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Show of Hands Festival

May 20, 2010 by  

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Show of Hands Festival

Show of Hands hugely popular annual signature festival on the Dorset heritage coast was missing a vital ingredient last year – the band’s multi instrumental wizard Phil Beer, who was away fulfilling a lifetime dream of competing in the Tall Ships Race.

But this year the festival is at full strength with Mr. Beer firmly back on board for the event at Abbotsbury’s glorious Sub Tropical Gardens near Weymouth on Saturday, July 3.

Phil and Steve Knightley, his long-term singer songwriter partner, won Best Duo at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards earlier this year as well as Best Original Song for the Knightley-penned topical track Arrogance Ignorance and Greed. The pair, together with regular guest Miranda Sykes on double bass and vocals, will spearhead over six hours of non-stop open-air entertainment on Abbotsbury’s West Lawn.

They will be ably aided and abetted by a host of special guests topped by popular punk folksters Adrian Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds, who have been going down a storm at festivals. Comedy actor Edmondson, who like Show of Hands, hails from Devon, is best known as Vivian in The Young Ones but has forged himself a riotous new career by buying himself a mandolin and, with the help of folk musicians Troy Donockley and Andy Dinan, reinventing punk classics and other standards – even a truncated version of Steeleye Span’s All Around My Hat!

Meanwhile the “impossibly talented” Rodney Branigan from Texas (left) will be bringing his progressive folk fusion music to Abbotsbury and doubtless making jaws drop with his simultaneous playing of two guitars.

Another highlight of the eclectic line-up will be spellbinding folk-classicists Spiro, an instrumental quartet who The Word described as “Like Detroit techno played by a travelling band out of a Hardy novel”! The Bristol-based band comprises Jon Hunt on guitar, Jane Harbour on violin, Alex Vann on mandolin and Jason Sparkes on accordion.

The line-up is completed by the unique French-Geordie singer Flossie Malavialle who proved a popular support act for Show of Hands on their autumn 09 tour and has since supported Fairport Convention.

The event starts at 3pm. Tickets are available on 01305-871130, price £22 (adults); £11 (children) or a special offer family ticket for two adults and up to three children for £50. The Abbotsbury Tourism box office is open 9am-1pm and 2-5pm Mondays to Fridays Further information on or email

Concertgoers are invited to bring low-backed seating, rugs and picnics into the grounds – entry to the West Lawn area is from 1.30pm. The grounds open at 10am for those interested in looking round the magnificent 20-acre gardens (admission included in ticket price). For the youngsters, children’s entertainer Rob Pudner will be on hand with his circus skills and storytelling and face painters will also be at the ready.



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