Rothbury Traditional Music Festival returns after two year Covid absence

The Rothbury Traditional Music Festival is returning this year after two years of Covid restrictions.

By Joshua Wright
Monday, 25th April 2022, 5:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 11:38 am
People play instruments and enjoy themselves during the festival.
People play instruments and enjoy themselves during the festival.

After a long period of digital incarnations of the popular event, the three-day celebration of traditional music will be returning following the lifting of restrictions.

Forty-five years since it first filled the Coquet Valley with the sounds of fiddles, pipes and drums, the busy weekend-long festival will take place from July 15-17, with a packed programme featuring performances, workshops, competitions and street entertainment.

The Damien Mullane trio, Eryn Rae & Scott Turnbull, Cameron Dixon, Ken Wilson, Andy May plus a special performance from Johnny Handle accompanied by Chris Hendry are some of the attractions which will be present at the event.

Rothbury Music Festival celebrations on the street.

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    Music director and luminary of the North East’s folk scene, Ian Stephenson, said: “They might not be headlining at Cambridge Folk Festival – this year at least – but the bands we book are fantastic.

    “The Damien Mullane Trio are young baseball cap kinda guys from Ireland. Of course, I think traditional music is the coolest music of all but these guys are really cool. They have so much vitality and exuberance.

    “Like other bands we book, I hope people will love them and aspiring young musicians will want to play like them.”

    Festival organisers say that they have always retained the events strong community feel while always offering a warm invitation to visitors of all generations.

    Past players include folk pioneer Aly Bain, Irish fiddle supremo Sean Maguire and Northumbrian pipes queen, Kathryn Tickell who made her Rothbury debut before she was a teenager.

    There have also been visits from acclaimed international musicians from across Europe.

    Ian added: “We’re not a festival that gets thousands of pounds in grants but the musicians who come here know they’re going to have a good time and I know they will be looking forward to getting back to playing live in front of people as much as I am.

    “There’s music in all the pubs and lots of opportunities to sit in jam sessions with peers. It’s seriously musical round here and always has been. So many famous folk musicians have come from this valley.”

    TV presenter, comedian, actor and celebrated baritone, Alexander Armstrong, is counted among them.

    For more information, visit the website at