Kathryn tops stellar festival bill

Award-winning Northumberland piper Kathryn Tickell OBE will headline this year's Holy Island Festival, which celebrates North East talent.

The two-times winner of the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Artist of the Year award will perform with her group Superfolkus at the Village Hall on Sunday, July 16.

This year the festival spans three successive weekends – July 1 and 2, July 8 and 9 and July 15 and 16 – and expects to reach more than 12,000 visitors.

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Kathryn said: “I’m very much looking forward to playing at the Holy Island Festival. It’s a magical place.

“I’ve been a visitor to the island many times, and love the atmosphere and the very special feeling you get, particularly if you’re lucky enough to be able to stay there when the tide comes in.

“I’m bringing a group of talented young musicians with me, the group Superfolkus. Don’t be fooled into thinking ‘aw, a load of kids, how sweet’. These musicians are totally professional and are making fantastic music.

“I am proud to play alongside them.”

Lindisfarne drummer Ray Laidlaw and frontman Billy Mitchell also appear as special guests, with Billy’s son Tom Mitchell and his group The Borrowed Band at the Village Hall on Sunday, July 9.

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Other confirmed acts include Yorkshire-born virtuoso saxophonist Christian Forshaw, Morpeth group November Club, local folk act Alnwicky, Ryton Choral Society from Tyneside, Gaelic group Blás, North East instrumental sextet Pons Aelius, Newcastle-based Manx music band Birlinn Jiarg, traditional folk song duo from Northumberland The Brothers Gillespie, Scottish Borders folk outfit Small Hall Band and Holy Islanders Anna and Martha Raine.

There will also be a dance performance from Newcastle-based LoGiudice Dance, and classical music from Garth Newel Piano Quartet.

More than 5,000 visitors flocked to Lindisfarne to enjoy the Holy Island festival last year. A sell-out crowd of 250 people, including tourists and island residents, packed into St Mary’s Church to see The Unthanks, while The Lindisfarne Story Band christened the newly-opened £1million village hall.

Chairman of the Holy Island Festival group the Rev Paul Collins said: “Celebrations in 2013 for the Lindisfarne Gospels identified an interest in more events for visitors, islanders and residents across Northumberland and the Borders.

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“Building on the success of the last two years, this year’s Holy Island Festival has expanded to take place over three successive weekends. We have lined up even more great performers, including music, singing and dancing, offering something for everyone.”

For more information and to book tickets visit www.holyislandfestival.org