The hills will be alive with the sound of music this autumn when Northumberland valleys stage a three-day folk festival.
The event, from October 3-5, is part of the recently-launched Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership Scheme, which aims to conserve and celebrate the area’s natural features and heritage.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has given a £1.7m grant to the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, which will manage the four-year project for the East and West Allen valleys. The target is to raise another £1m in match funding.
Acts already signed up for the Allen Valleys Folk Festival are North East band Martin Stephenson and the Daintees, and Bridie Jackson and The Arbour, winners of last year’s Best Emerging Talent award at Glastonbury.
Peter Aldcroft, chairman of the Allen Valleys Folk Festival Committee, said: “The festival has been months in the making so we were thrilled when we heard we’d secured the funding from the HLF. We see this as the first of many festivals and hope to grow the event year on year.
“Although music is the main emphasis, we also want to showcase the considerable artistic talents we have on our doorstep and give local businesses a real boost. It will be great to see the Allen Valleys filling up with visitors at the beginning of October.”
Andy Lees, from the AONB Partnership, said: “This is such an exciting prospect for the area. It’s beginning to put the Allen Valleys on the map. We’ve got some great acts already signed up and with more to come, I’m expecting that tickets will sell fast.
“It should be a great three days which will be fun for those attending but will also provide a real boost to the economy of the Allen Valleys.”
The festival will be held in and around Allendale. Venues include Allendale Village Hall, St Cuthbert’s Church and Denehome Country House and Activity Centre.
There will also be fringe festival events at pubs and cafes throughout the Allen Valleys.
As well as live music, the festival will also host workshops, poetry readings, craft demonstrations, guided walks and a choir showcase.
Tickets are from £10 for the Saturday headlining band to £55 for a three-day pass giving the chance to see 15 individual acts
Festival-goers can now buy early-bird and there will be camping available at several Allendale-based sites.
Appearing at the festival will be Phil Ogg, who lives in Allenheads and writes and perform his own music.
Phil, who is on the festival committee and is one of its musical directors, said: “We want to put on something for everyone so we’ve got seasoned folk acts like the travelling troubadour Rory McLeod, who’s been performing for years, through to musicians like Johnny Flynn, who has recently been announced as the actor who will play Roger Taylor in the up-and-coming Queen biopic.
“We’ve been really lucky to secure some fantastic names. It’s very positive stuff for our first year and to be performing up there with them is going to be pretty exciting.
“We also want to profile emerging talent from the Allen Valleys and if there’s anyone out there who fits the bill then we’d like to hear from them.”
More acts will be announced over the coming months. Visit www.allenvalleysfolkfestival.co.uk or follow updates on Twitter @AllenValleyFolk.