Billingham International Folklore Festival gets funding boost

A Chilean dancer at last year's Billingham International Folklore Festival
A Chilean dancer at last year's Billingham International Folklore Festival

AN annual celebration of traditional dance and music from around the world is set to be another success after winning vital funding.

The 49th Billingham International Folklore Festival will take place in August when performers from across the globe will attend.

Organisers are looking forward to another great festival after being awarded a grant by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

In 2011 the festival entered a new era thanks to Arts Council funding by extending its programme to include modern and other styles of dance and introduced new innovative artistic work in addition to its established traditional focus.

After building on that success last year, organisers say this year’s grant will allow them to put on another modern and mesmerising event.

Artistic director Olga Maloney said: “We are delighted that Arts Council England is again supporting and endorsing the new image of our festival and our vision of its future.

“In 2014 the Billingham festival will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary and by introducing new contemporary styles and artists into the festival programme, we are hoping to gradually create a reputation for our festival as ‘a place to be’ for all the dance professionals, who can enjoy the creative platform for joint artistic work and professional development which our festival provides.

“We are also hoping that presenting new contemporary work alongside the traditional dances will allow us to attract much wider audiences and develop audience expectation of new work premiers at our festival.”

This year’s festival takes place between August 9-17 and will feature a host of traditional international dance and music companies.

Daily concerts will be held at venues across Billingham and also at Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Festival organisers are excited to announce The Lock In Dance folk and hip hop show at the Forum Theatre.