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Live on the Vine weekend summer festival in Sevenoaks to launch, raising funds for the Stag theatre

A new weekend family festival set to run through this summer will kick off this weekend, helping to raise funds for a theatre and its performers.

Live on the Vine, which begins tonight at Sevenoaks' Vine Gardens, will bring live entertainment each weekend, weather permitting, raising urgently-needed funds for the Stag Theatre and the professional artists whose livelihoods are on hold due to the pandemic.

The Stag Theatre in London Road, Sevenoaks needs funds as it is still unable to open
The Stag Theatre in London Road, Sevenoaks needs funds as it is still unable to open

Organised by Sevenoaks Town Council, every weekend, there will be entertainment on the bandstand with audiences invited to ‘pay what you can’ and support the artists and the town's theatre, with money raised being split equally between the Stag and the performers.

On Fridays from 6pm to 8pm there will be live music, and on Saturdays from 2pm to 4pm, family fun will keep kids entertained followed by traditional bands on the bandstand on Sundays from 3pm to 5pm.

For the first event of its kind tonight swing and jazz singer Shane Hampsheir, a regular at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, will perform with his band.

Britain’s Got Talent ventriloquist Steve Hewlett and local favourite Silly Billy (Ant Payne), known for his appearances in the Sevenoaks panto, will perform an afternoon of entertainment on Saturday.

Singer Shane Hampsheir will be kicking off the new summer festival
Singer Shane Hampsheir will be kicking off the new summer festival

On Sunday, July 26, Sam Hall’s Swinging Sensations will play their unique style of Dixieland Jazz, with a mix of old songs and new covers.

There will be food and drink available from The Vine Café and The Vine Cricket Club and you can bring a picnic, provided you don't bring chairs, social distance and take your rubbish home.

Sevenoaks Mayor Cllr Nicholas Busvine said: “During lockdown, the Vine has become even more of a community focal point for Sevenoaks residents than previously.It is wonderful news that Live on the Vine is back. What is more, the café is open, and the cricket is re-starting. Enjoy and help Save our Stag.”

Ant Payne is Silly Billy
Ant Payne is Silly Billy

Stag chief executive Andrew Eyre added: "I hope many people will be able to spend a relaxing time at the Vine and continue to support The Stag. “

Each week, a new line-up will be confirmed on social media and audiences, who can just turn up, will be encouraged to pay at least £5 per person.

If the weather is rubbish, it will be cancelled or rearranged.

Volunteer stewards will be on hand with cash and contactless options for donations before the show begins. Limited toilets will also be available.

To find out more and keep up to date with the line-ups in the coming weeks visit the Facebook page here.

For more entertainments news across Kent click here.

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