We are back to that time of year when Shepley village goes into party mode as the Shepley Spring Festival hits town. This year sees the sixth running of the Festival, which has rapidly become a major feature of village life. People from all over the country – many of them now firm friends with the locals – descend on Shepley to enter into the spirit of the Festival and enjoy the wide range of activities. The event is getting a boost locally as it is has been shortlisted for a Community Event award. Its national reputation is already well-established.
After the Elkie Brooks concert on Thursday the Festival continues from Friday lunchtime, with major concerts every afternoon and evening in the two main venues. Amongst the many highlights is an appearance on the Friday evening of the Demon Barbers Roadshow and this is bound to be a party night, particularly with support in the form of a return visit from Quebecois trio Genticorum!
Saturday is headlined by another band with energy to burn: Treacherous Orchestra. This eleven-piece band from Scotland (where would this Festival be without bagpipes?) plays “music with ferocity, verve and passion” and will have everyone out of their seats, as will the other big name on the bill, the new The Albion Band, fresh from a month long tour of Britain and the release of their inspiring album ‘Vice of the People’. The final Sunday evening concert featuring the Wilsons, The Melrose Quartet and Tim Edey & Brendan Power is headlined by singer and multi–instrumentalist Phil Beer. Relax with cake and a cuppa and listen as Dave Eyre chats with Phil on Sunday afternoon.
The main concerts are just a small part of what goes on. Friday and Saturday ceilidhs are with Hekety and Tickled Pink respectively. Saturday sees a special event ‘Four Families of Folk’, a concert of traditional unaccompanied song with Shepley residents Will, Lydia and Cuthbert Noble plus The Wilson Family, The Davenports and Ruth & Sadie Price. The artist list has lots of familiar names including festival patron Roy Bailey and a few you may not know yet! Full details on the website www.shepleyspringfestival.com
Live music on the bar stage includes ‘Flats and Sharps’ an exciting young bluegrass band from Cornwall, Sail Pattern offering a raucous broadside of shanty music with an energetic edge and on Sunday evening a party finale with Wilful Missing, whose music features on TV’s Waterloo Road. There are lots of dance displays on the outdoor stage, a food village featuring a ridiculously wide range of foods, a Craft Market and Farmers’ Market (Sunday), lots and lots of activities for children plus workshops and song or music sessions.
‘Shepley Springboard’ has a national reputation as a showcase for talented young musicians: Past performers here include Lucy Farrell and Jonny Kearney, Lucy Ward, Ewan McLennan and Shepley’s own Jack Rutter who graduated from here to win the prestigious BBC Young Folk Award with Moore, Moss and Rutter.
Tickets for main concerts, including Elkie Brooks, are available through booking agency Ticket South either online at www.ticketsouth.co.uk or by telephone on 023 8071 1818.