Fund-raiser festival

A MEDIEVAL barn in Nailsea is to be used as a venue for this year's arts and music festival, which will raise funds for its restoration

A MEDIEVAL barn in Nailsea is to be used as a venue for this year's arts and music festival, which will raise funds for its restoration.The Nailsea Music and Arts Festival kicks off on Friday at the Tithe Barn with a barn dance with live band Fougere Rouge.The festival runs until May 20 and will raise money towards a £900,000 project to restore the building to its former glory.The Nailsea Tithe Barn Trust, set up to drive forward the restoration, has already secured a £500,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the project. Nailsea Town Council has also earmarked £150,000 and a further £50,000 has been raised as a result of local fund-raising, pledges and cash from the Diocese of Bath and Wells.Nailsea Tithe Barn Trust chairman David Francis said: "The festival is about having lots of fun and involving a wide range of people, both young and old."It also aims to raise money towards the barn's restoration."Over the 10 days there will be a lot of variety from arts and craft exhibitions, dance displays, classical, jazz and folk concerts and community theatre productions."The events are centred on the original medieval heart of Nailsea and venues include the Ring of Bells, Holy Trinity Church and the barn."The list of performers include shanty singers the Harry Browns and Bristol Battle of the Band champions Lenny Savage and the Doohickies.Gypsy swing band Sheelanagig will appear at the Ring of Bells on May 13 while on May 17 there will be an Adge Cutler tribute night.Mr Francis added: "Adge attended the barn as a schoolchild and there will be a showing of rare archive film footage of Adge in his early days and interviews with Acker Bilk and Fred Wedlock with whom he worked for a number of years."There is something happening every night and at weekends a wide range of daytime and evening activities from a school reunion to a craft exhibition."Work on restoring the building, The Tithe Barn, which was given Grade II listed building status in 1973 and was used as a school up until the 1970s, is expected to take 14 months and it is hoped the building will re-open in September 2009.Full details about the festival are available by logging onto and programmes are available at Nailsea Library and a number of shops across the town.

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