Alexander Armstrong backing music festival at his home town in Northumberland

TV and radio presenter Alexander Armstrong is banging the drum for the Rothbury Traditional Music Festival as the popular event prepares to return for the first time proper since 2019.

By Andrew Coulson
Monday, 4th July 2022, 11:57 am

The man who is known by millions as the host of BBC game show Pointless, and is a regular presenter on Classic FM, became patron of the festival in his home town three years ago and is delighted to be promoting what it has to offer.

He said: “The Rothbury Traditional Music Festival has been brilliant for as far back as I can remember. My fondest and earliest memories of live music and poetry are all from Rothbury Music Festivals of old.”

After two years of Covid-enforced disruption, the festival will take place from July 15 to 17 with a packed programme featuring performances, workshops, competitions and street entertainment.

Alexander Armstrong.

Alexander, 52, grew up in Rothbury where his father – and his father before him – was the local doctor.

He said: “Not only were they both doctors, they were both presidents of the Rothbury Pipe Band. I think they still award the Armstrong trophy for most promising highland piper, which is a lovely thing.”

Pipe bands are very much part of the mix at the 2022 festival along with the Damien Mullane trio, Eryn Rae and Scott Turnbull, Cameron Nixon, Ken Wilson and Andy May, plus a special performance from Johnny Handle accompanied by Chris Hendry.

For full programme details, go to

A picture from the Rothbury Traditional Music Festival in 2019. Photo by Samuel Hurt Photography.

Alexander added: “The festival is a beautiful structured guided tour around folk music and it will also introduce people to something which is really visceral and wonderfully pagan and earthy.

“It’s so brilliant to see the festival thriving – especially after the past couple of years – and I’m incredibly proud to be involved with it. They’ve done such a great job of putting the programme together for this year.

“There’s such a wonderful mix of older and younger musicians which gives it such a unique energy. Young talents like Eryn Rae and Cameron Nixon will be exemplars of a new generation.

“You don’t have to be a specialist to be moved by it. You just have to give it the attention it needs and it will get you every time. And Rothbury is a wonderful place to introduce yourself to it.”