Culture fix: What to do this September in Hertfordshire

Leon McCawley sitting a piano

Pianist Leon McCawley will be performing at Sarratt Festival of Music - Credit: Anna Paik

Just because summer is almost over, doesn't mean the action stops. From gigs and concerts, to garden and artist studio open days, fill your September with these fun things to do... 

Sarratt Festival of Music, Sarratt
September 17-18 and 24-25; shows are individually priced; Sarratt Village Hall, The Green, Sarratt, Rickmansworth, WD3 6AS; sarrattfestivalofmusic.co.uk
Sarratt Festival of Music returns after the village hall fell silent last year due to lockdown.

The pretty Hertfordshire village will host four evenings of world class music over the last two weekends in September.

The festival opens with Onyx Brass, whom BBC Music Magazine described as 'easily the classiest brass ensemble in Britain', followed the next day by the award-winning Sacconi String Quartet.

Internationally-renowned pianist Leon McCawley will perform the following weekend, before jazz singer, pianist and songwriter Joe Stilgoe, referred to by the Sunday Times as 'a very British Harry Connick Jr, rounds off the festival.

Marty Wilds and the Wildcats, Radlett
September 18; 7.30pm; tickets £25; The Radlett Centre, 1 Aldenham Avenue, Radlett, WD7 8HL; radlettcentre.co.uk

Hertfordshire's own rockin' icon Marty Wilde is back with his five-piece band The Wildcats. 

Marty began his career in 1957 and was a lead figure in the ground-breaking early years of British rock n roll.

At The Radlett Centre, enjoy hits including A Teenager in Love, Sea Of Love, Donna, Bad Boy and Endless Sleep. The songwriter has also penned songs for Status Quo, Lulu and his daughter Kim.

Pull on your blue suede shoes and hear again from a legend awarded an MBE for services to music. 

Ayott Art Show, Ayott St Lawrence
September 18-20, Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm, Monday 10am-2pm; entry £2; St Lawrence Church, Ayot St Lawrence, AL6 9BZ; ayotartshow.co.uk
Ayot St Lawrence Art Show in the beautiful Palladian Church of Ayott St Lawrence attracts hundreds of visitors each year.

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The range of artists, many whom return annually, have a variety of styles and mediums including oil, watercolour and acrylic, and the show will also host new talent to discover. 

A great place to buy unique artworks, both framed and unframed, plus artist designed greeting cards. 

Painting of plant on table

Clare Hogan is one of the talented artists to be seen at Herts Open Studios - Credit: Clare Hogan

Herts Open Studios, across Hertfordshire
September 18-October 10; 11am-5pm various studios and galleries across Hertfordshire; hvaf.org.uk
Artists, artisans and art-lovers can meet once again for three weeks of inspiration and discovery as creative spaces across the county open their doors for Herts Visual Arts Open Studios.

The free popular event, now in its 30th year, provides an insight into artists at work with opportunities to meet and discuss their art as well as buy unique pieces, prints and more.

Visitors can enjoy art covering everything from classical to contemporary, decorative to functional, figurative to abstract, wall-hung to 3D.

This year’s is a hybrid event mixes both in person exhibitions with online studio tours and live social media streams. Visitors can search events by art media, theme and location. There will also be daily themes. 

Oasis at Knebworth 1996 film, Letchworth
September 23-24; 8.30pm; tickets £19; Broadway Cinema & Theatre, Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3DD; broadway-letchworth.com
In August 1996, 250,000 fans converged on Knebworth Park to see Oasis play two record-breaking, era defining shows. 

Featuring a setlist packed with classics, including Champagne Supernova, Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back In Anger it was a pinnacle moment for the band and for Britpop.

Oasis Knebworth 1996 is a new documentary film telling the story of that weekend through the eyes of the fans, the band and concert organisers. Catch it at The Broadway in Letchworth. 

Hertford and Our Changing Climate convention, Hertford
September 25; 10am-5pm; Friends Meeting House (and other locations) 50 Railway Street, Hertford SG14 1EH; 
hacc-herts.org
Help and advice to those concerned about climate change but don’t know where to start is on offer in Hertford.

At Friends Meeting House and at more than a dozen stalls around the town centre, there will be a variety of talks, family activities and technology to offer food for thought on making energy savings and reducing waste and water usage. 

‘Hertford and our Changing Climate will be informative, encouraging and also enabling to anyone who wants to take steps to start reducing emissions, whether in their personal or professional life,’ said organiser, David Stokes.

‘Alongside practical information on everything from insulation and composting to electric vehicles and planet-friendly investing, we will include helping visitors to discuss climate change in a constructive way with people around them.’ 

Pug in the bluebell woods at Benington, Hertfordshire

Pug in the bluebell woods at Benington by Matt Robertson - Credit: Matt Robertson

Benington Garden Festival, Benington
September 25-26; various private gardens around Benington and at the village hall; 3 Walkern Road, SG2 7LN;
 beningtonvillagehall.uk
The good folk of Benington will open up their beautiful gardens to the public for a weekend for the Benington Garden Festival, which is also the backdrop to a photography exhibition reflecting village life.

Enjoy the many different gardens (some will have plants and home-grown produce for sale) before heading to the village hall for tea and cake and to see the exhibition drawn from more than 180 images submitted to a village calendar photography contest.