The initial line-up for the LLAMA festival has been announced for this year (see the link below). For those of you not in the know, this is not a gathering of eccentric farmers, but an annual event organised by the Lynton and Lynmouth Arts and Music Association. It divides its performances between the two towns. Residents might take issue, but Lynton and Lynmouth are really one town on a split level. This is necessitated by the spectacular rocky cliffs of the North Devon coastline. Fortunately, there is a water-powered cliff railway to haul you between the two sites. The evocative sounding (and it doesn't disappoint) Valley of the Rocks, with its hardy herds of semi-wild goats, is a short but spectacular walk away if you're staying the weekend. It certainly inspired Rick Tomlinson of Voice of the Seven Woods (not playing this year) who included a track named after it on his debut album.
Music tends to take place in the meadow by the sea in Lynmouth during the day (can it really be as idyllic as it sounds, you ask? - Yes it can) before retiring above to the streets of Lynton, which are closed off to all traffic, in the evening. Here, a stage is set up outside one of the two town centre pubs, the staff of which proceed to have the most maniacally busy nights of their lives.
Events also take place in the small cinema, which the resourceful townsfolk converted from an old church. It is undoubtedly the most charming cinema in Devon. When did you last get offered a mug of tea and a piece of home-made cake in your local megamultiplex? There is also a nice little community second-hand bookshop where I picked up a book on Max Ernst and a Kim Stanley Robinson novel.
This year promises the return of Badly Drawn Boy, David Holmes, regular fixture Andy Votel and, for those of you missed their triumphant Hidden Cinema appearance (eg me) Sam and the Plants.
Oh, and did I mention - this paradisical weekend is utterly and astonishingly FREE!
So prepare your finest hog roast, Mr Butcher, set the weather controls for blue skies and feel the first soft breaths of summer waft your way.