Inaugural festival kicking off today

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A festival being held on one of Northumberland’s top beauty spots is to start today.

The Holy Island Festival kicks off this afternoon and promises not to disappoint.

Artists from the Tyne to the Tweed will descend upon the small island to showcase some of the region’s top musical forms.

Two Geordie legends will unite on Sunday to give music and bus fans a great day out.

Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell are taking their critically acclaimed Lindisfarne Story show to the place from which the North-East band, formed in 1968, took their name.

It’s the very first time that Ray and Billy have played there with the Lindisfarne Story, and to get fans safely onto Holy Island and back, Tyne Idols is providing a return bus service to take festival-goers from Tyneside up to the venue and back.

To celebrate the bus’s journey and to make sure it gets there and back safely, Lindisfarne Festival organiser and vicar of St Mary’s Church on Holy Island, the Reverend Dr Paul Collins, met Billy to bless the bus.

Reverend Collins said: “We’ve lots going on at the festival this weekend including the Alpacazz, Martin Stephenson, Five Ring Circus and, of course, the Lindisfarne Story.”

The event kicks off this afternoon with a free performance by Anna Raine at 2pm.

For the full lowdown on the three-day event on Holy Island, go to www.holyisland festival.org

Remember, however, to check crossing times for the island on Page 2 of the Gazette.