Psychedelic orchestra cycles from France to Corfe Castle for concert

A very unusual orchestra is to arrive in Corfe Castle by bike, as part of a musical tour that started in France and will end in Dorset.

The Fantasy Orchestra, which plays an eclectic repertoire including film soundtracks and rock and pop classics, is stopping off at Sandy Hill Arts to perform a free concert from 4 pm to 8 pm on Saturday 13th August 2022.

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Fantasy Orchestra
Fantasy Orchestra

The musicians wear eccentric clothing and play an unususal mix of tunes

“A lot of fun and merriment”

The orchestra, which comprises between 20 and 40 musicians, is based in Bristol and France.

Melissa Viney, chair of trustees at Sandy Hill Arts, said:

“It’s a quite wild, creative and unusual orchestra, with a slightly psychedelic feel.

“They encourage other people to take part, so if people want to come along and join in, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and merriment.”

She says she heard the orchestra was looking for places to play and realised that Sandy Hill Arts would make the perfect venue.

Melissa Viney
Melissa Viney

Melissa Viney, chair of trustees at Sandy Hill Arts

“World peace one note at a time”

The eccentric musicians like to don colourful and extraordinary costumes and play a kaleidoscopic repertoire from Jimi Hendrix to Radiohead.

Jesse Vernon, who leads the Fantasy Orchestra, said:

“The Fantasy Orchestra is an open-to-all community orchestra and choir based in Bristol, Paris and wherever anyone wants to set one up.

“Every year the keenest cyclists of the various branches come together to holiday on bikes whilst performing each day and spreading the message of ‘World Peace One Note At A Time’.”

Sandy Hill Arts
Sandy Hill Arts

The audience is invited to bring their own setaing for the event

“Get everyone singing, whistling, smiling”

This year the cycling orchestra’s route starts near Bayeux, heads up the Cherbourg peninsula, takes the ferry to Poole, before ‘hanging around the Purbeck Isle’ then heading on to Bridport by way of Portland.

Jesse added:

“The group performs a popular mix of classics by the likes of Bowie, Hendrix, Beatles and the Beach Boys plus some lesser known pieces from horror films and westerns plus niche alt-jazz groups from the 50s.

“It’s all designed to get everyone singing, whistling, smiling and sometimes dancing along.”

The Boilerhouse Gallery
Sandy Hill Arts

The newly formed charity is based around the Boilerhouse Gallery and studios at Sandy Hill

Come on a bike

Sandy Hill Arts is teaming up with the Festival of Europe to present the event. The arts group recently launched as a charity to bring performance, events, education and exhibitions to the existing site, which has numerous artist studios and the Boilerhouse Gallery. 

The concert is free and the venue simply asks people to register an intention to attend. Visitors are urged to bring their own seating or blankets. Resident pop-up café Sprout & Bean will provide refreshments.

Parking is at the National Trust car park or organisers are encouraging people to come on a bike, like the orchestra, or use the train which stops next to the arts centre in Corfe Castle.

Further information

  • Registering an interest to attend the concert is via the Sandy Hill Arts website
  • The orchestra is open to all and anyone wishing to take part (especially if they play a non-six stringed instrument) should get in touch with jesse@fantasyorchestra.org

Watch The Fantasy Orchestra perform

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