LOCAL & LIVE BELONGS TO OUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY
Since our earliest years on the Pantiles bandstand, Local & Live has been embraced by the wonderful people of Tunbridge Wells, and it remains a huge privilege to play a role in bringing the festival back to Calverley Grounds each year.
Now we are a charity with a mission to help more people discover local, grassroots music and to discover their own voices as part of our cultural community. From the artists who play to the many thousands of people who come to cheer them on, Local & Live belongs to us all.
Local & Live founder
Taking place over the August Bank Holiday in Tunbridge Wells’ historic Calverley Grounds, the Local & Live festival is a four-day celebration of the best live music and culture in our brilliantly creative town and beyond.
Over the years, the festival has become widely recognised as an annual highlight in the regional events calendar, often giving grassroots artists their biggest show of the year and sometimes even giving them the exposure that propels them to far greater success.
But Local & Live is about far more than the just the festival – in 2019, Local & Live officially became a charity with a remit to support, encourage and nurture local music and culture. Local & Live events also now take place across Tunbridge Wells and throughout the year at venues including The Assembly Hall, The Trinity Theatre, The Forum and the Royal Oak.
Still led by its founder, Paul Dunton, Local & Live is proud to support local original music and the artists who create it.
The Festival SitE
Once hosted on the historic Pantiles, the Local & Live festival grew to the point where a new, much larger home was needed. That home is Calverley Grounds, one of the grandest outdoor spaces in the heart of Tunbridge Wells.
A natural amphitheatre, the park is the perfect home for our main stage plus two large bars, a host of local food and drink vendors and the many thousands of visitors who join us every August Bank Holiday.
Best of all, there’s still room to grow. As Local & Live returns to Calverley Grounds in 2023, expect the biggest and best edition of the festival to date.
After the final note rings out on the main stage in Calverley Grounds, Local & Live moves to one of the most prestigious grassroots music venues in the UK – the Tunbridge Wells Forum.
Louder than bombs and hotter than Elon Musk with a flamethrower, The Forum is a beloved national institution.
Make sure you beat the crowds to get there before it fills to capacity… and be prepared to sweat.
Today, Local & Live has found a wonderful home in Calverley Grounds, but it began on Tunbridge Wells’ historic Pantiles.
Having promoted a number of successful acoustic shows at the Grey Lady Music Lounge, close friends Paul Dunton and Ollie Nichols hatched a plan to bring a day of live performances to the Pantiles bandstand – a special, one-off event to celebrate the anniversary of the most historic part of Tunbridge Wells.
But the event was such a success that it birthed a phenomenon. In the years that followed, Local & Live rapidly became a beloved fixture on the Tunbridge Wells calendar. For three days each August Bank Holiday weekend, the Pantiles was filled to bursting with thousands of music fans, while many of the artists who played became local – and sometimes national – celebrities.
What started on the bandstand soon spread to a second stage at the other end of the Pantiles, while the official fringe festival expanded into numerous venues across the town. Meanwhile, for the lucky few, the Sunday night Local & Live aftershow party became the stuff of legends… not least because of the infamous ‘Dunty Rap”.
Eventually, the festival simply outgrew the Pantiles, but for those who were there, it’s still impossible to walk past the old bandstand without feeling just a little bit nostalgic.