People love a challenge in Milton Keynes, and they love exceeding expectations and turning dreams into reality. In 2010, a new festival continued that trend.  In 2014, the bie-annual IF: Festival celebrates its third outing with 10 more days of unrivalled entertainment – large-scale spectaculars, family events, a children’s festival, live music, comedy and cabaret, pop-ups, free events and installations. The Stables produces IF, with support from Arts Council England and Milton Keynes Council. Monica Ferguson is chief executive of The Stables, and director of IF: Festival. “IF: Milton Keynes International Festival has been developed to enrich people’s experience of Milton Keynes both by presenting top class events by international artists and also by creating events within the city for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors alike,” she said. “Central Milton Keynes is animated throughout each of the Festival’s 10 days with some of the best performances, music, comedy, artists and large-scale events the world has to offer. “This year we are again working with a range of partners to deliver the festival and ensure a fantastic programme for festival-goers,” she added. “As ever, there are plenty of surprises in unusual places across the city – expect the unexpected!”   Here’s a taster of those opportunities in the IF programme….   Who: Ilotopie – Fous De Bassin Water Fools Where & When: Willen Lake, Friday 18 & Saturday 19 July What:An unforgettable, large scale performance by French company Ilotopie who will conjure up an ‘extraordinary and colourful floating spectacle with fire and pyrotechnics on Willen Lake.’  Naturally they’ll walk on water, too.   Who: Rosemary Lee – Under the Vaulted Sky Where & When:  The Cathedral of Trees, Newlands, Friday 18 & Saturday 19 July What: A world premiere by award-winning choreographer Rosemary Lee. Under the Vaulted Sky has been inspired by the Cathedral of Trees and the performances will be the culmination of a year long residency in the new city, during which time Rosemary has worked with more than one hundred dancers who will perform in the work. Live music by composer Terry Mann will accompany.   Who: Ray Lee –Chorus Where & When: Locations TBC, Monday 21- Wednesday 23 July What: Sonic artist Ray Lee has created Chorus, a giant sound and light installation sponsored by the Open University. Huge metal tripods with rotating arms will tower above the audience, and each arm features loudspeakers delivering a pulsating, harmonic sound and lights create the effect of a whirling swarm of fireflies…truly original.   One hugely successful feature of the IF: Festival past is the Spiegeltent, which this year will pitch up in South Willen Lake Park. Comedy, cabaret and live music will ooze from the elaborately decorated venue. Highlights this time around will include exquisite acrobatics courtesy of Australian based Casus with the show Knee Deep (Monday, July 21).  If the most exotic thing you do with an egg is scramble it, just wait until you see these guys in action. Singer-songwriter Seth Lakeman is showing up to promote his current opus Word of Mouth (Friday, July 25).  A true storyteller with a hauntingly melodic style, and a folk meets contemporary slant. The Puppini Sisters deliver glitz and glamour and a swing-pop twist, as Stables regulars will already know. Last year they recorded with Michael Buble, this summer (Saturday July 26) they’ll wow Willen!   IF: Milton Keynes International Festival When: July 18-27 2104 More information:  http://www.ifmiltonkeynes.org