Hartlepool Folk Festival draws in music fans

Music fans have descended on Hartlepool as the town’s annual Folk Festival takes place.

The event, now in its fourth year, sees numerous different acts perform at town venues across the weekend.

Dancers performing at this year's Hartlepool Folk Festival.

Dancers performing at this year's Hartlepool Folk Festival.

Visitors have also been able to get involved in a variety of workshops, family fun and enjoy street music.

The main venue this year is the National Museum of the Royal Navy, with its 18th Century-themed historic quay providing the perfect backdrop.

Performances are taking placing at the navy museum throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday including on board HMS Trincomalee.

Then on the evenings, the focus is shifting to Hartlepool’s Headland.

The festival’s centrepiece this year is The Bishoprick Garland, a new show based on Hartlepool-born historian and soldier Sir Cuthbert Sharp’s collection of music, dance, story and song from across County Durham.

It was performed at the Borough Hall venue on Friday.

Other acts who are performing as part of this year’s festival include Kathryn Tickell, False Lights, Elephant Sessions, Melrose Quartet, Blazin’ Fiddles, the Wilsons and Roy Bailey.

Folk Festival director Joan Crump said: “It has gone really well from our point of view.

“The big concert on Friday night was great with about 600 people coming into the Borough Hall to watch it.

“Thankfully the events like the Morris Dancing have been able to go on fine thanks to some of the beautiful weather we’ve been having.

“Everybody seems to have enjoyed themselves from the feedback I’ve been getting.”

Joan added that organisers are hoping to grow the event year on year.

“We would like to stimulate more people from the town into coming to the festival,” she said.

“We’ve worked out that about 80% of our visitors come from outside Hartlepool so if we could get more of those already living in the town along then that would be great.

“Previously we’ve had events at the Town Hall Theatre, but we actually outgrew it which is why we have had to move to the Borough Hall as we can get almost 1,200 people in there.

“It’s definitely getting bigger year on year and it feels great to be able grow into it.”

Roger Donnison, 62, from Billingham, was one of those enjoying the fun.

“It’s my first time here but I’d seen it advertised and thought it was worth coming along too,” he said.

“Folk music isn’t exactly mainstream but it’s got a loyal following of people who always turn out when there are events like this put on.

“There’s been plenty of different acts on performing and it’s also being held in a nice location so you can have a look at the navy museum next door if you want to do that.”