Eight-day showcase ‘a success’

The Fosbrooks. Picture by Andrew Mounsey
The Fosbrooks. Picture by Andrew Mounsey

This year’s Alnwick International Music Festival has been hailed as a great success, with bookings already being taken for next year.

The eight-day event came to an end on Saturday, having welcomed more acts than ever before to the town.

Helwa Belly Dance at Alnwick International Music Festival
Picture by Jane Coltman

Helwa Belly Dance at Alnwick International Music Festival Picture by Jane Coltman

The popular festival showcased the diverse cultural riches of the UK and wider world, with genres such as folk, Celtic, Balkan and Americana, as well as live poetry thrown in for good measure.

It was the first year as chairman for Jonathan Justice – who took over from Alan Symmonds – and he is pleased with how the 2017 festival went.

And he told the Gazette that attention has already turned to next year’s extravaganza.

He said: “We’re all very tired, but delighted with how the festival went.

Rhythm Stix entertain at Alnwick International Music Festival.
Picture by Jane Coltman

Rhythm Stix entertain at Alnwick International Music Festival. Picture by Jane Coltman

“The festival has been a great success and we look forward to many more years.

“Having the highest ever number of groups was a real challenge, but I was really pleased to be able to offer a different show every day.

“From the crowd-pleasing antics of The Baghdaddies through the music and dance of Fosbrooks to the poetry of Peter Edge, we really had something for everyone.

“I’d like to think the festival helps show Alnwick at its best and proves that Northumberland has a lot going on.

The Baghdaddies at Alnwick International Music Festival 2017
Picture by Jane Coltman

The Baghdaddies at Alnwick International Music Festival 2017 Picture by Jane Coltman

“As always, we’re so grateful to our many helpers; whether from the Pottergate Centre, the Newcastle Building Society or just individuals who have popped in to help wash dishes for an afternoon.

“The helpers are the heart of the festival and they make everything else possible. I owe a debt of thanks to them all.

“The support and assistance of the people of Alnwick and district make it possible to bring these great groups to entertain us all.”

Looking ahead to 2018, he added: “I’m already taking bookings for next year and I’m happy to say at least two are from countries we’ve never featured before.

Orlyk

Orlyk

“Losing our existing group accommodation has allowed us to diversify, but with new digs in the pipeline we’re excited to be bringing more international acts to Alnwick next year.”

The main stage was in Alnwick Market Place and crowds packed into the cobbled square to see the talented performers.

For all the event aims to showcase the music, dance and culture from around the world, drumming group Rhythm Stix, from Alnwick’s Pottergate Centre, proved to be one of the highlights of the festival.

Others to stand out included the Helwa Bellydance Troupe and the lively Manchester-based Orlyk, who impressed with their Ukrainian dancing and costumes.

Notable acts also included Newcastle-based Soznak, who bring together musicians from Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Ireland and Spain; and UK-based Horovod, who play music from the Balkans, Turkey and Greece.

As well as daytime performances, there were also evening shows and events, including an Americana night, jazz and blues session and a tea dance.

Soznak at Alnwick International Music Festival
Picture by Jane Coltman

Soznak at Alnwick International Music Festival Picture by Jane Coltman

For more information about the festival, visit www.alnwickmusicfestival.com

Rhythm Stix at Alnwick International Music Festival.

Rhythm Stix at Alnwick International Music Festival.