Dance parade to celebrate this year’s Folk Festival

A parade of dancers and musicians will take to the streets of Shrewsbury on August 24 to celebrate this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

The inaugural dance parade promises to be a colourful and entertaining celebration of the four-day event that will be going on during the Bank Holiday weekend at the West Mid Showground.

Up to 7,000 people attend the festival every year bringing a welcome boost to the local economy.

Dance teams from across the country and a Danish side will be taking part. The groups, supported by musicians, will gather at the Castle from 12.30pm on Saturday August 24 where a samba band will play and several dancers will perform.

The parade will then assemble at 1.30pm and make their way from the Castle at 1.45pm along Castle Street, down Pride Hill, left into High Street and into The Square, where groups will perform.

It will be led by Shrewsbury’s Town Crier Martin Wood and among those taking part will be county Morris sides, the Shropshire Bedlams and Martha Rhoden’s Tuppeny Dish, and the Ironmen and Severn Gilders, as well as the Shrewsbury Morris Big Band.

Organisers are asking as many people as possible to line the route and enjoy the spectacle.

The festival’s Morris Dance Director Fiona Bradshaw said: “There is always a lot happening in town during the festival weekend from sessions in pubs to teams dancing all over the place but we wanted to do something to really mark the occasion.

“It promises to be loud, vibrant and lots of fun and we hope it will give people a taste of what they can expect from the folk festival. We have a diverse range of music and dance programmed throughout the weekend and we hope it will tempt some people to come along.”

Weekend and day tickets are still available for the festival, which runs from Friday August 23 to Monday August 26.

As well as music and dance, there are dozens of workshops programmed, a children's festival, Refolkus - a dedicated youth programme for 12 to 25-year-olds, on-site camping, a craft fair and food village.

This year’s highlights include a joint performance from the festival’s two patrons Oysterband’s John Jones and Steve Knightley from Show of Hands; The Be Good Tanyas; The Carolina Chocolate Drops; Afro Celt Sound System; Bright Phoebus sings Tom Waits featuring Bellowhead frontman Jon Boden; Heidi Talbot & special guests; Tim O’Brien; Oysterband, Capercaillie, Nic Jones and Eddi Reader.

Tickets can be booked online through www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk.

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Pete White Pete White

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