PREVIEW: Alnwick International Music Festival

Orlyk are set to return to this year's Alnwick International Music Festival.
Orlyk are set to return to this year's Alnwick International Music Festival.

Here is your guide to what’s on at this year’s Alnwick International Music Festival, which starts tomorrow.

“We have got more groups lined up this year than ever before,” says the chairman of Alnwick International Music Festival.

Soznak are lined up to perform at Alnwick International Music Festival.

Soznak are lined up to perform at Alnwick International Music Festival.

That’s the exciting news ahead of the 2017 event, which will showcase the diverse cultural riches of the UK and wider world.

The eight-day festival, starting tomorrow, will feature the sounds, rhythms and traditions of Ireland, Eastern Europe, Africa, USA, Australia, Scotland, England and Northumberland.

This will be served up through genres such as folk, jazz, blues, Celtic, Balkan, Americana and world fusion. There will also be live poetry.

Festival chairman Jonathan Justice said: “We are really looking forward to this year’s event. We have got more groups than we ever have – more than 40 – which is really exciting, and some of the groups who performed last year and went down well are returning this year, which is great.”

The Baghdaddies will entertain festival-goers.

The Baghdaddies will entertain festival-goers.

The main daytime action will be staged in the Market Place – or the Northumberland Hall if it is wet – while performers are also set to appear in the Alnwick Garden and Castle.

The entertainment will continue into the night with a range of evening concerts and events (see below).

There will also be a number of workshops for children and adults, including ukulele, Maypole and clog-dancing sessions, while a craft fair will be held in the Market Place throughout the festival.

Visit for details or go to the information stall in the Market Place during the festival.

If you would like to volunteer this year, call 01665 606802.

Acts at this year’s festival

The Baghdaddies: An exhilarating cocktail of Balkan melodies, ska and Latin grooves and sizzling brass played with furious energy and theatrical humour.

Orlyk – Ukrainian Dance: Manchester-based award winning group of dancers, musicians and singers of Ukrainian heritage. Dedicated to promote Ukraine’s rich culture.

Horovod: UK-based band playing music from the Balkans, Turkey and Greece. Carinet, accordion and fiddle, plus percussive sounds of tapan, darbuka and bouzouki create frantic dance rhythms, improvisations and more.

Soznak: Newcastle-based group brings together musicians from Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Ireland and Spain.

AWRY: A bagpipe and fiddle-driven band from Scotland.

Fosbrooks: Music of the British Isles and beyond, with percussive step dance routines. This youth ensemble has appeared at folk festivals around the world.

Eve williams: Influenced by her homeland of Northern Ireland and by the music of Moya Brennan, Kate Bush and Peggy Lee.

Pistol Pete Wearn: Edinburgh Fringe act in 2016. Pete plays ‘blues holler’ style on acoustic guitar, stompbox and occasionally harmonica.

Fifty Shades of Blue: Glasgow-based duo playing mainly folky and bluegrass with some shades of blues.

The Big Blue: Featuring fiddle, mandolin, acoustic bass and percussion.

Local acts

Performers from Northumberland, the North East and the Borders will also appear at the festival.

These include The Caffreys; Tom O’Donnell; Clifford Blakey; Lionheart Harmony; saxophonist Jonny D; Riff-Raff Ukulele; and The Elaine Milbourne Performing Arts School.

The programme will also feature GreyCatz; Pauline Vallance; The Bushbys; Andrew Lobb; The Uketeers; and drumming group Rhythm Stix.

For full line-up, visit

Evening entertainment

Tomorrow: Ceilidh. Northumberland Hall. 7.30pm–10pm. Tickets £7.

Sunday: Americana Night. Northumberland Hall. 7.30pm–10pm. Tickets £7.

Monday: Jazz & Blues Night. Alnwick Working Men’s Club. 7.30pm-10pm. Tickets £7.

Tuesday: Tea Dance. Includes a light tea. Northumberland Hall. 4.30pm. £7, on the door.

Tuesday: Musicians Session. Alnwick Working Men’s Club, 7.30pm-11pm. £3.

Wednesday: Family Ceilidh. Alnwick Town Hall. 6.30–9pm. Tickets £3.

Wednesday: Folk Night. Northumberland Hall. 7.30pm–10pm. Tickets £7.

Thursday, August 3: Poetry and Music Night. Alnwick Working Men’s Club 7.30-10pm. Free entry.

Thursday, August 3: Celtic Night. Alnwick Playhouse 7.30pm. Premier £13, standard £12, conc £10.

Friday, August 4: Northumbrians Entertain. Alnwick Playhouse 7.30pm. Premier £13, standard £12, conc £10.

Saturday, August 5: International Evening. Alnwick Playhouse 7.30pm. Premier £13, standard £12, conc £10.

To book and for more details: Visit

Window-spotting competition

Eagle-eyed music-festival-goers could win prizes by entering a window-spotting competition.

During the event, many of the shops in Alnwick will have an out-of-place item in their window displays.

To enter and to stand a chance of winning, people can pick up an entry form from the festival information stall in the Market Place.

The form lists all of the shops taking part and entrants can go round and try to figure out what the strange item is.

Each shop displays a diamond-shaped card with a number on in their window so it is easy to tell who is taking part.

There are prizes for the two entries which get the most correct answers.

Entry costs 50p and it is open to all ages. The competition runs throughout the festival and winners will be announced at the end of it.