Folk Festival puts Shrewsbury on the map

Musicians and music lovers gathered in their droves over the Bank Holiday weekend to unite for the annual Shrewsbury Folk Festival, which has been dubbed as the “most successful yet.”

More than 7,000 attendees flocked to the West Mid Showground to play witness to some of the biggest names in folk music perform. Seth Lakeman, Bellowhead, Steve Knightley's Wake The Union, Karine Polwart, The Dhol Foundation and Megson were amongst just some of the stars to take to the stage at this year's event.

Festival founder Alan Surtees expressed his happiness at the success of the 2014 gathering. “I'm ectastic. It's been a brilliant weekend and there's still plenty to see and do.”

The event dates back to 1997 originally when it began its life as the Bridgnorth Festival, but it truly took off in 2006 following the support of faithful locals. It relies heavily on the support of Shrewsbury's tight-knit communities, and since 2007 has worked with schools in the area to encourage musical learning in young people.

Shrewsbury Music Festival has developed year on year – every year, organisers are thinking of new ways to keep attendees entertained. 2014 was a particularly poignant year for festival goers, carrying the theme of Peace to pay homage to the centenary year of World War One. Music lovers embraced the peaceful theme, while the more thrill-seeking attendees amongst them were seen logging into to get their kicks between acts.

Online games haven't been the only source of fun available to visitors over the years. In 2009, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin, organisers created the 'Darwin Song Project.' The musical celebration paid homage to Shrewsbury's most famous scientist and the man behind evolutionary theory.

While much of today's folk music and indeed the festivals themselves focus around the political, echoing the sentiments of such stars as Bob Dylan, this year's festival was far more focused on personal messages. Stage sets saw everything from traditional folk ballads to bhangra-inspired rhythms, with both established artists and newcomers coming to perform their heart-felt tracks to the world.

The festival culminated in a show-stopping performance from Steve Knightley's Wake the Union, who were joined on stage by Phil Beer in a surprise appearance. With music, story telling sessions, gaming and more, this year's festival far surpassed the others – it may not quite be Cambridge, but it's not got far to go now.


Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on

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