It’s just a month until Rhythms of the World transforms the usually tranquil grounds of Hitchin Priory into one big party with 140 acts from around the globe and closer to home playing across seven stages.

And with tickets now on sale from venues across the area, it’s about time we started our countdown to the weekend event on July 14 and 15 with a look at some of the best of the fest.

Our first instalment is a look at long-time Rhythms favourites - the Hitchin-based drum collective Toque Tambor who will celebrate 10 years of bringing the sounds of Brazilian carnival to the festival on the main stage on Sunday.

With their infectious, crowd pulling style the group has performed at major events including Womad, the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin and the Thames Festival since forming in 2002.

The community focused group also runs percussion courses, increasing its members year-on-year to its current total of 45. Through Rhythms the group has formed links with many native Brazilian carnival groups including samba collective Monobloco who attract massive crowds during the Rio de Janeiro Carnival. Toque Tambor has brought Monobloco players to past festivals to perform on the main stage with them, and in turn members have gone to Rio.

Band leader JP said the tenth anniversary performance will be bigger than ever with some surprises.

“At this year’s festival we will pack the stage with drummers, singers, horns, string players and feathers for what will be a treat on the Sunday. Of course there will be some surprises as well and you will have to wait to see.”

Steve Smither festival performance director said the group are a great example of how local musicians make Rhythms of the World special.

“They are a perfect combination for the festival – a local act performing world music to audiences new and old. The opportunity for people who like what they hear to get involved through the percussion groups benefits the community and the festival as a whole.”

You can see the group play before Rhythms as part of a wider Hitchin Festival Brazilian-style carnival parade on July DATE? And if you want to get involved JP said he is always looking for new people to join them and will be running free taster classes in September.

Tickets for RotW (�10 adults, �5 youths) can be bought from Harvest Moon, Merryfields Newsagents, Hitchin Initiative, Club85 and The Victoria in Hitchin, David’s Music in Letchworth and Coda Music in Stevenage. Or from