Blues, Rhythm & Rock kick off Autumn in Bury St Edmunds

The Apex autumn season of events opens with a bang with the Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival on 1 September; starting at 2pm, you can seeConnor Selby Band, Mojo Preachers, Southbound, Lee Ainley’s Blues Storm, Steve Nimmo Trio, Zal Cleminson’s Sin Dogs and headliners, Nine Below Zero.

If you’re a fan of blues and rock or alternative music, you might also enjoy Renegade Twelve (5 Oct), Hayseed Dixie (25 Oct), The Blues Band (9 Nov), The Selecter (15 Nov) and Hugh Cornwell singing his Stranglers hits (28 Nov).

Early September sees visits from three leading lights of contemporary folk music; one of the very finest fingerstyle guitarists in the world Martin Simpson (7 Sept); winners of ‘Best Group’ at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards The Furrow Collective (10 Sept); and “Britain’s most inventive folk singer’ (Songlines) Sam Lee (15 Sept).

Later in the year, enjoyhypnotic Celtic-dance music from Peatbog Faeries (24 Oct); fiery Orcadian fiddles from Fara (30 Oct); and dazzling musicianship from the Gigspanner Big Band (27 Nov).

Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri’s Acoustic Journey on 28 September includes beautiful cover songs alongside Kiki’s own hits ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ and ‘I Got The Music In Me’. There’s Hammond-led funky jazz from The James Taylor Quartet (27 Sept) and soul group Shalamar (22 Oct) will ‘Make You Feel Good’, with a ‘Night to Remember’. There’s also visits by Moody Blues front-man Justin Hayward (16 Sept); lovable Cockney rock ‘n’ roller Joe Brown (18 Sept); Gilbert O’Sullivan (15 Oct); Georgie Fame (2 Nov); and Graham Parker (26 Nov).

Award winning tribute show, Whitney – Queen of the Night returns on 12 September,and Rock & Roll variety production That’ll Be The Day returns on 19 September. Go Now’s Tribute to The Moody Blues returns on 29 September, You Win Again celebrates the music of the Bee Gees (2 Oct); Nicole Henry brings The Music of Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul (9 Oct) and Elio Pace & David Brown (Billy Joel’s guitarist 1978-1991) perform the Billy Joel Songbook Albums Show (21 Oct).

Step into Harlem’s hottest nightspot circa 1920 in Swinging at the Cotton Club on 25 September, with exhilarating dance routines by the fabulous Lindy Hop Dance Company and swinging jazz from The Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra. The BBC Big Band and their guest vocalist Atila will celebrate the centenary of the birth of Nat ‘King’ Cole on 3 November.

Alan Johnson, the former postman-turned-home secretary, will lift the lid on his remarkable journey on 23 September, while on 26 September, one of the UK’s best-loved authors,Michael Morpurgo will be interviewed by comedian Katy Brand.

MasterChef judge and writer Jay Rayner investigates the concept of the last supper on 29 October; Neil Oliver tells The Story of The British Isles in 100 Places on 31 October and there will be an opportunity to quiz Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder on 6 November.

Winner of America’s Got Talent, Paul Zerdin brings his dysfunctional puppet family on 30 September. You can hear “acerbic perspective and unapologetic delivery of less politically correct home truths” (The List) from Sindhu Vee on 7 October. There’s also stand-up comedy from Andy Parsons (10 Oct) and John Robins (16 Oct) and hilarious anecdotes, sketches and music from Alistair McGowan, the Reverend Richard Coles and their special guests in Wireless Wise (12 Oct).

The National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company and National Festival Orchestra will present two of the nation’s favourite comic operas: Pirates of Penzance on 13 September and The Mikado on 14 September.

Miloš: The Voice of the Guitar (3 Oct) showcases the technical and expressive qualities of the classical guitar. Brodsky Quartet (23 Oct) will be joined by cellist Laura van der Heijden for works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Schubert. Born without his right hand, Nicholas McCarthy (4 Nov)performs dynamic left handed transcriptions of works by Scriabin, Strauss, Bach and Rachmaninov. Viktoria Mullova joins the Academy of Ancient Music (18 Nov) for a concert that sets the sublime against the joyful in music by Haydn, JS and CPE Bach.

Come Dance With Me on 6 October is a warm-hearted and poignant family saga based on the true story of two battling sisters and featuring show-stopping Strictly Ballroom dances and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers-style routines, expertly choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Richard Marcel.

Bigger than ever, but just as glitzy and glamorous, The Ladyboys of Bangkok ‘Greatest Showgirls Tour’ (8 Oct) features 16 of the world’s most beautiful and stunning showgirls – who just happen to be men!

The Budapest Café Orchestra (17 Oct) play traditional folk and gypsy flavoured music from across the Balkans and Russia – evoking vivid images of fiddle maestros, Hungarian café life and gypsy campfires in a hugely entertaining display of skilful musicianship.

Effervescent string trio, Hot Club of Cowtown (11 Nov)blend traditional Western American swing with European hot jazz influences, writing their own material and reinterpreting everything from hoedowns to American songbook standards in their own original style. 

AKA Trio (12 Nov) comprises three world-renowned virtuosos: Antonio Forcione, Seckou Keita and Adriano Adewale in a joyful, uplifting and life-affirming musical collaboration.

Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers (17 Nov) bring a brand new show of sharp synchronisation, dramatic choreography and sumptuous soundscapes, all wrapped up in a breath-taking display of high energy and powerful rhythms on huge taiko drums.

See www.theapex.co.uk or ring 01284 758 000 for more information or to book tickets.