Tickets to go on sale as picnic concerts saved

THE much-loved Audley End Picnic Concerts will go ahead as usual this summer after a new promoter stepped in to save the day.

A star-studded line-up including Jools Holland, Rick Astley and Midge Ure will take to the stage to entertain thousands of music fans – and tickets go on sale tomorrow at 9am.

Last month the Reporter exclusively revealed that the legendary picnic concerts were under threat after the previous organiser IMG and English Heritage, which owns the house, failed to agree a new contract.

But a new independent concert producer, Portal Events, has agreed to run concerts at Audley End House and Gardens over three consecutive nights from August 3-5.

Lynsey Coombs, English Heritage’s manager at Audley End House, said: “We are delighted that we can go ahead with this year’s picnic concerts. It’s such a popular event in a beautiful setting and a wonderful way to spend a British summer’s evening.”

The weekend festivities will begin with Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, who make a triumphant return with Gilson Lavis, special guest Chris Difford from Squeeze and guest vocalists Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall.

Then on Saturday, hit 80s artists Rick Astley, Jimmy Somerville, Midge Ure, Nick Kershaw, T’pau, Toyah, Whang Chung and Dr and the Medics will wow the Audley End crowd into a party frenzy.

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The concert series will culminate in the Last Night of the Audley End Proms, compered by Welsh singer Aled Jones and starring Natasha Marsh and vocal quartet Amore, with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by Tim Redmond.

There will also be a Spitfire display and spectacular fireworks.

A spokesman for Portal Events said: “When we heard that there might be a slight question mark over the Audley End Picnic Concerts, we were very surprised and thought that we must do what we can to make this happen.”

Jools Holland, who last played at Audley End in 2010, added: “I’m so thrilled that the Audley End picnic concerts are going ahead this year. It’s an amazing sight to see 10,000 people dance in the dramatic setting of Audley End.”

To book tickets for the concerts, call 0844 995 0995 or visit the Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre. For more information, visit