Family activities and all the fun which comes built in with them is firmly on the agenda at this year’s Rothbury Traditional Music Festival, which will fill the Coquet Valley with the best of Northumbria’s tuneful traditions this summer.
Taking place from July 19 to 21, the popular event, now in its 43rd year wants to spread the word that families will find much to get involved with and enjoy over the weekend, which has sung, played and danced itself into the cultural heritage of Northumberland.
From ceilidhs, musical family gatherings, acoustic concerts, no end of street music and entertainment and even the chance to have a go on the Northumbrian pipes… children of all ages will be well catered for.
Blending the best of Northumbrian music traditions and performers with those who travel from far and wide, the Festival has retained its strong community feel while always offering a warm invitation to visitors.
Having just announced Rothbury-born comedian, actor and presenter, Alexander Armstrong as its patron, the newly-rejuvenated committee are looking forward to welcoming the crowds as the Festival kicks off this exciting new chapter.
So, what’s on the musical menu for families this year?
First up on the Friday evening, what better way to kick things off than a banging family ceilidh?
From 8pm to 11.30pm in Jubilee Hall, the 422 Dance Band will be spreading their infectious energy far and wide – welcoming dancers of all ages and abilities onto the floor.
Upstairs in the Parish Hall on Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am, there will be a Family Music Get Together, hosted by www.breakfastfolk.co.uk.
Get yourself along to have a drink and a snack, meet up with other families and hear some music. It’s the perfect way to find out all about what’s on where at the Festival.
And don’t forget to take along your instruments (which includes your voices!) so you can join in too.
Straight after the Get Together, in the Parish Hall Upstairs comes the Childrens’ Competitions from 10.30am-12.30pm.
Rothbury has a long tradition of competitions for all ages. The Childrens’ competitions are open to those from five to 13 (first, primary and middle school). Competitors can be from anywhere, but there is a special ‘best local’ prize for the best competitor from within 15 miles of Rothbury.
The Outdoor Stage is the place to be on Saturday afternoon from 12.30pm to 3.45pm.
Look out for the Festival Parade, Dancers, Street Entertainers, and on-stage performances featuring the amazing Rothbury Pipe Band among many others.
The All Saints Church will play host for the Acoustic Concert from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Saturday. Free entry is offered to the under 18s for this performance, which features festival performers, competition winners and local acts playing acoustically.
Saturday night always offers a big highlight of proceedings and the heart of the Festival for more than 40 years. The Rothbury Mart Festival Concert will kick off at 8.30pm and will be going until Midnight.
On the bill, alongside its wonderful atmosphere are all the festival headliners, amazing local acts, a real ale bar and wonderful music, poetry and song in the amazing surroundings of the historic Rothbury Mart.
Musical director and a big player in the North East’s folk music scene, Ian Stephenson, said: “Don’t get me wrong, the Festival has always been a great place to bring kids to – I know this as I’ve been coming here since I was one! – but I’m not sure whether that message has spread as far and wide as it could have.
“It sounds like a cliche, but the Rothbury Traditional Music Festival really is one of the best kept secrets in the North East’s festival calendar.
“We’ve always known and we’ve always been and loved it and I can’t quite believe more people don’t know about it. It’s the true essence of Northumbrian culture – and a lot of fun!”For full programme details, visit www.rothburymusicfestival.co.uk where you can also find details of the family ticket discounts which are available across many events.