ENJOY a lip-smacking feast of fresh performance art while drinking in the sights and sounds of stunning Alderney.
With its cobbled streets, pastel-hued houses and pristine beaches, Alderney retains all the unspoiled island charm of yesteryear.
But the Island’s 7th Festival of Performing Arts, which is supported by the States of Alderney, the Guernsey Arts Commission, Guernsey Association of Charities, Alderney Shipping and many more local and off island sponsors, showcases some of the most exciting and forward looking new musical talent around.
This year the festival weekend will be celebrating the culture of Cuba with music, art and dancing set in and around the islands fascinating historical buildings.
Highlights include an entire Victorian fortress being turned into Old Town Havana, complete with Bodega mojito bars, Cuban street food, Cuban art exhibition and cobbled street plaza live music stage and salsa dance floor.
The festival is known for its relaxed casual charm but the core professionalism of the performers chosen is always the best in class. Cuban Salsa workshops are being given by international dance master, Raul Lao Garcia, who trained with Alberto Acosta as a teenager in Havana. There is a full live Havana nights salsa and Cuban hog roast with four exceptional bands inclusive of world famous Elaine Correa and La Evolucion, an eight strong Band as head line act and providing irresistible dance music.
Opera also makes a strong Spanish presence with award winning Alexandra Lowe kicking off the festival with at a concert dinner with a Taste of Cuba and four exceptional opera talents from Madrid under the direction of international accompanist, Nigel Foster make the Sunday gala evening a real Hispanic treat. Saturday morning sees the sublime saxophonist Classics to Jazz of Manu Brazo and his Indonesian pianist, Prajna Indrawati. There is even a big Sunday Paella party, so people can come and pull themselves off the islands pretty beaches and dance to a few tunes with plate of valenciano and a refreshingly cool sangria whilst also enjoying art from re known sculptor Anna Gillespie, artist Michael Haynes- Smallbone and local photographer Steve Phelan.
As the festival is all island embracing, there is always a Fringe programme in island bars and restaurants. The inner harbour festival on the bank holiday Monday is now famous for its delicious fresh lobster wraps served up with a medley of bands and the Alderney fishing fleet looking on. Perhaps one of the most unique features is the Mojito Salsa Express. A train ride on the Channel Islands only railway through the islands breathtaking beaches and cliff scenery whilst sipping mojitos and dancing not just to one but two bands on the train. One for each direction!! Only Alderney could pull that one off.
Festival organiser Caroline Kay Mouat said the event offered top class entertainment and the opportunity to discover one of the lesser known Channel Islands.
“The Alderney Performing Arts Festival offers a boutique entertainment experience on a stunning island backdrop – perfect for a long weekend away.”
Alderney Performing Arts Festival is Friday May 24th- Monday, May 27th. More info- www.alderneyperformingartsfestival.com
Just a stone’s throw from the south coast of England lies the treasured island of Alderney. A hidden gem with beautiful beaches, rich heritage, wildlife and scenery waiting to be discovered. Kick back and relax to enjoy the slower pace of life or get out to explore and take in the fresh sea air. However you choose to spend your time in Alderney you’ll soon realise just how easy it is to fall in love with this small island.
Alderney is the closest of all the Channel Islands to the UK, it is in easy reach. The island is just 3½ miles by 1½ miles at its widest point, one of the best ways of seeing this small island is on foot. Alderney boasts over 50 miles of winding lines and country paths covering every part of the island from the main town through to the commons and rugged coastline. On your walks around the island you’ll find fascinating historical sites, including Roman, Napoleonic and German architecture and in some cases all to be found on one site. A visit to the award winning museum is a must to find out more about the many layers of history on Alderney.
The peaceful island provides a perfect environment for stunning wildlife, from huge seabird colonies to hundreds of different wildflowers and moths, some special mammals, and incredible marine habitats. The lanes are exceptionally quiet, with very little traffic beyond the town, and the highest speed limit just 35mph. After night fall take in the clear night sky and enjoy the benefits of no light pollution and Alderney’s unspoilt natural environment.
The island provides a wide range of accommodation, anything from a 4 star beach front hotel to a delightful guest house and self catering accommodation to choose from. To find out more about where to stay visit www.visitalderney.com/stay/accommodation or for package holidays to Alderney go to www.alderneyholidays.com
Add in Alderney's culinary delights with an impressive selection of restaurants serving international cuisine with the best of Alderney's local produce and you'll see why Alderney is the Channel Island’s hidden gem, worth going the extra mile to visit.
There are four flights per day to Alderney from Southampton on Aurigny (www.aurigny.com) and you can connect to Alderney from airports in Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds, Manchester, Norwich and London Gatwick via Guernsey, also with Aurigny. For more travel options visit www.visitalderney.com/stay/travel
Alderney Fact file
- Alderney is the third largest Channel Island, part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and is the closest to France, just 10 miles off Cotentin.
- Just eight square kilometres in size, it is home to around 2,000 residents and the iconic blond hedgehog.
- Around two per cent of the world’s gannet population choose Alderney as their breeding spot of choice every year, on two rocks just off the coast. The Island is also a hit with puffins and seals, who summer on nearby Burhou.
- Alderney’s heritage is arguably the richest in the Channel Islands, and is layered with Roman, Napoleonic and German fortifications. It boasts the UK’s best preserved Roman fortlet – the only standing Roman building in the Channel Islands.
- It also boasts the Channel Islands only working railway. The tracks were originally laid to transport granite from a quarry to the magnificent Victorian Breakwater – now a charming Underground Tube train trundles along the tracks, transporting visitors from Braye to the Island’s iconic striped Lighthouse, also open to visitors.
Discover more on www.visitalderney.com