MUSIC fans will be treated to Sunderland’s first folk festival this summer.
Clog dancers, violinists and singers gathered at the city’s National Glass Centre to mark the launch of Sunderland Folk Festival 2011.
The event – the biggest of its kind in the North East – has been organised by Sunderland City Council, Phoenix Folk and The Davy Lamp Folk Group and will run from August 27 to 29.
Events will be split across city venues including Mowbray Park, the National Glass Centre and Independent.
Coun John Kelly, Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for safer city and culture, said: “There was a gap in events in August and we wanted to come up with something new.
“The festival will be the biggest folk festival in the North East. We’re hoping to reach people around the city but also for areas like Cumbria, to bring people into Sunderland for the festival.”
The festival is hoping to attract newcomers to the folk scene after the surge of “indie-folk” music entering the charts in the last few years, with artists such as Fleet Floxes, Mumford and Sons, Joanna Newsome and Iron and Wine leading the new movement.
Terri Freeman, of The Davy Lamp Folk Club, is programmer for the festival. She said: “We want to raise the profile of the city and show the great music it has to offer. I’m delighted to be part of it. There’s a lot of young people involved in folk music now and there is lots on offer over the course of the festival for everybody.”
As well as performances by popular folk artists including The Peatbog Faeries, The Doonan Family Big Band and BBC Radio 2’s 2009 Musician of the Year The Tom McConville Band, there will also be workshops for those who fancy trying their hand at all things folk.
Maurice Condie, from the Phoenix Folk Organisation, said: “The people who come to the workshops get a really good deal for their money. The quality of the performers and those leading the workshops is excellent. People will be able to play and write songs, learn to play the harp and other instruments.”
He added: “I can honestly see this festival becoming Sunderland International Folk Festival.”
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