A town is to host its annual music festival not once but twice this year.

For the last 40 years, the Petworth Festival has entertained crowds from across Sussex with its broad range of events.

Petworth, and its surrounding towns near Pulborough, will play host to the fortnight-long festival, which is normally held in July.

A spokeswoman for the festival said: "As far as the Petworth Festival is concerned, summer normally begins around the middle of July.

"But this year, summer doesn't just come early - it comes twice."

The festival will feature live music and comedy from a series of performers when it kicks off for one weekend - June 2 and 3.

It will return in July for nearly three weeks, from July 11 to 29.

Last year the festival held an event to commemorate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and organisers say they are building on that sucess.

The spokeswoman added: "This year sees the all-new June edition of the festival, an early summer sppecial with three top level events that will give a taste of the great things to come just a few weeks further down the line."

Midhurst Rother College will be the venue of choice for much of the weekend's performance.

The Argus: Bernard D'AscoliBernard D'Ascoli (Image: Veronique Bon-Dansac)

Award-winning blind pianist Bernard D'Ascoli will take to the stage to play a programme of music from a series of acclaimed pianists.

Former MP turned comic Gyles Brandreth will also entertain crowds on Saturday, June 3, when he brings stories from his latest book about the Queen.

The Argus: Gyles BrandrethGyles Brandreth (Image: Greg Macvean)

Finally, pianist Ben Waters and his band will play a mix of rhythm and blues at the college on the evening of Friday, June 2.

Artistic director Stewart Collins said: "We genuinely have three of the most successful and entertaining performers we’ve had at the festival in many years.

"Ben with his incredible energy and sense of fun seated at his boogie-woogie piano, Gyles Brandreth the master of the brilliant anecdote who knows exactly how to whip up laughter, and then the astounding prize-winning Bernard d’Ascoli, one of the top classical pianists of his generation.

"Together these shows should be a wonderful curtain raiser on our year."

For more information, visit www.petworthfestival.org.uk