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Programme announced for Westonbirt’s signature bank holiday event

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Storytelling at Treefest

With just two weeks to go before Treefest, Westonbirt’s signature summer event, the full programme has today been announced.

The event which attracts around 20,000 visitors takes place across the August bank holiday weekend, 24-26 August 2013, and celebrates nature, trees, woodcraft and family fun with activities, exhibitors and live music.

Treefest is now in its 19th year, having been developed from Westonbirt’s Festival of the Tree and will this year continue to honour its heritage as well as introduce new entertainment and displays to the packed three day schedule.

Big carving will again take centre stage as this year’s sculptors create unique pieces inspired by fairytales. Woodworking will be celebrated with a larger Working Woodlands exhibitor area and opportunities for visitors to try traditional woodcraft skills for themselves.

The main arena will see displays by the Black Mountains Falconry team and for the first time this year will feature performances by the Welsh Axemen who will give skilled demonstrations with chainsaws and two man cross saws.

Also new to the event are the team from Bartlett Tree Experts who will be giving exciting tree climbing and aerial rescue displays throughout the weekend as well as offering tree care advice.

Children will have their imaginations ignited with tales from storyteller Michael Loader inspired by hand-picked objects in his jamboree stor-ee bag and the Hand-to-Mouth puppet theatre. For those looking for adrenaline-fuelled excitement there’s Tree Frog tree climbing and a zip wire.

Local live music will entertain the crowds across the weekend until 8pm on Saturday and Sunday and 5pm on Monday.

Headline acts include multi-award winning folk-fusion outfit, The Roving Crows; singer Nicky Swann who achieved critical acclaim winning Best Acoustic Act at the South West Music Awards, and the Swindon-based blues, roots and rock band, Hip Route after their successful performance at Glastonbury this year.

Over 100 exhibitors will offer something for all from wood carved furniture to handmade crafts and gifts. This year the Food Hall has been curated in conjunction with the team behind the Love Food Festival offering an extensive range of local food from suppliers including The Wiltshire Chilli Farm, Vowley Farm, The Cherry Tree, Rib Street, Seven Hills Artisan Chocolates, Luso Deli and Fudge Heaven.

Simon Hough, Recreation Manager at Westonbirt Arboretum said: “We’re really excited about this year’s event. We usually expect to see around 20,000 visitors over the three days of the festival so it’s a great opportunity to connect people with trees in a way that is fun for families.

“We’re particularly excited to be offering families the chance to create some of their own ‘Wooden Wonders’ with our learning team in the extended Working Woodlands area, as well as watching some talented carvers work on a grand scale to create storytelling chairs.”

Both day and weekend tickets are available. Advance adult day tickets (£10) and concession (£8) tickets save up to 20 per cent on gate prices. Fantastic value weekend tickets are just £24 per person. Members of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum and children go free and great group rates are also available.

Camping for Treefest weekend takes place in a newly refurbished Camping and Caravanning Club accredited site at The Holford Arms in the nearby village of Knockdown.

Just 1.5 miles from the arboretum, the campsite offers modern facilities and a family friendly, country pub atmosphere. A free shuttle bus will operate every morning and evening for campers wishing to travel to Treefest without taking their cars.

The full programme and further information is available from

For more information please contact Dani Marlborough at Spirit Public Relations on 0117 944 1415 or e-mail


1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple Collection, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are over 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 28,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford.  Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Visit

2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  Further information can be found at

3. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985. The charity’s objects are to support the National Arboretum in promoting public understanding of the crucial role of trees to the environment and society. It is funded by membership receipts from over 28,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a registered charity no. 293190. More information at  

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