THE countdown is on for Tenby Arts Festival, now an established highlight on the county’s cultural calendar.

The week, starting this Saturday (September 21), is jam-packed with music, drama, poetry and a wide range of fascinating talks.

Perhaps the festival’s greatest strength lies in its wealth of music.

In contrast to the classics during the week, the opening and closing nights – both at the De Valence – feature a contrasting variety of sounds.

Saturday night sees the Robbie Williams and Adele Tribute Concert, and the finale performance is by the Goodwick Brass Band, who will be joined by the popular Pembrokeshire ladies choir, Bella Voce.

Rising Stars, the opening Saturday afternoon concert, showcases the winners of the Gregynog International Young Musicians Competition, while on Sunday, Whitland School Choir and Band rubs shoulders with the Trinity Singers (post-grads from Cardiff Opera School).

Oxford jazz combo Chow – featuring Pembrokeshire musician Siriol Jenkins on keyboard – will keep the groove going until late on the Sunday evening at Church House.

On Tuesday, pianist Alexander Ullman – the winner of the 2016 International Franz Liszt Prize – gives a breathtaking recital including works by Haydn, Beethoven, Liszt and Tchaikovsky.

Wednesday sees the exceptionally gifted classical cellist, Steffan Morris, playing with accompanying violinist, Ricky Gore and pianist, Conal Bembridge-Sayers. Described as ‘the master trio of our age’, their programme includes works by Mendelssohn and Schumann.

The festival is delighted this year to have Gillian Clarke, former Welsh National Poet, reading from her own work, while for those with their own poems to share, Poetry Please affords the opportunity to give them a public airing.

The ever-popular Pint Sized Plays will be causing usual hilarity around the pubs, and invites the public’s votes prior to the final later this year.

Also welcomed back to the festival is solo actress/writer Alison Neil, who will be playing Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th century polymath. Her performance, due to popularity, will take place in the larger venue of the De Valence.

Two new venues are added to the festival this year - Tenby Golf Club, and the Harbwr Brewery. The golf club hosts Phil Okwedy and Mickey Price, who make magical stories from a mix of myths, music and traditional folk tales.

The Harbwr Brewery hosts the jazz group, Hot Strings Cafe, who play 20s/30s trad jazz, guaranteed to get the feet tapping.

Also in the venue, what could be more apt than a talk on beer? Award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist, Peter Brown will take his audience on a globe-trotting meander through the nature of the much-loved drink, covering cultural commentary, social history, personal discovery and - most importantly - personal sampling.

The scope of the festival’s afternoon talks ranges far and wide. There’s Susie Brooks on The Ancient Silk Road, and Syria, an Inside View by author and broadcaster Diana Darke who lived in Damascus for many years.

Back in Wales, Josephine Hammond celebrates Dame Adelina Patti in her latest book, Queen of Song, while Father Gildas from Caldey Abbey recounts what happened in Tenby during the Reformation.

Aspiring artists can learn a lot from retired teacher, Graham Hadlow, who returns with his watercolour demonstration, while George Hancock is sure to entice with his talk on The Nude in Art.

For more artistic inspiration, why not follow the Tenby Art Trail listed in the back of the programme?

Look out for the programmes, available in libraries and other outlets across the county.

The box office is now open from 10am-2pm daily (except Sunday) on 07398 362390.

For general enquiries, ring 01834 842523, or visit