Colors: Red Color

Running from 20 October until 4 November stargazers in and around the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark will have almost 30 star-themed events and tourist experiences to enjoy. The programme covers the autumn half-term holidays for schools in Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland and will offer family-friendly events to enjoy the dark skies of the North Pennines AONB. There will also be lots events aimed at aspiring astronomers as well as visitors with a general interest in the night sky and stargazing.

Shane Harris, Responsible Tourism Lead for the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “The North Pennines AONB is the darkest mainland AONB, and has some of the darkest skies in England. Away from the intense light pollution in many areas, there are amazing opportunities to see the wonders of the night sky.

“The bigger and better festival this year will mean that more people will have the chance to come along to one of the events, and there are opportunities for visitors to the area to come and stay to enjoy the amazing experience of our truly dark skies.”

Last year over 800 people attended Stargazing Festival events, including over 250 at the family Skywatch at Killhope Lead Mining Museum. This popular Skywatch event will run again in 2018 alongside numerous new additions and experiences to the programme.

Michelle Gorman, Managing Director at Visitor County Durham: “We're thrilled, once again to be working in partnership with the North Pennines AONB Partnership on the second North Pennines Stargazing Festival. Following on from the huge success of last year's event, we're hopeful that the exciting programme of star-studded events and experiences will attract visitors of all ages to the area to appreciate the magnificence of the North Pennines dark skies”.

The 2018 North Pennines Stargazing Festival is once again being organised by the North Pennines AONB Partnership. It is being funded by Durham County Council, Northumberland County Council and Visit County Durham.

Members of the Severn Trent Choir were on stage with Gareth Malone in Nottingham for the first time in four years for a special concert.

Having been triumphant in the first season of BBC’s The Choir: Sing While You Work, the ensemble from Severn Trent has sung with Malone a number of times since but last night’s concert, also featuring The Swingles, was the first time since 2014. Lisa Keen, one of the choir members who featured in the original season, said: “It was really quite emotional being back with Gareth – it all started there and it was just lovely to see him again and to be back on stage.

“We’ve seen him a few times over the years, and it’s always great to sing with him again, especially for those of us who are original members of the choir.

“What was particularly lovely was that we were called back onto stage for the encore and everyone started chanting ‘Severn Trent, Severn Trent’. Absolutely brilliant night.”

The concert was at the Theatre Royal Nottingham, with the Severn Trent Choir joining Gareth on stage to sing Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror, Avril Lavigne’s Keep Holding On, and David Bowie’s Heroes.

Over the years, the choir has sung at a variety of special events, including the Rugby Union World Cup (at the Australia v Uruguay and South Africa v Samoa games), the Godiva Festival and the Drop of Life Concert for WaterAid at the Symphony Hall.

The choir’s next concert will be at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire.

One of the UK’s most prolific trombonists has been announced as the new Head of Brass at Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. 

Originally from Bristol, Amos Miller started playing the trombone aged nine and went on to study at Oxford University – during which time he studied with Denis Wick – and the Royal Academy of Music, learning with Ian Bousfield.

Having gained the DipRAM, the Royal Academy’s highest award for performance, he completed the Jazz Course at the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada under artists such as Jim Hall and Kenny Wheeler.

On joining Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as Head of Brass, Amos Miller said:

“I am completely delighted to be joining the wonderful team at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, especially at such an exciting time in its history.

“The resources of talent in both the staff and student cohort are world-leading combine these with the astonishing new building and it is an unmissable opportunity. Birmingham is finding its rightful place at the heart of the UK's cultural life, and it's a real thrill to be a part of it. I can't wait to get started!”

Amos is a founder member of internationally acclaimed brass quintet Onyx Brass, and has combined the post of Principal Trombone with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia (the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet) with a busy freelance career, in which he has worked as guest Principal Trombone with most of the UK’s leading orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, English National Opera, Royal Opera House Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin’s, the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

He has played for over 100 film soundtracks, including ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, ‘Wonderwoman’, ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Terminator Salvation’, ‘Inception’, ‘Paddington’, ‘Mission: Impossible’ and ‘Superman’.

Amos has performed under esteemed conductors such as Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Kurt Masur, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Colin Davis, Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo, Pierre Boulez, Gustavo Dudamel, Charles Mackerras and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Principal, Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, commented: 

“We are delighted to welcome Amos Miller to Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Amos is renowned throughout the music profession as one of the world’s top brass players and it will be a privilege to work alongside such a master.”

The Brass Department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire offers tuition in orchestral and brass band instruments, and its team of tutors have the expertise to address all areas of performance and technique by helping students to diversify their skills in both areas, as well as jazz and early music.

Alongside various band, orchestral and chamber music activities, the Brass Department offers a full schedule of masterclasses and brass classes covering everything from practice technique to orchestral repertoire.

The Department also offers bespoke tuition at postgraduate level, for student brass quintets who wish to consolidate their ensemble skills while developing their individual playing abilities.

Amos Miller will take up his position as Head of Brass at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in September 2018.

In a statement about the show, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre said:

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is extremely sorry to have to announce that the UK tour of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE including its date at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre has been cancelled.

This has been caused by the company producing the show experiencing financial difficulties and they are no longer able to continue with the tour.

The production company said,

“We would like to thank the brilliant cast of the show, who sang and danced their hearts out to bring Thoroughly Modern Millie to audiences all over the country.  Sadly, and regretfully, the show is now cancelled.  We extremely sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment this cancellation will cause everyone who was planning on seeing the show."

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre will contact customers as soon as possible to arrange refunds.

This summer, the city of London Bollywood's eternal dream girl Hema Malini unveiled  the poster of her elder daughter Esha Deol Takhtani's first short feature film Cakewalk. Directed by debutant Ram Kamal Mukherjee and Abhra Chakraborty, the film depicts life of a chef Shilpa Sen, played by Esha Deol Takhtani. Produced by Dinesh Gupta, Shailendra Kumar and Aritra Das, the film will be released worldwide in August. Incidentally this will be India's first short film.

Hema Malini will be unveiled the life size poster of Esha at Montcalm Hotel in London on 31st May, in presence of media and delegates. The event has been organized by media magnet Nari Hira and Magna Publishing from India.

The poster has been exclusively shot by fashion photographer Suman Nandi, while Esha has been styled by Kareen Punjwani. The poster has been designed by Ekta Bhattacharya.

This 22 minute Hindi short marks Esha's return to Bollywood after marriage and motherhood. Produced under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures and SS1 Entertainments, the film also starts television heartthrob Tarun Malhotra and noted Bengali actress Anindita Bose. This movie also marks Bollywood debut of Siddharth Chatterjee, who is known for his role Topse in Satyajit Ray's Feluda - thriller series.

Cakewalk has been written by Ram Kamal Mukherjee and Chandrodoy Pal, while the music has been composed by Shailendra Sayanti. The title track of the movie has been rendered by Rupali Jagga and Shailendra Kumar. Cinematography by Pravatendu Mondol, the background has been scored by Prajna Dutta.

India's first Power Brand Film Journalist and biographer of Hema Malini's authorised biography Beyond the Dream Girl, Ram Kamal Mukherjee makes his debut as filmmaker in Cakewalk. Ram Kamal received many prestigious awards as veteran Bollywood journalist and as an author in India. He worked with Pritish Nandy Communication for almost 12 Hindi feature film as Vice President. Cakewalk has been shot entirely in Kolkata.

The film deals with an issue that most women across the globe will relate, mostly women from Asian countries. "I always wanted to work with Esha because she is a powerhouse of talent, and I would give entire credit to her for bestowing faith in me and my team," says director Ram Kamal Mukherjee.

Producer Aritra Das from Assorted Motion Pictures says, "It's definitely an honour for me, Shailendra ji and Dinesh ji, to get this privilege to showcase the first look of our maiden venture to people in London. Hema ji is a legend and we have grown up watching her films. It's definitely a dream come true for all of us to have 'Dream Girl' amongst us."

Two years ago Rick Astley returned with an album that surprised everyone, even himself.  His number 1 album ‘50’ sold over 300,000 copies and was one of the biggest selling albums of 2016. What was even more incredible was that Rick wrote, produced and played every instrument on that comeback disc.

And guess what?  He’s only gone and done it again!  His new album, ‘Beautiful Life’, is released July 20th on BMG with an iconic cover shot by Rankin.  Each of the twelve tracks are written, produced and played by Rick.  Highlights are many and include the chic flavoured title track, the evocative ‘Rise Up’, the insanely catchy ‘Try’ and the warm childhood memories of ‘The Good Old Days’.

After selling over 100,000 tickets on his 2017 tour, Rick and his band are playing the UK, joined by very special guest Gabrielle on 15 November 2018, Genting Arena

A golden era of music television has been faithfully recreated at Birmingham City University, as part of a major new research project looking at jazz broadcasting in the 1960s.

As well as encompassing archival research and interviews with former production staff, the study involved transforming the University’s main TV studio to simulate how a jazz programme was made. This included scrutinising the technical decisions faced by television crews and improvising musicians at each stage of producing such a broadcast.

Following months of planning, on Tuesday 22 May, Birmingham City University’s TV Studio A was transformed to evoke the aesthetics of a 1960s BBC jazz programme. Led by director Mark Kershaw, and featuring a crew of former BBC employees and current Birmingham City University students, the team utilised cutting edge facilities in the University’s £62 million Parkside Building to precisely record the role of improvisation in the relationship between a television crew, their equipment and a contemporary working jazz group.

In a loving homage to the legendary BBC jazz concert show, ‘Jazz 625’ – so titled because the newly launched BBC Two was broadcasting on 625-UHF lines (the HD of the time) – the Birmingham City University production has been named ‘Jazz 1080’, reflecting the technological leap in broadcasting since the 1960s. In order to realise this modern incarnation, the researchers and crew worked from original documentation sourced from the BBC Written Archive in Caversham.

Presented by Birmingham rapper Juice Aleem, the 50-minute programme featured performances by rising stars from the West Midlands jazz scene. Xhosa Cole (tenor saxophone), Lee Griffiths (alto saxophone), James Owston (double bass), Euan Palmer (drums) and Eyituoyo Awala (piano) – known as The Xhosa Cole Quintet – treated the studio audience to classic works by renowned artists such as Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie.

The ambitious project came to fruition as a result of Dr Nicolas Pillai, based in the institution’s Birmingham School of Media, who secured a prestigious Early Career Research Leadership Fellowship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

He said the funding, worth nearly £170,000, is allowing him to look ahead to the future of music television, as well as considering its past:

“Producing ‘Jazz 1080’ has changed the way I think about television. As an academic, it’s tempting to stick with what you know – documents in the archive – but this project is teaching me that you can only really understand the creative decisions of the past through reliving them. Production meetings with our ex-BBC crew have convinced me that what ends up on screen depends upon the dynamic of those working behind the camera.

“Nothing prepares you for the intensity of the production gallery during a live shoot, as your director guides the cameras around musicians in complex choreography. When you’re recording this way, as live in the manner of ‘Jazz 625’, the crew are improvising with as much dexterity and imagination as the musicians.”

As well as giving Dr Pillai insight into the production processes of television, the project has offered Birmingham City University students the opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals who instruct at the BBC Wood Norton training academy.

Across two days, undergraduates from Birmingham School of Media were taught the disciplines of working on a multi-camera set and the intricacies of sound recording, studio lighting and camera operation.

Understanding production techniques of the past will give these young media professionals an edge as they embark upon their careers, Dr Pillai suggested:

“For me, the most enjoyable aspect of the shoot was seeing our students leap into the unknown with such enthusiasm and energy. We asked a lot of them and they delivered with great professionalism. Our finished programme is a testament to their potential, as well as being a record of an exciting moment in the Birmingham jazz scene, personified by The Xhosa Cole Quintet.

“Ultimately, ‘Jazz 1080’ is a tribute to a way of working within light entertainment at the BBC. My hope is that our programme will turn the spotlight back onto a wonderful period of music television, when visionary producers like Terry Henebery changed the way that this country thought about jazz.”

‘Jazz 1080’ is one output of the larger AHRC-funded research project – ‘Jazz on BBC-TV 1960-1969’ – and is being facilitated by the Jazz Research cluster at Birmingham City University, which is led by Professors Nicholas Gebhardt and Tony Whyton, as well as Dr Nicolas Pillai.

Although only five years old, the cluster boasts more than 40 members, including 10 jazz researchers from across Birmingham School of Media and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, eight doctoral students and leaders of the regional jazz community, as well as additional academic partners at University of Warwick, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and University of Music and the Performing Arts Graz (Austria).

Town Hall Symphony Hall and The Phoenix Newspaper are pleased to announce their media partnership for the upcoming Take 6 concert on July 20th at Birmingham’s iconic Town Hall.

Ten time Grammy award winners Take 6 will make their welcome return to Birmingham when they perform at Birmingham Town Hall on 20 July for their only full UK show of 2018.

Heralded by Quincy Jones as the “baddest vocal cats on the planet!”, Take 6 is the quintessential a cappella group and model for vocal genius. Audiences can look forward to hearing six virtuosic voices united in crystal clear harmony, against a backdrop of syncopated rhythms, innovative arrangements, and funky grooves that bubble into an intoxicating brew of gospel, jazz, R&B, and pop.

With praise from such luminaries as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald and Whitney Houston, the multi-platinum selling sextet has toured across the globe, collaborated across genres, and is recognized as the pre-eminent a cappella group in the world.

Speaking about the partnership Daniel Riley, Assistant Editor of The Phoenix Newspaper said; "The Phoenix Newspaper is honoured to be Media Partners with THSH for Take 6's iconic return to Birmingham. We are the UK's only positive non-biased publication that is a staunch supporter of inclusion.

“Our ethos is to connect communities and inspire a new generation and we pride ourselves as being the only publication that is accepted in all churches and other faith-led establishments. “Our aim and objective is to showcase all that is good from all communities for a greater understanding of those around us, in particular the 53 nations that make up the Commonwealth, breaking down barriers where there should be none.

“This is why we know that The Phoenix Newspaper is the perfect vehicle for this event with our links and experience within the Entertainment industry through our sister publication Street Cred Magazine who has dealt with the likes of Destiny's Child, Quincy Jones, Puff Daddy, Teddy Riley, Whitney Houston, Lauren Hill, David Bowie and Iman to name a few, over the 21 years of its existence.

“Take 6 are a phenomenal force with 10 Grammy Awards under their belts, and we are looking forward to them bringing their amazing brand of a cappella, honed over 30+ years in the business to Birmingham.

“With legends like Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder not just as collaborators, but as friends and even mentors, this is one group that you would be crazy to miss out on. Make sure you get your tickets NOW for this fantastic evening!"

Since its inception 7 years ago, The Phoenix Newspaper has been championing unity and the connecting of communities, giving people a live and let live attitude with a non-biased approach to organisations, individuals and places.

The paper has a firm and steadfast commitment to promoting positive, objective and informative news and is dedicated to tackling the real issues that affect the multi-cultural communities in Birmingham, West Midlands, and nationwide.

Director of Sales and Marketing at Town Hall Symphony Hall, Richard Loftus said; “My first interaction with this national multicultural newspaper was at their seventh anniversary, where The Phoenix’s ability to bring people together was evident by the audience alone.

“I hope that with The Phoenix Newspaper’s support, this concert from Take 6 will do just that – bring people across Birmingham together through a cappella gospel music, so they can spread good news through song.”

Take 6 will perform at Town Hall on Friday 20 July at 7:30pm. Tickets are priced £28, including £3 ticket commission.

Tickets can be purchased via the THSH website, ,  by calling 0121 780 3333 or at Symphony Hall box office.

Following on from last year’s Standing Tall project surrounding Jack And The Beanstalk, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre announce an exciting new educational project for this year’s pantomime Sleeping BeautyDREAM BIG. The project is in partnership with Promise Dreams.

Last year, the Grand Theatre worked with over 400 participants from 20 community groups to create a Giant, which stood in the foyer and across two floors of the Grand Theatre for the duration of the pantomime.

This year the theatre has set out to engage with Primary Schools to deliver free creative writing workshops, led by performance poet and comedienne Emma Purshouse. Emma performs nationally and is a published author, writing for both adults and children.

As part of DREAM BIG, Emma will work with 10 primary schools alongside Grand Theatre Creative Learning Co-ordinator James Collins. Participants from each school will be guided by Emma to help write a short bedtime story or poem. All of the completed stories will be curated into a public exhibition at the Lighthouse Media Centre during the pantomime run and a select 30 stories will be published into a book which will be designed and printed by JPL Print & Design Ltd who sponsor the project.

JPL Print & Design Ltd have consistently delivered exceptional print material to SME’s and Bluechip companies for over 20 years. From humble beginnings of 2 staff, they have now grown to a team of 22 and have an impressive state of the art production facility in Halesowen.

Promise Dreams is a national charity that was launched in 2001 with the aim of making a real difference to children who are seriously or terminally ill. Every child has a dream and whatever it may be, the charity aim to make it come true. Thanks to the hard work, passion & enthusiasm of its supporters the charity has raised in excess of £3,000,000 and more than 1,800 very special children have seen their dreams come true.

James Collins said, “I’m delighted to give primary schools the opportunity to work with Emma and develop their writing skills. As a theatre, we aim to connect with the community in as many different ways as possible and this project will not only do that but will spark creativity in a way that is both fun and educational.”

This year marks a century since Parliament passed a law which allowed some women and all men in the UK to vote for the time.

The Representation of the People Act 1918 was the first to include women over 30 who held £5 of property, or who had husbands who did, in the political system.

In doing so, it extended the right to vote to millions of women and to celebrate this milestone the City of Wolverhampton Archives and Wolverhampton Art Gallery have put together an exhibition exploring how the new legislation changed people’s lives and how women in Wolverhampton played a significant part in the fight for their right to vote.

The exhibition features local Suffragette Emma Sproson as well as the movement’s key national leaders including Emmeline Pankhurst and Millicent Fawcett, who both visited Wolverhampton on a number of occasions.

The works on display show two different sides to women in the Victorian era. One depicts them as clean, healthy and well-fed, working in golden fields under a warm sun, and the other gives a more realistic picture of women’s experience of Victorian work, showing how the women fighting for suffrage also campaigned for other benefits including better workers’ rights, improved working conditions and the elimination of child labour.

Alongside photography, visitors will be able to see rare extracts from the diaries of Emma Sproson, which offer a first-hand account of her bravery. She was ridiculed and abused in the street, imprisoned and suffered violence, but never gave up the fight – indeed, she went on to become the first woman elected to Wolverhampton Borough Council in November 1921.

Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “The Suffragettes played a significant role in Wolverhampton’s history and supported the movement for better conditions personally and professionally.

“The exhibition is a celebration and I hope people will take the time to come along and learn about Wolverhampton’s past.”

The Fight for Women’s Equality is at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Lichfield Street, until 4 July. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am–4.30pm and Sunday from 11am–4pm. Admission is free. For more details, please visit

The Italian Job (1969), one of the most iconic British films, will return to the big screen for a very special performance at Birmingham Symphony Hall with a big band and orchestra playing the score live to picture.

Written by Troy Kennedy Martin and directed by Peter Collinson, the Comedy-Caper tells the story of Charlie Croker’s (Michael Caine) plan to steal a shipment of gold by bringing Turin’s traffic to a standstill, financed from prison by exquisitely-presented crime boss Mr Bridger (Noël Coward).

Consistently voted the most popular British film ever made, packed with legendary one-liners (Caine's "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" was voted the greatest one-liner in cinema history by UK film fans in 2003), a car chase that made global superstars out of 2 little Minis and literally a cliff-hanger ending, The Italian Job is ready to delight and excite audiences again nearly 50 years after it was made.

The stunning HD remastered version of the film will be accompanied by a live orchestra for the first time, playing the famous soundtrack by legendary composer and producer Quincy Jones, including the song 'On Days Like These' during the opening sequence, brilliantly funny and jazzy underscore and, of course, the riotous 'The Self-Preservation Society'.

Join 'The Self Preservation Society’ and snap up tickets to the Italian Job Live with Orchestra for a bloomin' great Sunday afternoon film experience with live orchestra.

Following huge public demand, 10,000 extra tickets have been released for Elf - A Christmas Spectacular starring music legend David Essex and Love Actually star Martine McCutcheon. These tickets are on sale now and include all performances at Birmingham’s Genting Arena from 20 -24 December 2018.

Elf has become the fastest selling Christmas show this year and it is still only May! Over 30,000 tickets have been snapped up in the first three weeks of being on sale, prompting show producers to add extra tickets for Birmingham’s Genting Arena alongside the Motorpoint Arenas in Nottingham and Cardiff. Elf is one of the few shows offering discounted tickets for children (up to age 16) with £10 off most price bands.

The gigantic arena show features incredible special effects including a giant sleigh flying across the arena, an indoor snow blizzard, an iceberg journey and an amazing cast of 100 performers including up to 70 children from local Pauline Quirke Academies for each show. The show will be performed across a 70-foot wide stage and a 60-foot long thrust stage, with some scenes taking place around and above the audience. The staging will be enhanced with giant screens, showing both computer graphic backdrops and live action close-ups.

Hitting the road as Buddy the Elf’s father, David Essex said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people getting excited and tickets flying out for this huge tour when we’ve still got over six months to go! I really can’t wait to take to the stage with this brilliant Christmas story.”

Portraying Buddy’s girlfriend Jovie, Martine McCutcheon said: “It’s so exciting seeing extra tickets and shows being added to the Elf tour, Christmas really can’t come soon enough for me!”

The original stage version of the show played to record breaking audiences in 2015/2016 at London’s Dominion Theatre and firmly established this heart-warming tale of Buddy the Elf leaving Santa at the North Pole to seek his real father in New York as a Christmas classic.  This new Christmas Spectacular production will feature a book written by Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers and Hairspray) and an original score of great new songs.

The LATA Media Awards recognise innovation and excellence across the British travel media landscape with a specific focus on Latin America.

Celebrating and rewarding inspiring and creative Latin America stories and photography, the winners of the 15th edition of the LATA Media Awards were selected from over 150 entries by a strong judging panel composed of key figures from the Latin American travel industry.

The 2018 judging panel included Hilary Bradt, founder of Bradt Travel Guides; Baroness Hooper, lawyer and honorary president of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for Latin America; Hugh Thomson, leading author and film-maker; Martin Morales, founder of the restaurant group Ceviche and award-winning Peruvian chef; Colin Stewart, chairman of LATA and the UK and Ireland director at Air Europa; and Andy Skillen, multi-award winning international wildlife photographer and founder of Fauna Vista.

The winners were revealed at an event that took place at the RSA House in London on 22 May, which was attended by key members of the Latin American travel industry, the diplomatic community and some of the UK's most prolific travel writers and photographers.

Winners and runners-up are detailed below:

Best Online Blog Feature of the Year Award 

Winner: Abigail King, 'Pre-Columbian art in Ecuador and the surprising question it asks', Inside the Travel Lab Runner-up: Shafik Meghji, 'Best things to do in Ecuador', Highly commended for photography: Neil Hennessy Vass, 'Central America: A New Revolution',

Best Self-Published Feature of the Year Award

Winner: Anna McNuff, 'Through Patagonia on Wheels', Swoop Runner-up: Jennifer Richt, 'Belize in it: An Example of Ecotourism', Jacada Travel

Best Trade Publication Feature of the Year Award

Winner: Ben Lerwill, 'Andes to Amazon', Selling Travel Runner-up: Meera Dattani, 'Belize the Hype'. Travel Weekly

Best Consumer Online Feature of the Year Award 

Winner: Tamara Hinson, 'Quito: Why Ecuador's capital is known for its evolving music scene', Independent Online Runner-up: Sarah Gilbert, 'Exploring Che Guevara's Bolivian shrine 50 years after his death', Independent Online

Best Photography of the Year Award

Winner: Jonathan Gregson, 'Lago Pehoe, Torres Del Paine', Lonely Planet Runner-up: Alex Robinson, 'Mystic River', Wanderlust

Best Consumer Newspaper Feature of the Year Award

Winner: Mike Unwin, 'Living at one with the Creatures of the Canopy', The Sunday Telegraph Runner-up: Andrew Purvis, 'My David Attenborough moment in the jungle', The Sunday Telegraph

Consumer Magazine Feature of the Year Award

Winner: Adrian Phillips, 'A wild rolling beast of a route', National Geographic Traveller Runner-up: Chris Moss, 'Shape Shifter', Conde Nast Traveller

Diljit Dosanjh, one of the leading artists in the Punjabi music industry, has been confirmed as the biggest selling Indian artist to date for a single concert at Arena Birmingham.

The singer kicked off his Con.Fi.Dent.Tial UK tour this evening at the city centre venue, to a sell-out audience of nearly 9,000.  His return to Birmingham comes after a two-year hiatus whilst writing the album.

The show, promoted by UK Ticket Office Ltd, also included the largest stage for an Indian artist to ever be constructed within Arena Birmingham, with a 22-metre stage.

Ben Sharman, Venue Sales Manager, said: “This has been an impressive production, not only in design but also in sales figures.  To be selling out shows like this highlights Diljit Dosanjh’s wide international reach and fan base in the West Midlands, and it’s been a pleasure to open his UK tour.

“Our world class facilities and central location in the heart of the UK makes us a core destination on the touring circuit.  This teamed with the young and culturally diverse population we have in the West Midlands has been a real recipe for success.”

Famous Studios’ Kaka Singh Mohanwalia - UK and European Manager for Diljit Dosanjh added: “We are delighted to confirm that Diljit has the record as the biggest selling Indian artist here in Birmingham.  This is a huge achievement and after selling out his 2016 tour, he has now reached another milestone in his career.”

The Con.Fi.Den.Tial tour brought an outstanding display of Diljit’s finest work, include High-End, Big Scene and Future, and will now continue onto further stops in London and Leeds.

Efteling – the fairytale theme park in the south of Holland – has announced details of this year's Summer Festival, or Negen Pleinen Festijn, taking place every Friday and Saturday in July and August.

Allowing families in the park to make the most of long summer days and warm evenings, Efteling will stay open until 11pm on Summer Festival days, launching 6 July. All attractions are open as usual, with the only difference being that visitors will experience them under fairylights, while special events and live entertainment activities take place in nine of Efteling's nine squares.

The Summer Festival at Efteling features fairy-tale performances, pop-up stalls offering tasty summer delicacies and spectacular live musical entertainment throughout the day and into the evening. During the afternoons, a bandstand with an orchestra will perform at restaurant Het Witte Paard, while visitors can cool down with a fresh smoothie at pop-up street stalls or decorate their own ice cream.  At 6pm, a colourful procession of entertainers takes place, winding through the park and into the nine squares.

During the summer evenings, Efteling's nine squares feature different live entertainment creating a festival-like atmosphere, from a sing-a-long with Efteling residents Jokie & Jet at the Carnaval Festival square to oriental magic shows in Fata Morgana square.

On the Vliegende Hollander square Pientere Pianist will play Efteling melodies and acapella band Zang & Gelukkig will sing well-known hits while guests can enjoy grilled burgers, fish or vegetable skewers from the BBQ.

On the Ton van de Ven square, the legend of Raveleijn comes to life with a sword fighting and Rider Thomas acting as a host.

There will be a proper fiesta vibe at Piraña square with South American performers and stalls selling nachos, and in Herauten square the youngest guests can meet their favourite Fairytale Forest residents. Elsewhere, there will also be opportunities to learn the bows and steps of the Symbolica Court Dance or eat bratwurst at the annual Jürgen Freilich Family Feast.

On other days in July and August, the park stays open until 8pm, allowing visitors plenty of time to discover the wonder of Efteling, relax in the park's beautiful grounds and take an extra ride on their favourite roller coasters, such as the recently renovated Python. With the longer summer days, visitors also have more opportunities to discover the secret rooms in the Palace of Fantasy at Efteling's newest attraction Symbolica celebrating its one-year anniversary in June, wander leisurely through the Fairytale Forest, enjoy more park shows such as Raveleijn or Sprookjesboom, or cool down with an extra ride on the white-water ride Piraña. Watershow Aquanura – the largest of its kind in Europe - is a great way to round off the day against a superb night sky.

After a long day in the park, the Efteling Hotel, Holiday Village Efteling Loonsche Land, with a hotel, holiday houses and themed rooms, and Holiday Village Efteling Bosrijk with luxury holiday homes and apartments, are just a short walk from the park entrance.

The biggest vegan festival in Yorkshire returns to Leeds Town Hall on 16th and 17th June with a wide variety of vegan food, amazing stalls, and great live music and entertainment. This popular bi-annual event includes a feast of mouth wateringly delicious food lined up, over 150 fantastic stalls, world food caterers, exciting cookery demos, inspirational talks, interactive workshops, yoga and children's activities running throughout the day.

The Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival includes a varied and exciting array of plant-based hot and cold dishes, including Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, Greek, Hotdogs, Burgers, Street Food, Raw Food and Gourmet Food! There will also be a huge range of pasties, cakes, chocolates, cookies, doughnuts, sandwiches and salads to take away as well as alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, juices, smoothies, tea and coffee. Plus there are lots of exciting foods and other products not available in the shops.

On top of this, there will be a great selection of non food stalls, selling a wide variety of items including fashion, footwear, jewellery, beauty and skincare products, candles, crafts, clothing, footwear, homeware, gifts and charity merchandise.

And as well as stalls to look round, there will also be plenty of free food samples to try, live music, inspirational talks, live cookery demonstrations, workshops and children's activities.

The Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival celebrates veganism, and educates that veganism is healthy, affordable and fun. It is a 100% volunteer-run event and all proceeds go to animal welfare charities such as Miracle's Mission that helps to rescue, rehabilitate, neuter and re-home stray and vulnerable animals.

Festival Organiser Victoria Bryceson says, “With the vegan lifestyle really starting to go mainstream there's a massive demand for vegan-friendly events. Our festival is set to be a fantastic week-end out whether you're vegetarian, vegan or simply vegan-curious. The idea behind the festival is to educate and inform everyone about the vegan lifestyle and offer support to anybody who would like it.”

Going vegan has transformed Victoria's life; “I've never felt happier and healthier,” she says. She started the festival with the aim of promoting animal welfare and how to live a more ethical and healthy lifestyle. “There will be several animal welfare charity stalls raising awareness of their causes. For anybody who would like to get involved with volunteering this is an ideal place to talk to lots of different charities and gather information, and all the stall holders are happy to talk to people and answer any questions.”

The festival is run in partnership with animal welfare charities including Miracle's Mission. “It's all about trying new things and opening people's eyes to new possibilities,” continues Victoria. “Cutting out meat and dairy from your diet is easier than you might think and many people are increasingly looking for alternatives as they want to live more healthily and ethically. They want to find out more about the new innovative foods and recipes now available and want to do it affordably. Our festival will educate people on how to do all of this. Join us for a fantastic day full of yummy vegan food, ethical shopping, live entertainment and lots of fun!”

And the festival also helps local homeless people, whilst helping reduce food waste at the same time. Stall holders are asked to donate any surplus food at the end of the festival, and a group of volunteers distributes it to homeless people after the event, providing a hot meal as well as cold dishes.