Monsters of rock will be playing at a gig near you

Tara Greaves Norfolk and Suffolk's massive summer of music kicks off tonight with three gigs featuring stars of rock and pop. At Thetford, The Zutons start the first weekend, followed by KT Tunstall and Status Quo.

Tara Greaves

Norfolk and Suffolk's massive summer of music kicks off tonight with three gigs featuring stars of rock and pop.

Once upon a time, you would have had to travel hundreds of miles if you wanted to see top name artists in action.

These days, however, a fairy godmother has waved her magic wand to make big name acts appear practically on the doorstep.

In 2008, Norfolk has its feet firmly under the musical table, with the likes of Meat Loaf, KT Tunstall and McFly delighting fans by announcing dates in the county.

The big summer of music kicks off tonight when the Zutons, who released their highly anticipated new album You Can Do Anything on Monday, take to the stage in the picturesque setting of High Lodge, Thetford Forest.

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They will be followed by singer KT Tunstall this Friday, who has been touring in America, but popped back across the pond to appear at the PinkPop festival in Holland at the weekend.

The Edinburgh-born artist, who is engaged to former Sprowston High School pupil Luke Bullen, has become established as a phenomenally successful artist on both sides of the Atlantic.

On Saturday, one of Britain's best loved bands, the legendary Status Quo, (right) will be rocking the forest. The group, which has become a rock 'n' roll institution, was the first act to be announced for the Forestry Commission's 2008 summer concert season.

A spokesman for the commission said: “Sales are going well, there are still tickets available for most artists so it is best to check the website for more information.”

But the fun does not end there, July is packed solid with musical extravaganzas at Thetford, the historic Blickling Hall and the Latitude Festival at Henham Park. There is a band or artist for all tastes including Crowded House, who officially reformed last year, the mellow tones of Katie Melua and all-out rock with Meat Loaf.

t If you require any further information or want to book tickets for Thetford or Blickling Hall just visit the EDP shop at www.edp24.co.uk.

WHAT'S ON

Thetford Forest:

t July 5 - The Zutons.

t July 6 - KT Tunstall.

t July 7 - Status Quo.

t July 10 - Crowded House.

t July 11 - McFly.

t July 12 - Katherine Jenkins.

Blickling Hall:

t July 12 - Katie Melua.

t July 13 - Meat Loaf.

t July 19 - Eighties favourites Kim Wilde, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, Paul Young, Heaven 17, China Crisis, the Real Thing, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Altered Images and Dr and the Medics.

t July 20 - Boyzone.

Latitude, Henham Park, between Beccles and Southwold

t July 17-20 - The line-up includes: Franz Ferdinand, Blondie, Beth Orton, Martha Wainwright, Phil Kay, Siman Amstell, Seasick Steve, Bill Bailey and Ross Noble. The festival also features a literary tent poetry arena and cabaret stage. Tickets are on sale at www.latitudefestival.co.uk or on 0871 231 0821.

Rock With Laughter, Somerleyton Hall, near Lowestoft

t August 16 - Lenny Henry, Jasper Carrott and Jo Brand will provide the wisecracks while The Manfreds, Elkie Brooks, The Blockheads and Bootleg Beatles have been lined up to get the audience dancing. Tickets available from IML Concerts 01603 660444, Norwich Theatre Royal 01603 630000, the Yarmouth Britannia Pier Theatre 01493 842914, the UEA Students' Union 01603 508050 or at www.imlconcerts.co.uk.

Breckfest, Attleborough Recreation Ground

September 13 -Showaddywady, Suzi Quatro, Hot Chocolate. For tickets go to www.ticketweb.co.uk or call the 24-hour number 08444 771000.

BID TO BEAT THE SMOKING LITTER

Concertgoers at Thetford Forest will be handed portable ashtrays in a bid to stub out smoking litter.

Forest Heath District Council, in partnership with Breckland Council, will be distributing the ashtrays at the summer concerts at High Lodge tonight, tomorrow and Saturday and on July 10, 11 and 12.

The campaign aims to remind people that cigarette butts are litter and that dropping them can result in an £80 fine. As well as costing time and money to pick up, they can also have a serious effect on the environment.

Tony Simmons, Forest Heath District Council's member champion for the environment, said: “The simple, thoughtless act of dropping a cigarette butt has a lasting environmental effect.

“I urge everyone to find a bin for their cigarette rubbish and if you are at the concerts in the forest then please use the portable ashtrays.”