Chester weekly news update #8

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The Midsummer Watch made a surprise return to the city centre last Saturday, after a year off due to the pandemic. The historic parade dates back to 1498 and this year took the form of a series of smaller surprise parades featuring characters including an angel, devil, raven and skeletons. To avoid crowds forming there was no prior promotion for the event which will hopefully return in its full form next year. Local photographer Mark Carline captured the event:

Chester Mini-Midsummer Watch Parade (2021)

Cars and Coffee Cheshire also made a triumphant return last Sunday, also after a Covid year off. Co event organiser Nick Arkell commented : ” We were really pleased with the variety of vehicles turning up on Sunday, despite the initial concern of bad weather. It actually turned out to be the largest attendance ever at Cars & Coffee Cheshire with over 300 free tickets requested. The sun came out and brought with it a large number of people coming along to enjoy looking at everything from a classic 60s Volvo to a 90s Japanese supercar. Our new partners had a successful morning of networking with their potential customers and guests were both friendly and well-behaved! Chester Lakes and the Cars & Coffee Cheshire team are looking forward to the second meet of 2021 on 12th September at 9am. Free registration will be open soon with more details at

Cars and Coffee

The Grosvenor Museum has now fully reopened with advance booking no longer required. The new exhibition “Curated Closet” combines items from the museum’s costume collection with modern interpretation from photographer Kat Hannon and designer Matthew O Brien. The exhibition runs until December and features a fun fashion ‘catwalk’ alongside displays of clothes, jewellery and accessories from the 20th century from its collection of over 3000 items. Entry to Curated Closet is free.

Chester Literature Festival returns to Storyhouse this autumn taking place from 6-20 November with a packed programme of visiting poets, writers, broadcasters, wordsmiths and actors.  The festival opens on Saturday, 6 November with lexicographer and Countdown dictionary queen Susie Dent presents The Secret Life of Words. Susie will be exploring the world of words and the curious, unexpected and sometimes surreal origins of those we use every day – along with the fate of some that have become lost in the mists of time.  Susie will also be sharing memories from 25 years on Countdown and 8 Out of 10 Cats do Countdown. 

New Art Club’s Tom Roden and Pete Shenton have emerged from lockdown with a new show which comes to Storyhouse on Wednesday, 10 November. Cupid’s Revenge is an irresistible 60-minute physical poem performed on stage alongside a giant Love Heart and which plants love under the microscope in the 21st Century. 

Also on 10 November comedian Arthur Smith is joined by Britain’s Got Talent’s PC Dave Wardell (owner of Finn the German Shepherd) and the UK’s most famous Twitter cop Sgt Harry Tangye (author of Fire Arms and Fatals) for an evening talking cops and comedy. Hosted by actor Ian Puleston-Davies (Owen Armstrong, Coronation Street).  

Meanwhile Austentatious returns to Storyhouse on Thursday, 11 November, as part of a tour marking the show’s 10th anniversary.  Expect a riotously funny evening of improvised comedy storytelling, inspired by Jane Austen and based on nothing more than a title randomly suggested by the audience. 

Other highlights include : Performance poet, rock star, presenter and cultural commentator Dr John Cooper Clarke  (Friday, 12 November) with his I Wanna Be Yours Tour, Mersey beat poet Roger McGough  talking about his newest poetry collection Safety In Numbers (16 Nov) , and an Evening with Nigella Lawson (18 Nov). Coinciding with the launch of her latest book Cook, Eat, Repeat, which is a combination of delicious recipes and essays about food.  The superstar TV cook will explore how cooking is an intuitive, personal and connecting process and how one meal idea leads to another.  For the full programme visit 


New North West directory launched to support sexual violence survivors

A new digital directory of services has been launched across the North West to help survivors of sexual violence find support. features a postcode search function which allows users to find local support services.

The website also contains Survivor Support Packs which are downloadable resources created in collaboration with survivors. These packs provide all the information you need to know around the definitions of sexual violence crimes, information for parents/carers on supporting children or how to have open conversations at home, and a simplified 15-step summary for the ‘report to court’ process.

Becky Johnston, Sexual Violence Communication and Engagement Manager and project manager for the website said: “Until now, if a survivor was to look for support online, the information can be confusing and overwhelming.

“There are loads of support organisations out there but it’s hard to know which one is specifically commissioned for the area you live in. You could contact an organisation then be referred onto another, then another – a process which when speaking to some survivors has been described as a deterrent for seeking support.

“This new website was created with support from survivors and using their feedback to improve access to services. We really hope this site makes the process easier for survivors.” The website has been built in collaboration with North West Police and Crime Commissioners, NHS England, and Sexual Assault & Abuse Services.

In this week’s music news, tickets are flying out for Pulp Disco’s first ever festival. The Pulp Disco Festival 2021 takes place on the 25th of September at Chester Lakes with two areas. They will be playing Disco and House in The Main Marquee, as well as ‘ Beats and Treats’ in The Other Tent. DJ’s include Jae Holmes, Jesse Cooper. Darren Donnelly & Funkdub. The event runs from 1pm to 10pm. Overnight camping is available with a limited number of electric hookups. For tickets, full lineup and ticket links see:

The Chester & North Wales electronic music community came together this week in support of the mental health charity CALM (Campaign against Living Miserably) The inimitable electronica facebook collective ‘Only Human’, under the stewardship of Matthew Garnett and Andy Peggs, released not one but TWO albums. ‘3.1’ focuses on optimistic, vocal driven synth pop with a few surprises along the way, while ‘3.2’ showcases the more experimental, ambient, and meditative side of the group. The albums are available as ‘Pay-what-you-like’ with all money raised to be donated to Only Human founder Andy Peggs told us “As with previous OH releases, I remain surprised and delighted at the growing quality of our compilations. We released ‘Volume 2’ last year which was an absolute belter but these collaborations are a real testament to our growing community and we hope you enjoy them, as well as hope to raise a couple of quid for an important cause. A lot of praise has to go Matthew Garnett in this project. He really had a vision and passion, helping deliver two stunning albums that read like a who is who of local electronica…..” Both albums are available here:

Finally Old Palace Chester are offering couples the chance to say “I do” at their exclusive venue with a wedding worth £9000 up for grabs. For details and FAQs visit their website, entry closes on the 14th September.

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