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Warwick Folk Festival line-up and preview

Warwick Folk Festival, July 25 - 28.

The four-day festival is back to celebrate 40 years of music, song and dance.

It kicks off on when England’s famous balladeer and social commentator Billy Bragg (above) headlines the main marquee concert – just one of many big names lined up for one of the UK’s most popular folk events. What began as a gathering of friends and folk fans dancing at a ceilidh in the town’s Court House now attracts thousands of people to enjoy concerts, ceilidhs, kids’ events (there’s even a circus), informal pub music and shanty sessions, and traditional dancing of all types from bellydancing and samba, to morris dancing. Other top guests include world-class Scottish band Breabach, squeezebox maestro and veteran of famous folk-rock bands John Kirkpatrick, plus the duo behind the theme song for the acclaimed BBC drama series Gentleman Jack, Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow.

The packed programme sees performances by Granny’s Attic, Keith Donnelly, acclaimed Irish singer Karan Casey, and the festival’s own patron and

world-famous harmonica player Will Pound (right) with accordion wizard Eddie Jay.

The festival features a wide selection of local talent with Coventry guitarist Kevin Dempsey and writer of powerful songs Rob Halligan, among the big names. And Friday night sees local campaign group CVFolk hosting a concert as part of its bid to promote folk as central to Coventry’s City of Culture status, featuring popular home-grown acts Kristy Gallacher, Daisybell, Willow & Tool Band, and Dave Fry performing.

Ticketed events take place in the grounds of Warwick School, Myton Road, while the "Festival Fringe" free events include an open-air Saturday evening concert and Sunday lunchtime performance by the festival’s own choir in Market Square, plus a big choice of mini-concerts, lively music and song sessions and dance displays in venues across the town centre.

Festival director Dick Dixon has been involved since day one, when he organised a bar for the original festival ceilidh. Now, with the label "folk" covering a wide range of styles and traditions, Dick has seen the festival grow to cater for all tastes in music and dance, and all ages.

He says: "Over 40 years, we’ve attracted new generations of folk fans and many of today’s big-name guests weren’t even born when we started. That’s why we never lose sight of our purpose, to ensure that the festival is a family-friendly event. We need to nurture our roots!"

Main site festival tickets can be booked online - - or call 01926 776438.

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