Shrewsbury Folk Festival takes place this August

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Shrewsbury Folk Festival, held on four days over the August Bank Holiday weekend (August 28-31), has worked hard to earn and retain its title as one of the UK’s top folk festivals. Known for its inventive programming and high production values, it regularly sells out in advance. Dubbed a ‘key date in the UK folk music calendar’ by the Daily Telegraph and recognised by the Sunday Times as a ‘family friendly folk staple’, Shrewsbury has it all whether you’re a fan of traditional or contemporary folk or are more into the roots and acoustic scene. Based in a glorious riverside setting within walking distance of the town centre, there’s four music stages including two main stages seating thousands, down to the smaller outdoor village stage. This year’s headliners include Sharon Shannon, Oysterband, and Kate Rusby. But the festival is renowned for bringing North American and Canadians acts to these shores. As the Shrewsbury Folk Festival motto goes: “you can’t imagine how much you will discover” and over the past few years, it’s introduced its audience to Barnstar!, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Sweetback Sisters, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, and Mark Erelli. Organisers always add something a bit different into the mix and that’s included 17 Hippies, Kepa Junkera, Nidi d’Arac, and Molotov Jukebox. This year, they’ve enticed Canadian folk legend La Bottine Souriante to pay its first visit to the Shropshire festival. Joined by countryfolk The Barra MacNeils, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, and Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, the international flavor will be continued with Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita and Amadou Diagne. Los Angeles based Dawes, who have toured with Bob Dylan and Mumford and Sons, are also on the bill. But what makes Shrewsbury special, besides the always-innovative line up, is the overall ambience of the festival. You can pitch up your tent or caravan for the weekend and relax – everything is within easy reach and the site never feels overcrowded. Children’s festival Pandemonium! offers everything from storytelling to crafts, circus skills, lantern making, drama, dance and music workshops for the younger festivalgoers. Coupled with the ever-popular Panic Circus, it’s an integral part of any family festival experience! The Refolkus youth programme is always in demand. The Big Band will be back this year alongside all manner of other folk related fun for 11 to 20-year-olds. There is a huge dance tent with specialist flooring for ceilidhs, workshops and dance shows. This year Blowzabella will be among the dance bands on the bill and a range of morris sides representing a variety of dance will entertain the crowds. With more than 100 workshops every year from yoga to music sessions, dance classes, and songwriting, and there never needs to be a dull moment. There is a free bus into the town centre on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the fringe events, including a dance parade, displays and pub sessions. There’s also an extensive craft fair, food village, real ale bars, a wine and cocktail bar & hot showers! Visit www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk for a full line up and to book tickets.

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