Shropshire festival wins US sponsorship deal

A unique Shropshire music festival has won a sponsorship deal with an American tourist  board.

The North Shropshire Big Weekend has been given backing by Louisiana organisation, Lafayette Travel to help the festival bring four US performers to this year’s festival.

The Big Weekend, which takes place on August 12,13 and 14 at Welshampton, near Ellesmere, specialises in celebrating the music and dance of south west Louisiana.

It brings to Shropshire the music and dance of the Cajun and Creole communities of Acadiana, south west Louisiana where Lafayette is the central city.

The sponsorship deal reinforces the Big Weekend’s position as the best of its kind outside of Louisiana for showcasing the top artists from Cajun, Creole, Zydeco and Louisiana roots music. It has been negotiated with the support of Travel and Tourism Marketing Limited.

Creative director, Gavin Lewery, said that the sponsorship had made a big difference to the festival’s tight budget.

“Our policy of bringing musicians and performers from America has always been one of the most important elements of our festival. But it is expensive and this sponsorship from Lafayette Travel will help us keep that going,” he said.

Day, afternoon and evening tickets are now available for the festival alongside weekend tickets. Details are available through the website at www.northshropshirecajun.co.uk.

 This year’s line-up features four American performers  in the biggest collection of headline acts in the festival’s nine year history.

The international line-up for the festival includes Blake Miller, Amelia Biere, Ruben Moreno and Desiree Champagne plus touring duo Truckstop Honeymoon and the Barcelo Brothers from Ireland.

They will be joined by UK roots and blues bands, Razor Holler, the Whiskey River Boys, The Midnight Specials and Acadian Strings.

The festival, which runs as a non-profit making community organisation, is the only one which brings musicians from both the Cajun and Creole communities of southwest Louisiana to the UK festival scene.

“We are really proud of the fact that over the years we have been able to bring diverse musicians from the Cajun and Creole scene. This year our four headline acts are backed by an amazing programme of bands from the UK and Ireland performing throughout the weekend. It’s a fantastic line-up and should be a fabulous weekend of music and dancing,” said Gavin.

The three day festival, based around the parish hall, also includes dance and instrument workshops, authentic street food, music sessions in the village pub plus its own festival campsite.

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