The 2024 Mitcheldean Festival gets truly underway this week on Friday  (March 15) with a Spring concert in the parish church and is the second of five free musical events on offer this year. 

At 6.30pm the three-hour concert is opened by Silurian, a popular and upbeat Monmouthshire duo. 

They are followed by the engaging and soulful harmonies of Humbugs, and then local singer-songwriters Double Measure. 

Luke Philbrick and The Solid Gone Skiffle Invasion kick off the second half with dynamic and innovative roots-rock and The Ghost Writers will perform an eclectic mix of original and contemporary songs. 

To end the evening the festival welcomes back Mice in a Matchbox whose foot-stomping arrangements draw upon Atlantic sailing adventures. 

With refreshments available throughout, the event concludes at 9.30pm and entry is free to all. 

Later this year another pre-festival Summer Concert will take place at The Lamb on Saturday, June 15, with the main Festival taking place as usual during the third weekend in July, with concerts in the church on Friday July 19 and Saturday, July 20. 

Although entries are officially closed and most slots for these events have been allocated there is still space for one or two more acts. 

Entries are also open for the inaugural songwriting competition in memory of the Forest’s own Dick Brice.

The competition is for new, unpublished songs in any genre to be sung acoustically by an individual or group.

Dick Brice was a much-loved poet and song-writer who composed the “Forest Anthem” Land Between Two Rivers.

He wrote songs and poetry about the people, landscape and culture of the Forest and his work could be comic or more serious.

Officially, the theme can be on any topic but for this first year, the organisers are looking for subjects that were close to Dick’s heart.

They include: beer, community, the Forest of Dean, poetry and sailing.

Entries for shortlisting will be based on how the song tells a story, carries a message or shares an emotion or a memory, it musicality and the use of English.

The deadline for entries is Friday, April 26 and they must include a sound or video recording of a performance and a printed copy of the lyrics along with contact details.

They can be e-mailed to [email protected] or delivered by hand to Mitcheldean Community Library, marked Dick Brice Songwriting.

The songs will be shortlisted by a panel in the week following the deadline with performances in Mitcheldean on Thursday, May 16.

The winner will be announced on Friday, May 24 and there will be an opportunity to hear the song at a performance on Friday, July 18 in Mitcheldean parish church when the Dick Brice Cup will also be presented.

For further details and a copy of the application forms to enter the songwriting competition or to register as a performer, visit the Mitcheldean Festival website at