The street performers of Totnes are as much a part of the town’s character as its castle, shops, and quay, and while musical tastes may differ there’s no denying that a few Totnesian troubadors have gone on to greater things. Below are two popular musicians you may have heard of but may not have known hail from Totnes, and one to watch out for.

Joe from Metronomy

Electronic music group Metronomy was formed by Joseph Mount in Totnes in 1999. In addition to being the lead singer, and playing keyboard and guitar, Joe releases remixes of songs by the likes of Gorillaz and Lady Gaga under the Metronomy name. In 2016 Metronomy released their latest album Summer 08 though it was 2014’s Love Letters that delivered their highest chart position at number 7.

If the name of Metronomy’s first album Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe) seems familiar it was inspired by the message painted onto old cars parked around town.

Ben Howard

Although not born in Totnes, Ben’s musical career did start here – one of his first musical gigs was in the Seven Stars Hotel. Since then Ben has released two critically acclaimed albums, Every Kingdom and I Forgot Where We Were. In addition to his musical achievements which include two BRIT awards and a number one album, Ben also has the honour of appearing on the Totnes £10 note.

Ben’s clearly never forgotten his roots and Ben Howard Keep Your Head Up Video   for 2011’s ‘Keep Your Head Up’ was filmed at Dartington.

Ryan Keen

Busy working on his second album and one to watch out for Ryan Keen was a guitarist and songwriter for other musicians before starting his own career in 2009. You can find Ryan on Ryan Keen Twitter  or listen to Ryan Keen’s latest song ‘Guidance’ here.

With a thriving local music scene in Totnes and the South Hams the next big thing could be attending an open mic night near you, or even busking on the streets. So keep your eyes out and your ears open when you’re walking down the high street.

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Proud2Be celebrates

Proud2Be celebrates after receiving £160,000 from the National Lottery to support LGBTQ+ young people in Devon Social enterprise, Proud2Be, is today celebrating after being awarded £160,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work with LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or questioning+) young people and their families in Devon. The organisation, based in Totnes, will use the money to run even more group and 121 support activities for local LGBTQ+ young people and to provide support sessions for their family members. The news comes exactly 9 years since identical twins Max and Maya Price founded the organisation in their Mum’s spare bedroom, by recording a video, explaining how they are both proud to be part of the LGBTQ+ community. Since then, Proud2Be has established itself as a well-respected social enterprise, facilitating well attended and inclusive peer support groups, the popular Totnes Pride and a fortnightly youth group and a young people’s 121 support service. Proud2Be also delivers interactive workshops to students and awareness training to organisations and schools across the county. This funding will allow Proud2Be to build on the work they currently do, working with over 200 people a year at their regular groups and a further 3500 through their awareness-raising work in local schools and youth groups. The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will see the expansion of the current Totnes-based youth group and 121 support service and the launch of an additional 2 weekly LGBTQ+ youth groups in Devon. At the same time, the group will be able to press on with plans to launch a monthly peer support group for the families of LGBTQ+ children and young people, who will be able to come together for mutual support.  Max and Maya Price, founders of Proud2Be, say: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to press on with our plans to broaden the range of opportunities available to local LGBTQ+ young people and their family members. This is important because it helps both the young people and their family members to build relationships with others facing similar challenges and to create their own supportive circles of friends and peers.” Charlie, a volunteer at Proud2Be, says: “Before attending the Proud2Be youth group, I felt like I had to apologise for being trans. Since joining the group, I have met so many amazing people. It’s given me a fantastic support system. For me, it was really important to have this support at a time when I couldn’t find it elsewhere. I have also become involved in other things- like volunteering at Pride and giving young LGBTQ+ people a voice and a visible presence.” To find out more please visit: www.proud2be.org.uk

Our visit to Totnes by Conversant Traveller

It had been a day of dappled light and dragonflies. A day of strolling beside sun drenched vineyards, lazy meandering rivers and fragrant herb gardens alive with butterflies. As Hubbie and I sipped chilled glasses of sparkling wine and tucked into tranches of local cheese, we could be forgiven for thinking we were in the south of France, rather than southern England. We’d been exploring Devon, a county famous for it’s mysterious moors, sandy beaches, and national parks, yet it was a medieval market town that had our full attention today. It turns out there are plenty of fun things to do in Totnes, without a moor, beach or park in sight! Totnes has a colourful and legendary history, packed full of mythical kings, lords and rebels, and merchants and soldiers. Today it’s known more for its cultural scene, independent local shops and a rather unique cosmopolitan countryside vibe. The town sits on the picturesque River Dart, the sort of tranquil pastoral scene where you’d expect to encounter characters from Wind in the Willows. There are lots of things to do in Totnes, from castles and museums to steam trains and boat trips, but we had our eye on something a little different. Vineyards, ghosts and lettuce! Saxon in origin, Totnes has been known for both craft and industry, and was once an important and prosperous centre for trade. Although it is still a thriving market town, the Totnes of today is more popular with the artistic community and attracts visitors from near and far to enjoy the buzzing cultural scene and picturesque countryside. The focal point is Totnes castle, commanding a dominant position overlooking the town, and the intriguing range of independent shops, cafes and galleries are all within easy walking distance. There is also plenty to do in the surrounding area, so we spent a fun filled day checking out the best things to do in and around Totnes. Read more about Conversant Traveller
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