SCARECROWS have taken over Downley - but only to promote the village’s inaugural jam-packed entertainment festival which kicks off tomorrow.

Dozens of creative schoolchildren, community groups and Downley business leaders rustled up a scarecrow to represent them and promote their performance or event during the Up! Downley Village Festival.

The daily performances and talks link the village’s three main events - starting on Saturday with Downley Day, the ongoing Art Show and Concert on the Common on July 12 - to create a three-week entertainment extravaganza.

Pat Wheedon, who is heading up the festival, said the success of website and the Village News magazine provided the organising committee with the funds to launch the festival.

He said: “The Art Show we launched last year has gone down very well do the festival just felt like the next step, enabling us to link the three big events.

“The idea is to simply get people into the village and to make each group aware of each other’s work and what they do in Downley, which can only benefit the village in the long run.”

Performances range from a Katy Kartwheel Circus School workshop on June 24 and a beer festival at the Bricklayers Arms on June 27, to a First World War presentation by historian Mike Dewey on July 2 and The Downley School’s take on the classic Romeo and Juliet.

It’s not just the locals showcasing their talents as professional performers, including two Edinburgh Fringe acts, will be looking to wow the crowds.

Musical comedians Jonny and the Baptists, children’s comics Ben and Tom and popular magicians Morgan and West from TV’s Penn and Teller will also perform at the festival, alongside the popular Moonrakers acoustic folk band.

Mr Wheedon said: “I was up at the Fringe Festival and saw Jonny and the Baptists – they were very good and when I got in touch to ask them if they would perform, they said yes, which is great.

“We’ve got something for everyone. We’ve even got a Downley Has Talent event which is shaping up quite nicely with a range of acts from the RGS Jazz Band, to a reggae band and a student studying stand up comedy.”

And what about the various scarecrows dotted around the village?

“We are planning on doing a competition with them and, if the reaction to the festival is good, we would love the event and the scarecrows to become a regular feature in the Downley calendar – they look fantastic.”

Downley Village Festival gets underway with a family disco on The Commonside at 7pm tonight ahead of Downley Day from 1pm on Saturday.

For a full programme of events visit