Six of the Best: Cultural highlights not to miss this weekend

Flamingo Amy's Pop-Up Salon coming to Gressenhall's 1950s weekend. Picture: Joanna MIllington

Flamingo Amy's Pop-Up Salon coming to Gressenhall's 1950s weekend. Picture: Joanna MIllington - Credit: Archant

Step back into the 1950s at Gressenhall, there is a First World War theme to this year's Last Night of the Proms at Blickling, Hazel O'Conner is back, there is dragon boat racing at Downham Market Water Festival, Big Country headline Reepham Music Festival and Little Ellingham celebrates our rural past. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.


Last Night of the Proms

Blickling Hall, August 9, 7.30pm, £33 adv/£36 on gate, 01263 734711,

This year's open air Blickling Proms night marks 100 Years since the start of the First World War. The first half will include a nostalgic sing-along. The second half will see performances of the main theme from War Horse by John Williams and Mars (The Bringer of War) from The Planets by Holst and The Banks of Green Willow, composed in the trenches by John Butterworth. A poignant minutes silence prior to Nimrod will herald the traditional proms favourites to include British Sea Songs, Rule Britannia, Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory. The evening will once again be hosted by conductor Roderick Dunk and feature the acclaimed Sinfonia Viva, with a welcome return of mezzo soprano Annette Wardell.


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Little Ellingham Vintage Working Show

Rocklands Road, Little Ellingham, near Attleborough, August 9-10, 10am-5pm, £5, under-16s free, 01953 850238

Norfolk's rural past is brought to life at this show that includes working displays of steam powered wood sawing, steam threshing and baling, vintage combines harvesting and vintage tractors ploughing — including a head-to-head competition between four-wheeled and four-leg horse power. In addition the Eastern Counties Heavy Horse Society will be back again this year with demonstrations. There will be tractor and trailer rides around the 100 acre site, plus displays of trucks, classic cars, motorbikes and military vehicles and offroading by the Breckland Land Rover Club. Main ring events including sheep dog demos and shearing, heavy horses and various tractor displays.


Hazel O'Conner

Open, Bank Plain, Norwich, August 9, 7pm, £20, 01603 763111,

Award-winning singer-songwriter Hazel O'Connor returns to the region to coincide with the 2014 release of the album Here She Comes and the publication of her long-awaited autobiography Breaking Glass Barefoot. Striding into the spotlight with cult movie Breaking Glass, Hazel immediately was an iconic figure on the post-punk landscape. Here she plays with Clare Hirst on sax and Sarah Fisher on keyboards. Expect a soulful introspective dip into Hazel's stunning portfolio, the old, the new and stories from along the way. There will be a Meet & Greet after the show. Support from Tensheds.


Water Festival

Hythe Bridge, Downham Market, August 10, free admission, 01366 387770,

The Downham Market Water Festival and Dragon Boat Race returns having become has been a key event in the town calendar. The free festival, now in its eighth year, sees colourful teams take to the water to compete many in weird and wacky fancy dress others determined to win the infamous Dragon Boat Race on the Great Ouse Relief Channel. Crowds of over 4,000 are expected to watch the spectacle which helps raise money for local and national charities and community groups. There is also plenty of shore-side entertainment too; as well as cheering on the teams spectators you'll be able to enjoy a funfair, face painting and various stalls.



Reedham, August 9-10, £20 standard tickets, 01603 508050,

Popular two-day summer music festival returns this year featuring a Saturday headline set from legendary rock band Big Country. From 1983 onwards Big Country delivered a series of multi-million selling singles and albums including the classics In A Big Country, Wonderland, Fields of Fire and Look Away. The 1990s saw them touring with the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Who. The line-up also includes Mainly Madness, Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston, Buster James, Bad Touch, Parallel Times, Hayley Moyses' Bluegrass Forum, Lecia Louise, The A13 Allstars', Big Sky, Buzby, Daisy Victoria, Sefo Kanuteh, Walkway, Cara Winter, Differential and Hare's Breath.


Rock n Roll at Gressenhall

Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse, August 10, 10am-5pm, normal admission £9.90 (£8.60 cons), £6.50 children, £29-£20 family, 01362 860563,

Step back in time to the 1950s and 1960s - when rock n roll was king! Experience the glamour of the era, from fashion to hair styles and make-up with Flamingo Amy and her Pop Up Salon. For the chaps, there is the chance to visit The Tonsorial Artist for the traditional barbershop experience. Visit the 'Fabulous Miss K' and learn how to dress in style at her How to Wear 1950-60s clothes stall. Looking the part? Be sure to strike a pose in the 1950s Room Photo Booth. Hear tunes of the age from Rockin' Roland the Rockabilly DJ. Take a dance lesson from The Norwich Swing Cats or discover the art of Hula Hooping with Daisy Black from Gossamer Thread's Vaudeville Company. Get creative and make some 1950s arts and crafts with Teddy Girl Sian, or experience a 1950s school lesson.

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