Saturday 30 November, 12–6pm | Abbey Ruins, Chestnut Walk, The Blade and town

Thrills, spills, sparkles and fun in a magical setting – that’s the mighty Christmas Extravaganza on Saturday, November 30.

Events will run from 12 to 6pm, and your host will be radio star Michelle Babs Jordan from 3pm.

There will be events that run throughout the Abbey area including Chestnut Walk.

Chestnut Walk’s food and drink stalls will include Eatgenbu, Maken Malaysia and The Grumpy Goat boat.

From 12 to 6pm –

NOW A WALKING TOUR! Storytelling Cruise, in collaboration with Thames River Cruises.

Due to rainy weather we’re no longer travelling along the River Kennet by boat. You can still join Andrew Allen on a gentle 40-minute walk from the Abbey Ruins and along the Kennet to Kennet Side. Please note: there are steps along the route. Fun for adults and children alike! 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

Celestial Sound Cloud by Pif Paf along Chestnut Walk, from 12-6

A beautiful digital sound and light installation hung from the trees or structures to create a space where audience discover a galaxy of voice and illumination.

When the audience move beneath eye sensors hidden in the cloud, they will activate one part of a vocal harmony and a special light moment. Audience can trigger up to 5 movement sensors interacting with the cloud and dancing to play it like an instrument.

The sound is artist Eleanor Hooper’s voice. Each sensor/light/audio unit emits a single tone or melody that can be sustained or played like a rhythm by the audience – depending on how they wish to move. When all 5 notes are activated it will make a chord or a melody. There is a cycle of chords to stimulate different moods and atmospheres.

In the Abbey Ruins:

12pm to 6pm – entertainment on the main stage in the run up to the FIREWORKS!

12pm – Limpopo Groove
Limpopo Groove play upbeat dance music based on the traditional rhythms and melodies of Zimbabwe. The band have a warm positive energy and a single objective – to make you dance!

1pm – Avenue
Avenue are a contemporary a capella group based in Twyford. Originally the creative vision of Cat Hignell, the group is made up of 9 talented singers, brought together through their love of music, who quickly became a close knit family. They perform songs like you’ve never heard them before!

2pm – Craig Sutton (formerly Flamenco Thief)
Craig Sutton, previously known as The Flamenco Thief, is an English guitarist whose phenomenal rise within the DIY music scene has seen him become one of the busiest touring artists in the country.

Specialising in fast rhythmic guitar playing Craig has earned a reputation for mesmerising live performances in which he uses a Spanish acoustic guitar with the Boss RC loop pedal to blend modern rhythms with time-honoured Flamenco techniques.

After seven years in the making C.A.Sutton has arrived with his second album featuring the full live band, which is now available for festival bookings as well as the solo project.

3pm – Dat Brass

Hailing from the streets of London and raised by its punk-jazz underbelly, Dat Brass are a high octane, ten-piece brass outfit who have been kicking off parties and festivals across the UK.

With an anthemic blend of horns, lyrical verse, pounding percussion and razor sharp scratch sounds, Dat Brass have single handedly changed the face of big band music as we know it. Bringing big-room originals and supercharged samples, this energetic hip-hop outfit manage to keep every performance fresh with lashings of improvisation and leg-breaking drops.

Thanks to their sheer talent and onstage presence, Dat Brass have built a big reputation for themselves as one of the loudest get-downs around. In 2019, they released their latest EP, Scratch Dat, an unmissable amalgamation of red hot brass, thumping beats and wicked rhymes.

4pm – Ma Bessie

Building on her passion for the Empress of the Blues, Julia Titus started to perform as Ma Bessie in mid-2015 to share the music of Bessie Smith and her contemporaries with a new generation of listeners.

Mixing Julia’s rich, warm vocal sound with a dynamic group of musicians that look as well as sound the part, Ma Bessie combines classic blues and jazz tunes from the inter-war years with a selection of original songs and hand-picked covers from the last 50 years of popular music. Whether you’re looking for a duo or trio for an intimate club gig or a full five-piece band for a large festival stage, Ma Bessie has something for you.

The Ma Bessie repertoire includes classics such as ‘Careless Love’, ‘Nobody Knows When You’re Down And Out’ and, of course, ‘Gimme A Pig Foot (And A Bottle Of Beer)’. The band can also add additional songs in order to give you the tailor-made performance your event deserves.

With sell-out performances across the Thames Valley and a growing reputation for their authentic sound, Ma Bessie can help to add some style, class and excitement to any event, club or festival.

5pm – Schools’ Choir

Children and young people from schools across Reading are joining together to welcome the festive season and lead up to the firework display. The featured schools are St Mary and All Saints CE Primary School, South Lake Primary School and All Saints Junior School, together with sixth formers from The Bulmershe School.

Conducted by Sarah Sharp, a leading local musical director, they will be singing a selection of songs from the seasonal favourite ‘Love Actually’ film.

5.30pm – Fireworks set to music off the top of the Blade!

Don’t miss this fizzing, dazzling finale to the day as the town lights up in spectacular style.

Meanwhile, during the day, acts will entertain in Broad Street by the new, real Christmas tree.

12.30-1.30 –Izzy Thomas

Uk artist Izzy Thomas flaunts a fresh sound of alt pop/rock, blended by powerhouse blues vocals, with a fusion of hip hop beats.
Her debut single “Trouble (Pull That Trigger)” has just been released, being premiered by the official Billboard, and taking the music world by storm with its fresh, empowering sound.

2-3pm Jen Merchent

Jen has always been involved with music, singing and performing arts throughout her life. She studied for a degree in Creative and Performing Arts at The University of Portsmouth, graduating in 2010 and has gone on to gig professionally ever since.

Whilst Jen has a very varied music taste, her real passion for singing is jazz/ swing and soul/Motown and this is what she performs most of in her sets (along with ‘doo wop’, rock n roll and classic and contemporary pop).

She has a real love for vintage and retro styles but can also perform modern songs too. For the festive season, Jen has plenty of Christmas songs, it’s her favourite time of the year!

3.30-4.30pm – Terry Franks

Terry Franks is a professional singer and piano player with a wealth of experience as an events and wedding singer. He is one of the UK’s finest and most versatile vocalists.

Terry performs with piano and/or professional backing tracks and is in high demand throughout the UK. Terry has recently performed alongside Take That and Lulu for their arena tour and has also performed at Twickenham stadium for England rugby internationals. Open Mic UK referred to Terry as the English Michael Bublé.