FOLK favourites Fairport Convention will top the bill at the Dearne Valley’s biggest celebration of music and culture this weekend.
The bank holiday weekend brings with it the festivities of Wath Festival, with more than 20 acts lined up to music into May Day.
The festival runs from Firday to Sunday and celebrates 40 years and the 700th anniversary of the granting of a market charter to Wath.
Founded in 1972, the festival is proud to host the title of South Yorkshire’s biggest festival of music and dance and brings a stunning array of concerts, community events and family-friendly fun.
The festival was also named as Festival of the Year 2010 runner-up in Fatea Magazine’s Music Awards, in second place to Cambridge Folk Festival.
This year audiences can sample a wide variety of acts including headliners Fairport Convention, the Home Service featuring festival patron John Tams, Chris & Kellie While, the Billy Mitchell Band, Dick Gaughan, Boo Hewerdine, Lucy Ward, Reg Meuross & Bethany Porter, Jennifer Crook, Ray Hearne & Ciaran Boyle, Tom Mitchell, Johnny & The Prison Didn't Help Boys, Skyhook, Charlie Barker & Harriet Bartlett, Monkey’s Fist, Brooks Williams, Flaxenby, Holly Taymar, Jenna & Catherine Bindon.
Aside from the range of national and international folk, acoustic and roots acts at the Montgomery Hall, the festival holds annual community events around Wath town centre, the Montgomery Hall, the Red Lion, the Sandygate Hotel and All Saints Parish Church.
Community events for all the family will start on Saturday, May 5, with the festival procession, official opening by MP John Healey, the traditional bun throwing from the tower of All Saints’ Parish Church and the reading of Thomas Tuke’s will, stalls, crafts, workshops, singarounds and entertainers around Montgomery Square and Church Street.
The Sheffield Folk Chorale will also join the community programme at All Saints’ on the Saturday.
This year will see the second contest for the Wath Young Performers Award, where performers of folk, roots and acoustic music, aged between 16 to 24 can win the chance to perform on the festival's main stage, get a booking at the 2013 festival, receive a cash prize and a trophy and land a photoshoot from Charlie Barker Photography.
The competition attracts interest from talented young musicians across the country and this year's finalists are Lincolnshire-based Sunjay Brayne, Anna Rice from Brighton and local musician, Andrew Frost from Sheffield.
Tickets are available to buy from the festival box office on 07982 658467 or via www.wathfestival.org.uk.
The full event programme can be found at www.wathfestival.org.uk/programme.
Organisers are still keen to hear from sponsors and anyone who can help boost festival funds via email@example.com.