said: “I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with. We will have a full red carpet as part of it with ‘paparazzi’ and spectators, so it will be very exciting.”

Events for which tickets have not yet sold out include:

Friday, June 3, Streatley Farmhouse, 7.30pm: award-winning folk group The Unthanks will play songs from their new album, Sorrows Away, in the intimate setting of an 18th century barn.

Saturday, June 4, Sheepcot recreation ground, Goring, 7am: run with Elkie.

Sunday, June 5, Streatley Farmhouse, 6.30pm: Mozart’s Così fan tutte will be performed in an experience akin to Glyndebourne.

Tuesday, June 7, St Thomas’s Church, Goring, 7.30pm: join an audience with Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars, The Foundling and Mrs England, with the Goring Chamber Choir performing excerpts from Handel’s Messiah.

Thursday, June 9, Goring village hall, 7.30pm: comedians Harriet Braine and Pete Orton bring their musical comedy to the stage.

Saturday, June 11, Morrell Room, Streatley, 8am: a free mindfulness taster session with Andy Taylor.

Gardiner recreation ground, Goring, 8am: kids’ running club with Goring Primary Run Club.

St Mary’s Church, Streatley, 1pm: one-hour lunchtime chamber concert with Schubert’s Octet.

Goring village hall, 1.30pm: teen horror make-up workshop, create an oozing wound, ghastly scar or a chopped-off finger.

Sunday, June 12, St Thomas’s Church, Goring, noon: in a special event called “Church and the state: uneasy bedfellows?” the Bishop of Oxford will be in conversation with a former prime minister.

Goring village hall, 3.30pm: find out the winners of the children’s film festival and enjoy a screening of Sing 2 (U).

Morrell Room, Streatley, 7.30pm: Chinese Boxing by Mark Kitto, a one-man show about the Boxer Rebellion.

The festival also has a range of events that you can book while it is running or just turn up. There is a games café throughout at the Village Café (book online).

There are open gardens in Goring on Friday, June 3 and in Streatley on Friday, June 10. Tickets online or pay at the gate.

No tickets are required for the following events:

Artists at Goring art exhibition is at Goring village hall from Thursday, June 2 to Saturday, June 4.

The Rectory Garden in Goring will host the following events:

Festival market day on Saturday, June 4.

Jubilee praise family service on Sunday, June 5.

Teddy bears’ picnic on Friday, June 10.

Big breakfast on Sunday, June 12 (also in the village hall).

There is also a series of free “fringe” music events taking place at pubs, restaurants and community venues, both indoor and outdoors as follows:

Friday, June 3, the John Barleycorn, Goring, 6pm: Sara Daniels and Robert Buttrick.

Saturday, June 4, Rectory Garden, Goring, 10am: Stuart Miller and Andy Taylor.

Saturday, June 4, the Catherine Wheel, Goring, 7pm: Goring Unplugged presents Greg Mayston’s Folk, Blues and Americana, Eloise Rees and others.

Saturday, June 5, Miller of Mansfield, Goring, 6pm: Furlong followed by the Good Old Boys.

Tuesday, June 7, Rectory Garden, Goring, 1pm: the Theale Church of England Primary School Band.

Tuesday, June 7, the Swan at Streatley, 7.30pm: Jenny Fay followed by the Ewen Baird Quartet.

Wednesday, June 8, Goring Social Club, 7pm: the Roy Bailey Big Band.

Friday, June 10, the Bull at Streatley, 4pm: the Night Herons, joined by the Robert Buttrick Band and DellaFox.

Sunday, June 11, the Catherine Wheel, Goring, 7pm: Goring Unplugged presents Greg Mayston’s Folk, Blues and Americana, the Mysteries, Heather Jayne and the Red Shows and others.

Sunday, June 12, Goring village hall and Rectory Garden, Goring, 8.30am: local performers including Goring Primary School Choir, Jenny Fay Jazz and Andy Taylor.

The Chocolate Café in High Street, Goring, will stay open until 6.30pm during the festival.

For more information, visit www.thegapfestival.org

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