Southport’s magnificent seven events for 2013

LAN May Southport Events

LAN May Southport Events - Credit: Archant

There are many reasons for visiting this coastal resort – not least the brilliant shows

Southport Jazz Festival

May 10-12

The 13th festival launches at the town’s brilliant new venue, The Atkinson, with jazz- lovers treated to a weekend of gigs involving 11 award-winning musicians headlining the event which, happily, runs alongside a CAMRA beer festival.

The Southport Jazz Festival has been a firm favourite in the music calendar since 2001, attracting international and national artists and a range of styles.

The Atkinson will host the headline gigs with some top artists including James Morton’s Pork Chop, The Al Wood Nine, The Nicola Farnon Quartet, Gabby Young and the Other Animals, The Bateman Brothers with special guests Spats Langham & Enrico Tomasso, Go Go Penguin, The Joe Stilgoe Trio, Terry Seabrook’s Silent Movie Jazz, and James Morrison with the Swingshift Band. Tickets are available via Sefton Arts or via the box office on 01704 533333.

The ‘hub’ of the festival is at the Town Hall Gardens but you’ll be able to catch many gigs in bars and restaurants.

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Southport Food and Drink festival

May 31-June 2

This gets bigger and better every year and it is rapidly turning into one of the landmarks in the culinary calendar. Expect an abundance of fresh produce, street food, special menus at local restaurants and an array of the region’s top chefs demonstrating their kitchen skills.

Woodvale Transport Festival

June 22-23

This popular event has now relocated to Victoria Park, providing a great family day out complete with a Wall of Death, military vehicles, model trains and planes, a steam rally and vintage and classic cars and motorbikes from across the region.

Southport Flower Show

August 15-18

This is the jewel in Southport’s crown offering a tremendous day out for anyone who loves horticulture. But the ever-growing list of attractions means it will also appeal to a much wider range of people.

This year, the theme is Pride and that’s one thing they’re not sort of at a show that has built up an international reputation for its friendliness as well as the quality of its exhibitors.

‘Pride can be translated into so many things,’ says show chairman Margaret Tarpey. ‘We have pride in Southport, pride in the community and pride the fact the show is still going strong after 84 years.’

As well as wonderful floral displays and competition gardens, one of the growing features has been the food and drink section which showcases mouth-watering produce from across the region.

This year, the celebrity guests will include TV chef Simon Rimmer, and the marquee will have a large ‘tasting’ area so people can sample what’s on offer. There will be greenhouses alongside the food court with tables and chairs so people can sit and enjoy a picnic no matter what the weather.

There is a also a book festival on the Victoria Park showground where you are likely to spot a writer or two signing books. You can play spot the gardening celebrity as you stroll around. This year Matthew Wilson, of Gardeners’ Question Time fame, takes on his new role of show patron and Dr David Bellamy is a regular who charms the visitors.

The show is run by a charitable trust and they always make sure good causes benefit from the gala night curtain-raiser. This year funds will go to ABF, the Soldiers’ Charity.

Those Old favourites the shire horses will be back on parade this year, edible gardening will be a talking point and hopes are high there will be an appearance by the famous piano-playing nun, a mysterious character who once upstaged the Bishop of Liverpool. Don’t miss it!

Lancashire County cricket

August 28-31

Cricket fans will be delighted to know that Lancashire has agreed to play a first class county match against Hampshire at the Southport and Birkdale Cricket Club.

It’s a real feather in the cap for the club, which attracted a record-breaking 7,500 spectators for the three days of a county game back in 2011. S&BCC chairman Tony Elwood is hoping the weather is kind and they can top that record.

This ambitious club set up special working party and Lancashire’s head groundsman Matthew Merchant and his team will be working with the coastal club to prepare the wicket. Volunteers have carried out essential spring-cleaning and other work to ensure that all aspects of the ground and facilities are ready for action.

Said Tony: ‘S&BCC has a proud history of staging county cricket with 40 First Class games and a number of one day matches played at Trafalgar Road between 1959 and 2011. Some notable records have been achieved on the ground, including one of the greatest turnarounds in cricket history in 1982 when Warwickshire notched up an impressive 523 for 4 declared. Warwickshire still conspired to lose the game by an emphatic ten wickets, with Graeme Fowler scoring a century in each innings while batting with a runner!’

The club will also be hosting a PCA England Masters’ game on Friday 6 September. This will feature former England test cricketers in a match against the Club’s Invitation XI.

You can find out more and get ticket details from www.sandbsportsclub.co.uk or by calling 07925 420168

Southport Air Show

September 14-15

It’s one of the most spectacular shows staged in Lancashire and it attracts crowds in excess of 150,000 from across the UK. This is also a unique show - taking place over the extensive sands off Southport means it is the only seaside airshow where aircraft can land and take off in front of the public.

Expect to see the Red Arrows staging aerobatics on the Saturday, a Eurofighter Typhoon, Royal Navy helicopters, wing walking and a host of fun events from Army assault courses to flight simulators.

British Firework Festival

October 4-6

Victoria Park will be hosting seven jaw-dropping fireworks displays over three nights to find the winners of the British Musical Fireworks Championships.

This is no ordinary competition because each competitor is required to synchronise their display to music, making the event one of a kind in the UK.

Expect Southport’s skies to explode with colour as some of the country’s top pyrotechnic teams compete with stunning firework displays to try to win the prestigious title of UK Champions.

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