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Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera performs exclusively at Curious Arts Festival

- as part of a music line up that includes Razorlight front men, rising star George The Poet and John Illsley from Dire Straits 

Phil Manzanera, lead guitarist with Roxy Music will join a stellar line up of authors, musicians, poets and comedians at the Curious Arts Festival. Playing as part of “The Great Brain Robbery” - a night of bands DJs and performance artists curated by Gus Robertson of Razorlight, Phil will join Johnny Borrell of Razorlight amongst others.  Back for a second year in the stunning grounds of Pylewell Park one of the most beautiful, privately owned, houses in England, The Curious Arts Festival runs form 17th - 19th July.

The exclusive festival appearance will be a chance to see the lead guitarist of the pioneering art rock band who stopped touring in 2011 play live and follows the release of his new solo album ‘The Sound of Blue’ on 23rd March.

The music line up announced today also includes:

  • Gus Robertson of Razorlight who curates “The Great Brain Robbery” on Friday 17th July – a night that has a history of putting on surprise performances from established acts alongside up & coming talent.  Gus will be joined by confirmed artists Phil Manzanera of Roxy MusicJohnny Borrell of Razorlight with his solo project Zazou, and heartthrob RSC actor and musician Orlando Seale (films include Sleepy Hollow and Kenneth Brannagh’s Hamlet) who will be playing with his 10-strong, string heavy baroque pop collective The Swell. Artists who have played at previous Great Brain Robbery nights include Ronnie Wood, Mick Jones and Florence Welch.
  • The Saturday night features a rare chance to see John Illsley of Dire Straits perform new material and an hour long set of classic Dire Straits hits with his band. Saturday also features up and coming artist, Shaefri, and Hampshire band, Flyte.
  • Sunday nights sees hotly tipped rapper George the Poet take the stage and bring his unique sparkle of street-savvy verse to the New Forest. George Mpanga who has worked with Paolo Nutini and appeared on BBC’s Later with Jools Holland tops the BBC Sound of 2015 list which, compiled by DJs, critics and broadcasters, showcases emerging artists for the coming 12 months and releases his debut island and first poetry collection this year.

The Curious Arts Festival is an inimitably immersive festival experience described by the Evening Standard last year as “charmingly reckless” and offers an interactive programme of events for all ages includes an Alice in Wonderland tea party, night bat walks, tea leaf reading, fortune telling, garden walks, life drawing and breathing lessons.

  • For bookworms, a series of dazzling tented events are scheduled with some of Britain’s most remarkable contemporary writers:

o   David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY and US

o   Jojo Moyes, author of ME BEFORE YOU and THE ONE PLUS ONE

o   Bestselling author ofBEFORE I GO TO SLEEP S.J. Watson talks about his new novel SECOND LIFE.

o   Other star authors confirmed include Lynn BarberDamian BarrAnita AnandEsther Freud, Polly Samson, Matt Haig, Sarah Hall, Tom Holland and Patrick Gale.

  • A children’s tent will host dawn to dusk art activities and guest author readings with Piers Torday (winner of the 2014 Guardian children’s fiction award), John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury.  Nicky Singer (author of acclaimed Featherboy) will be running a writing workshop for 9-12 year olds and the popular Bedtime Stories with author Paul Blezard will be back at 7pm nightly.
  • BBC Radio 4 Front Row presenter Kirsty Lang will be hosting a ‘News and Views’ Breakfast Club for early birds with author Misha Glenny and Simon Nixon.
  • Curious Opera on Thursday 16th July debuts this year with a curious performance of Puccini’s Tosca. An exclusive but not elitist experience guests will be seated at a dining tables in Pylewell Park’s magnificent grounds for an ‘up close’ opera experience and can book deluxe dining packages in advance or bring their own picnics. Curious Opera tickets are available at £70 from
  • Garden lovers can enjoy this rare opportunity to explore the beautiful hidden gardens of Pylewell Park, which, spanning 100 acres, include traditionally laid out parkland with unrivalled panoramic views over the Solent along the South coast and a 15 acre lake. These surround the grandeur of the house, which dates back over 350 years with formal gardens established in the early 18th century and later pleasure grounds developed by an ancestor of the current family and who introduced Asian and Australasian plant collections, a lily pond and bridges brought back from Japan. 
  • pop up fine dining restaurant and a wide variety gourmet food to go featuring local Hampshire and Sussex produce will be on offer along with a beautifully dressed cocktail bar from Fever Tree as well as a gorgeous tea room.


Set to illuminate and stimulate inquisitive minds and with no ‘backstage’ no other festival brings together such an erudite mix of artists and makes them so accessible. 

Weekend adult tickets priced at £120 can be bought at Family weekend tickets for 2 adults and up to 4 children are £300. Children under 13 go free. Dogs welcome. 

All festival visitors are more than welcome to pitch a tent and stay on the estate during the festival – this is included in the weekend ticket price. For those who want that added touch of luxury, fabulous Glamping options ensure enjoyment of the festival in comfort and style.

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