Market Hall Hosts Lifestyle Festival May 20 and 21

Shrewsbury’s award-winning Market Hall is staging a celebration of food, music, art and craftsmanship in a Lifestyle Festival on May 20 and 21.

Visitors will get the chance to learn new art and craft skills, take part in cookery lessons and sweet-making, meet some of Shrewsbury’s well known artists and enjoy a celebration evening with live music and feasting.

Highlights of the festival, which is part of this month’s UK-wide annual Love Your Local Market, campaign, include a celebration evening on Saturday May 21 when the indoor market will stay open late until 10.30pm for an evening of food, fun and live music.

Many of the market’s artists and craftspeople are offering workshops and demonstrations and there are opportunities to meet some of Shrewsbury’s celebrated artists.

Nationally successful artist Linda Edwards, known for her illustrations for Usborne Publishing children’s books and her Sunny Side Art print collection, will be at Thoughts boutique, from noon to 2pm, on both days of the festival.

Well known ripped collage artist Lyn Evans, whose work includes a collage of the House of Commons on display at the Prime Minister’s official country residence Chequers, will be at Vellus Artisan throughout Saturday and Meg Hawkins, known for her country-inspired paintings and illustrations, will be at Meg Hawkins Illustrations from noon to 2pm on Saturday.

The Shropshire Visual Art Network Gallery will be staging demonstrations by various artists throughout the festival. Visitors can also learn or brush up on techniques with the painter Rosie Read Fleming, at her market hall studio, and see mixed media artist Pat Jones at work in her studio, Beyond The Purple Door.

Craftswoman Heidi Davis will be creating needle-felted sculpture at Vellus Artisan and Brigitta Shuker, of Studio Yi, will be demonstrating felting techniques and exhibiting her work. Artisan jeweller Godfrey Gardner will be creating new designs in his studio.

Visitors can see a medieval walking spinning wheel and a modern spinning wheel in action as well as wool craft demonstrations at Ewe & Ply.

Ewe & Ply is running workshops. ‘Holey Darnation’, at 3pm both days of the festival, will show people how to restore and revive their beloved old holey clothes (free admission). There will be a woolly ‘Sock Club special’ at 3.30pm Friday May 20 (also free) and a ‘Fizzy Pop and Wool Fiddling class’, 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Saturday May 21 (£3 per person).

Shrewsbury Mayor Councillor Ioan Jones will officially kick off festivities at 10am on Friday.

Moli Tea House is running cookery classes on both days of the festival, from 10am to 11.30am, for people wanting to learn how to make authentic Chinese dumplings. Once they’ve made their dumplings, participants will get to enjoy them with dipping sauce and China tea (£15 per person). Email [email protected] to book.

Real China tea lovers can also enjoy a tea-tasting at 4.30pm on Saturday, sampling the tea house’s new season green teas from the mountains of Sichuan and connoisseur and rare teas (£5 per person). Booking is also required.

On Saturday youngsters will get the opportunity to learn how to make chocolate lollipops at a drop-in workshop run by Toot Sweets from 11am to 2pm.

The market’s artisan food stalls and butchers will be serving tasters of their own specialties and The Market Buffet café is laying on its famous full afternoon tea of sandwiches, cake and a scone with tea or coffee, from 2pm to 4pm, on Saturday (£6 per person).

On Saturday evening restaurants, including Café AleOli, Mayuree’s House of Yum, The Bird’s Nest Café and Moli Tea House, will serve special festival menus and award-winning chocolatier Julia Wenlock, of Toot Sweets, is staging a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party-themed chocolate dessert and cocktail bar with bistro seating.

Moli Tea House is teaming up with Tanners Wines for a tasting menu of traditional Chinese dumplings, served 6pm to 7pm, accompanied by perfectly matched fine wines. Email [email protected] for reservations.

Music will be provided by The Paprika Blues Band, who have taken Shropshire by storm since they formed early last year, and DJ and music producer DJ Buzzword, aka Josh Arrowsmith. The Paprika Blues Band will be on stage from 8pm to 8.45pm and 9.15pm to 10pm and DJ Buzzword at other times in between.

From 5pm to 7pm Urban Bikes will present a free screening of the classic Danish docu-film ‘A Sunday In Hell’, telling the epic battle between some of the legends of professional cycling at the 1976 Paris-Roubaix cycle race. The film will be screened in the seating area of The Market Buffet, on the gallery floor of the market. Email [email protected] to reserve a seat.

Other musical performances on Saturday include The Mere Singers at 11am and the Shrewsbury School band The Drewids at 1.30pm, both raising funds for Medic Malawi. 

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