Dorset’s longest running community music festival, Grooves on the Green is back this year with the biggest name ever to top its bill.

Gary Stringer, who toured the world with West Country rock band Reef and wrote the band’s stone soul anthem ‘Place Your Hands’, will play the main stage on Ashley Cross Green on Sunday afternoon accompanied by highly rated Devon singer songwriter Amy Newton.

“I can’t wait to be back in Ashley Cross – we played a mad and memorable show at Le Bateau a few years ago so a sunny Sunday afternoon slot seems like the perfect way to return,” says Gary, who now pursues a solo career alongside vocal duties in the reformed line up of Reef.

The two-day, family-friendly Grooves on the Green gathering features live music on two stages with plenty other attractions including local food and drink, silent disco, free Kidzone for under 5s, inflatables, clothing, balloon modelling and craft stalls.

“Grooves is a brilliant day out for all the family – music fans, bands, mums and dads, grandparents, little kids, everyone has been asking about this year’s dates, I’ve a feeling it’s going to be better than ever,” says event organiser Jan Crump. “When the festival started back in 2000 Ashley Cross was very quiet so all the businesses were invited to take part and we’ve worked really hard ever since to get the support of local people and look what’s happened to Ashley Cross in the last few years – it’s a lively, buzzy place that everyone loves coming to for a good time.”

The music line up also boasts the fabulous Baker Brothers five-piece funk collective who enjoy a huge following in Japan and continental Europe and are using this rare local appearance to road test their new album High Rez. They’re joined on Sunday by the Guns of Navarne, the ska offshoot of local cowpunk institution Pronghorn, the manic ukuleles of the Mother Ukers and entertainer extraordinaire Chris Payn.

Inveterate party starters BOMO Swing headline Saturday’s bill, which also features Dorset’s very own laid back entertainer Paul Kinvig, the alt-country flavours of DD Allen and the party-starting talents of The Royal T’s. Over on the second stage a wealth of local acoustic talent will be playing its trade including the highly promising Lee Rasdall-Dove, Phil Dewhurst and the inimitable Si Genaro, whose two appearances on The Voice are still being talked about.

“Once again the support from local businesses has been amazing,” adds Jan. “They help bring the whole thing together – people like Max De Kment from property agents Saxe Coburg – without their efforts Grooves on the Green just wouldn’t be the same.”

New for this year is the Groove Garden hosted by Saxe Coburg with comfy seating, private bathroom facilities and its own gin bar.

As in previous years £1 from every ticket sold will be donated to Dorset disability charity, Diverse Abilities Plus, which has received more than £15,000 over the last four years from its association with Grooves on the Green.

Grooves on the Green runs from 11am until 7pm each day and a limited number of early bird adult tickets are available now for just £5, with early bird weekend tickets on sale online and from Le Bateau, Ashley Cross, price £10 to include a free drink before 1pm. Tickets for the Groove Garden at £12 in advance to include festival entrance.

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