I love summertime in Cambridge. The May Balls and graduation ceremonies are done now and as the students leave for the summer, the rhythm of the city seems to change. There’s plenty going on, as you will see from this listing which I’ll update as the month unfurls.
1 – 14th Strawberries and Screen. Live screening of BBC coverage from Wimbledon on a giant LED screen between One The Square and The Tamburlaine Hotel. 100 chairs available. Bring your own picnic or buy from food vans (mainly available at lunchtimes). http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/lovecambridge
3rd 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Afro Tema, a danceable mix of Senegalese salsa, furious mbalax, afro-rock and some serious roots reggae style music. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
6 – 7th 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
6th 2 – 4pm Family First Saturday. Activities and art-making on the theme of “caring for our museum”. Free, drop in event. Fitzwilliam Museum. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
6th 7.30pm Charity Concert supporting Cambridge Summit on Homelessness. Mawson Road Community Orchestra with classical pieces, a cappella from “Sound Scribblers” and traditional music from Greece, Russia, Romania, Macedonia, Scotland and Ireland plus an Auction of Promises. Tickets on the door. St Paul’s Church, Hills Road. http://www.mrco-cambridge.org.uk
8th onwards Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. Productions performed in College gardens, in full period costume and with live Elizabethan music. http://www.cambridgeshakespeare.com Read more about last year’s Cambridge Shakespeare Festival here
10th 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Martin Kemp’s Organised Chaos. Swing and jazz standards from 1930s to present. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
13 – 14th 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
13 – 21st Cambridge Veg Fest. A city-wide celebration of local and seasonal vegetables, bringing people together to grow, cook, eat and enjoy delicious veg. http://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org
13 – 27th Cambridge Summer Music Festival. Live classical music, focusing this year on music by women composers and music by – and inspired by – J S Bach. www.cambridgesummermusic.com
13th 4.30pm (child friendly) and 7.30pm Music for a summer’s evening. Fairhaven Singers. Strawberries and sparkling wine (included in ticket price) will be served on the banks of the Cam during the interval of the evening performance. Queens’ College Chapel. http://www.fairhavensingers.org.uk
14th 11am and 2pm Science on Sundays: Stop and smell the … pollination! Free, informal 30 minute drop in plant science talk. Botanic Garden. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
15 – 17th 10am – 5pm Visitor Centre Open Days and Launch of Museum on a Bike. David Parr House, 184 Gwydir Street. Facebook: @davidparrhouse Read more about David Parr House here
17th 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Truly Medley Deeply. A hybrid of live band, DJ and jukebox producing a huge sound from Motown classics to stadium rock. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
20 – 21st 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
21st 9am – 2pm Mill Road Summer Car Boot Sale. Gwydir Street Car Park.
24th 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Noga Ritter. Singer-songwriter and band performing Afro grooves and jazz. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
27 – 28th 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
31st 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Singer-pianist Ruth Applin with the Josh Kemp Quartet playing classic jazz, blues and bossa nova. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
I’ve made another podcast! In this episode, I chat to some of the people who are at the forefront of the eco living and zero waste movements in Cambridge and who have lots of ideas to help us tread a little more lightly on this planet. Just search for New in Cambridge on Spotify or your favourite podcast platform.
The podcast chats are necessarily quite brief so to find out more, take a look at my guests’ websites:
Eco Living Festival Cambridge returns to Lion Yard Shopping Centre on 6 July with a pop up Eco Lifestyle Advice Centre where there’ll be talks, workshops and masterclasses aimed at helping us make simple, practical choices and changes to create a lower impact on the planet and to achieve a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Festival Founder, Caroline-Shaheera Asante, spent her early childhood at her grandparents’ pineapple plantation in Guyana, growing up just naturally living a sustainable and zero waste lifestyle. Post university in Canada, Caroline built a TV and radio career at the BBC but a trip to the Caribbean for a family reunion in 2014 was to change her path.
Stunned by the evidence of climate change in action, by the coastal erosion, the destruction of mangrove forests and the amount of plastic debris on the beaches, Caroline returned home and took an MSc in Sustainability and Environmental Science at Anglia Ruskin University here in Cambridge. Caroline started to work on the idea of creating an Eco Living Festival so when David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 natural history series, screened in 2017, brought the conversation about plastic pollution to the fore and spurred a zero waste movement around the world, she went ahead with the first Festival in September last year. The success of this inaugural event has led to Lion Yard Shopping Centre once again providing retail space for the pop up and to the involvement of new supporters, including Anglian Water.
This year’s Eco Living Festival theme is “How to Achieve a Low-Impact or Zero Waste Lifestyle @Home – Bathroom and Kitchen Eco-Hack.” Eco beauty workshops include making your own fresh cleansers and kids’ bath bombs with Lush and there’ll be talks on simple product swaps you can make to prevent environmental pollution. See how crisp packets, sweet wrappers and garden compost bags can be turned into Eco Bricks and learn vintage zero waste kitchen skills as you make food wrap, cleaning products and other household essentials the way our grandparents used to. All the events are free, some are drop-in and some need pre-registration.
In what promises to be a very eye catching display on the upper atrium of Lion Yard Shopping Centre, eco fashion designer Linda Thomas will create the Ocean Waste Dresses Installation featuring four dresses made from waste found in the sea and along the shoreline, including surf bodyboards and old “ghost” fishing nets.
To read more about Eco Living Festival Cambridge and to make bookings, take a look at the website.
Cambridge Museum of Technology is set to reopen to the public on 7 June, following a major redevelopment funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. I went to meet Morgan Bell, Assistant Curator, for a peek behind the scenes ahead of opening day.
It’s not hard to find the Museum … just look for the 53 metre tall chimney that dominates the skyline at Riverside. This chimney and the Victorian buildings that cluster round it formed a sewage pumping station where the city’s household rubbish was burned to create steam to fuel engines that pumped the city’s sewage out to a treatment plant in Milton. Prior to this, sewage had discharged into the River Cam, causing cholera outbreaks, so this wonderful Victorian engineering transformed public health in Cambridge. The pumping station was decommissioned in 1968, at which point a group of local campaigners saved it from demolition and turned the buildings into a museum.
Post this renovation, you’ll find improved visitor facilities and disabled access and a wealth of new displays, including an interactive model of the pumping station (complete with smell effect!). The historic boiler has been restored so that the Hathorn Davey pumping engines can run again later this year, once all testing of the steam lines is complete.
A new building houses an exhibition about Pye and Cambridge Instrument Company, with artefacts and touch screens telling the stories of how they grew to make so many innovative products and gained an international reputation for excellence and innovation. This space is also for school groups and events plus it will be available to hire to community groups.
The Engineer’s House, just next door to the Museum, is being transformed by partner organisation Othersyde into an indoor cafe space, a bar and escape rooms. There’ll be a summer bar and food kiosk outside in the garden or you can bring a picnic to eat on the lawn at this beautiful riverside spot. Lawn games like skittles and outdoor board games will be available and there’s plenty of space for kids to run around.
Phase 1 of the development will be about 90% complete for this pilot reopening on 7 June so if you go to the Museum before 30 September, you’ll get a ticket for a free return visit in the next twelve months. All the finishing touches will be in place for the grand reopening on 1 October.
Restoration work has been supported by corporate volunteers over recent months. The day I visited, a team from Worldpay was hard at work cleaning the Boiler House and a team from Anglian Water has been busy painting. And there are plenty of regular volunteer roles available. At the moment, the Museum is looking particularly for Welcome Volunteers and Education Volunteers. You’ll find details of these opportunities plus opening times and ticket prices on the website.
Well, Summer has arrived here in Cambridge and there’s loads happening in June …. outdoor celebrations as well as indoor activities, many of them free, for those rainy days (hopefully there won’t be too many of those!), lots of music, something for foodies and scientists, in fact something for everybody. I’ll update this listing as the month unfolds so please do get in touch through my Contact page if you know of an event that I can list here.
1st 10am – 1pm Family Saturdays – Messy Mud. Get messy with mud, make mud pies and have a go at mud painting. Free event. Botanic Garden. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
8 – 9th 11am – 5pm Open Garden at 49 New Square, CB1. Free entry and refreshments. All proceeds to Red Balloon Learner Centres.
8th 10.30am – 1.30pm Flower Crown Workshop. Make your own flower crown. Includes refreshments, an out-of-hours visit to the House and all materials. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
18th 7.30pm – 10pm Music: Na-Mara. Folk duo Na-Mara tell the story of the “Basque Children” through words and music. Mill Road History Society. Old School Hall, St Barnabas Church, Mill Road. http://www.cambridgefolkclub.co.uk
19th 7.30pm True Stories Told Live. NCI Club, Holland Street. FB: @cambridgetruestories Read more about True Stories Told Live here
20 – 23rd Wimpole History Festival. A weekend of history and heritage for the whole family with talks, debates, book signings, performances, historical walking tours, workshops, activities and events. Wimpole Estate. http://www.wimpolehistoryfestival.com
23rd 6 – 7pm In Good Company. Music for a summer evening, with traditional and classical pieces. The Lucy Cavendish Singers. Sidney Sussex College Chapel. All proceeds support the work of Cambridge City Foodbank. http://www.lucycavendishsingers.org.uk Read more about Cambridge City Foodbank here