Showcase of music, song and dance

Gergent, from Sicily.
Gergent, from Sicily.

With seven overseas groups and a host of acts from closer to home, this year’s Alnwick International Music Festival is sure to be a smash hit.

The eight-day showcase of song, dance and music is being staged in the town from Saturday, August 2, to Saturday, August 9, and a diverse and culturally-rich programme of entertainment has been lined up.

Global groups from Romania, Senegal, Poland, USA, Sicily, Taiwan and Cyprus are set to descend on Alnwick, joined by performers from the county and around the UK.

Chairman Alan Symmonds said: “It looks like this year will be as good a festival as ever.”

There is certainly plenty of international flavour.

Doinita, from Romania, present folk songs and dances from regions in the country.

Boto Cisse and the Sewoding Band are from Dakar, Senegal. The group is led by award-winning singer-songwriter and pianist Boto Cisse, and features a bassist, soloist, drummer, percussionist and six dancers.

Sicilian group Gergent’s repertoire reflects the life of Sicilian farming and fishing folk.

Łodz Folk Song and Dance Ensemble present lively traditional dances from almost every region of Poland.

New Taipei City Art Group come from the largest city in Taiwan. The orchestra plays a range of instruments, as well as performing Hakka folk music.

Cripple Creek Cloggers are Tennessee’s, authentic Appalachian style cloggers, offering a festive celebration in rhythm and dance. Their distinct square dancing with a clogging step originated in the Appalachian Mountains, but evolved from traditional dances from England.

The lively Giasoumia, from Cyprus, are dedicated to keeping alive their Greek-Cypriot cultural traditions, costumes and stories.

The main festival stage is in Alnwick Market Place, where there will be daily performances. It is hoped Alnwick Castle and Garden will host afternoon showings.

Alnwick Playhouse will hold a series of Music Festival concerts from August 6 to 9. Other attractions include a children’s festival, with workshops, in the Town Hall, a craft fair in the Market Place and a Flower Festival in St Paul’s Church from August 7 to 10.

For more information, visit the website.

Music festival chairman Alan Symmonds has said that this year’s event has received a lot of support, but more volunteers are needed.

One particular area where help is required is in the kitchen of the Northumberland Hall, where drinks and light snacks are served during the festival. All skill levels are welcome. Help with clearing tables would be welcome too.

Recruits to help put the performers’ beds up at the Duchess’s Community High School on Wednesday, July 30, are also needed, as is general volunteering.

Alan said: “We are desperately short of volunteers and I would welcome anyone with open arms.” Anyone wanting to volunteer should call Alan on 01665 606808.