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IF: Milton Keynes International Festival announces early programme highlights

Date Posted:14/03/2018

IF2018A don’t-miss date on summer’s cultural calendar, IF: Milton Keynes International Festival returns for ten days from 20 to 29 July with a treasure trove of outdoor and large-scale performance, live music, new works and special commissions, stand-up comedy, family activities and free events.

Produced by The Stables every two years, the International Festival transforms Milton Keynes’ city centre and green spaces creating unforgettable experiences for residents and visitors alike. This year the Festival will have two main locations in the city centre: Festival Central in Campbell Park - with The Spiegeltent, Acoustic Stage, installations, bars and food, pop-ups, and free and family events - and a Circus Hub in Middleton Hall, centre:mk to mark 250 years of circus. The Stables in Wavendon and Milton Keynes Theatre will both be hosting events for the very first time - though people will see the venues used in unusual ways.

Among this year’s highlights are the first English performances of Wind Resistance, a solo show created and performed by multi-award-winning singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, at The Stables from 26 to 28 July. Wind Resistance is a spellbinding alchemy of song and story and a meditation on the moorland and wildlife of Polwart’s Midlothian home. A runaway hit at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2016, it was nominated for Best New Play, Best Production, Best Director and was Winner of Best Music & Sound at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2017. Karine has also been nominated as Folk Singer of the Year and Best Album for A Pocket of Wind Resistance in the BBC2 Folk Awards 2018, to be announced in April.

The exotic Spiegeltent has been a hit since its first outing in 2010 and will again serve up the best in music, comedy, kids’ events and cabaret throughout the 10 days of the Festival.

IF2018Highlights include The Puppini Sisters and their brilliantly reworking of modern pop songs as vintage swing (20 July); Australian circus stars Casus and their explosive show Driftwood with a dazzling display of choreography, acrobatics, trapeze and aerial stunts (20-22 July); a one-off gig from the exciting eclectic funk-soul band Brothers Strut (21 July); wit and storytelling from comedy favourites Mark Watson (22 July) and Tom Allen (27 July); Bedfordshire 6-piece CC Smugglers who count Seasick Steve amongst their fans (24 July); pioneering folk powerhouse Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, nominated for Best Group and Best Album in the BBC2 Folk Awards 2018 (25 July); Newton Faulkner with a breath-taking, rule-breaking, genre-hopping collection of songs (26 July); The Gilded Lili Review’s fabulous mix of comedy, magic, burlesque and music (27 & 28 July); the best in Tex Mex border music from Los Pacaminos featuring one of Britain’s best-loved vocalists Paul Young (28 July); and charismatic calling, music and dancing from the Celilidh Liberation Front (29 July).

Family Focus events will run throughout the Festival with Spiegeltent highlights including Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall from 28 July and Comedy Club 4 Kids presenting two shows, one with Simple Politics called How Does This Politics Thing Work Then?, both on 29 July.

Full programme details are to be announced. More information at