A WORLD renowned folk festival will use the spirit of the London Olympic Games to inspire people through music and dance this year.
Billingham International Folkelore Festival of World Dance has been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark which recognises projects inspired by the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The colourful festival, which brings different cultures from all over the world together to perform, takes place between Saturday, August 11 and Saturday, August 18.
This year, organisers are extending the scope of the festival beyond Billingham to encompass the whole region and involve even more people.
Festival director Joe Maloney said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the Insipre Mark and for the festival to be recognised and associated with London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“All of the changes we are making to the festival would not be possible without the help and co-operation of the small band of volunteers, who work for the festival year round.”
Folk music and dance groups from countries including Canada, Chile, Indonesia and Romania, while several traditional UK groups will also take part.
The festival, now in its 48th year, has also been able to expand its work thanks to a generous grant from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
It means organisers can stage more contemporary activities and events and broaden its scope by taking performers for a day of workshops in Newcastle.
The festival starts in style on Saturday, August 11, with a parade of nations from Northfield School, Marsh House Avenue, to Billingham town centre for the opening ceremony in the festival arena.
Over the following week, the groups will take part in a series of concerts and workshops for all ages and abilities and a popular UNCLE BIFF Children’s Club.
More than 300 dancers, musicians, singers and craftsmen will make the journey to Billingham.
The festival concerts will take place at a specially constructed arena in Billingham town centre, Forum Theatre, Middlesbrough Theatre and Arc Arts Centre, Stockton.
For full details contact (01642) 553220.