WESTONBIRT Arboretum has announced the first concert in its popular Forest Live series for 2018, with Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott taking to the stage with special guest Billy Bragg.

Paul Heaton, one of the UK’s most successful songwriters with some 10 million album sales under his belt, first came to public attention in the early 80s as front man of Hull-based indie poppers The Housemartins best known for their third single Happy Hour and their No 1 acapella Isley Bros cover Caravan of Love.

In 1988 Heaton formed The Beautiful South, who released 10 hugely successful albums.

Jacqui Abbott was lead vocalist in The Beautiful South from 1994 to 2000 and she sang many of their signature hits including Rotterdam, Perfect 10, Don’t Marry Her and Dream A Little Dream.

Their latest album ‘Crooked Calypso’ charted at no 2 making it their highest release as a duo to date following on from two further top five albums in ‘What Have We Become’ and ‘Wisdom, Laughter and Lines’.

The Forest Live gigs will see them play material from their albums as a duo and songs from The Beautiful South and the Housemartins.

Forest Live is a major live music series, managed by the Forestry Commission.

Held every year in forest locations across the country, over 1.5 million people have attended a gig in the programme’s 17-year history.

  •  Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott with special guest Billy Bragg are at Westonbirt Arboretum on Friday, June 15.
  • Tickets £33.50 (plus £3.85 booking fee) available from 9am on Friday, October 20 from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400, or buy online at forestry.gov.uk/music