Each year, the organisers of the Grassington Festival strive to bring world-class talent to the Dales and this year’s festival looks set to be another star-studded affair, with the announcement of the full line-up for 2013 revealing some big names.

But it’s not just the calibre of its performers that makes this 2013 programme shine – alongside huge names like Jack Dee, Jools Holland, Black Dyke Band and the legendary festival folk rockers Levellers, you’ll also find plenty of quirky events celebrating all that’s great about Yorkshire and its Dales communities.

Star attraction Jack Dee

Star attraction Jack Dee

What’s more, after last summer’s awful weather – which caused many UK festivals to cancel, and left the Grassington team persevering against all odds – this year, the Festival’s organisers have hatched an ingenious plan to ensure rain doesn’t stop play. The Square will be transformed into an all-weather haven, complete with cover.

Visitors can even create their own weather report from our Festival Weather Booth, which will be broadcasting a local weather report every day.

And if that isn’t enough to celebrate, then there’ll also be three significant anniversaries to raise a glass to. Firstly the distinguished classical performers Raphael Wallfisch (cello) and Peter Donohoe (piano) are both celebrating their 60th birthdays with a special gala concert.  Levellers will be celebrating 25 years together, while the stunning a cappella vocal group, The Swingle Singers will be joining the festival as part of their tour to commemorate their 50th anniversary. And festival goers will even be invited to sample a glass or two of FestivALE – a specialist ale brewed with Grassington Festival revellers in mind.

Launching the Festival on the opening night will be The Beat, one of the most memorable bands of the two-tone movement, who promise to raise the Town Hall roof singing familiar hits like ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’, ‘Too Nice To Talk To’, ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You’, ‘Hands off She’s Mine’ and ‘All Out To Get You’.  And, making a welcome come back after a sell-out 2009 show will be THE ORCHESTRA, featuring former members of ELO, who’ll be livening up the Festival in the Field Marquee with songs like ‘Mr Blue Sky’ and ‘Roll Over Beethoven’.

Theatre this year includes Jessica Walker’s acclaimed one woman show Pat Kirkwood is Angry, on the life of times of one of Britain’s superstar singers of the second world war. And the venerable doyenne of Fleet Street, Virginia Ironside brings Growing Old Disgracefully, her hilarious and ironic take on life at 60.  Aireville School will present a promenade performance of Tunstill’s Men focusing on Grassington men who signed up to fight for King and Country in the first world war.

As usual, the festival has a packed family events programme this year, including Bunk Puppets and Scamp Theatre who are back after the success of last year’s “Swamp Juice”, with a new show Slapdash Galaxy; and theatre group Illyria bring us Dick King Smith’s Babe: The Sheep Pig, in the beautiful setting of Bolton Abbey Priory.

There will be the usual programme of workshops, with diverse learning experiences for visitors that range from dry stone walling and laughter yoga to singing Handel’s The Messiah.  Alongside this are guided Festival walks, gigs in bars, all sorts of Grassington Festival Fringe performances and live poetry events.

Visitors can sample a real taste of Yorkshire on offer with a mini Food Festival in the Square with food demonstrations and the Yorkshire Pudding World Championships on Linton Green. Local restaurants are creating inspirational and adventurous food events including From Lake to Plate with Kilnsey Park, a fascinating Foraging Masterclass with Chris Bax and Grassington House, and a Mozart Opera Dinner presented by The Angel Inn, Hetton.

Grassington Festival Director, Kate Beard, said,  “We make sure the festival reaches all areas of our community from local schools to care homes and provides lots of opportunities for everyone to join in. Ida Barr, the Victorian Music Hall superstar rapper, will be working at Gills Top and Threshfield Court care homes using music to inspire and involve the older residents of our village. Jacqui Wicks will be inviting you to form a Ukulele orchestra with a ukulele songbook created for the Festival. Dales Jam will be working across Craven on a very special commission which will premiere at the Festival this summer and the marvelous Hope and Social will return to wow us once again and create A Band Anyone Can Join.”

Grassington Festival has been bringing a unique combination of world renowned high profile music and comedy acts, visual and performing arts and family focussed community arts events to the Dales for over 30 years. And the festival is, as ever, hugely grateful for the fantastic support of its many sponsors and patrons.

Grassington Festival 2013 takes place in Grassington near Skipton, North Yorkshire, from Friday 14 June to Saturday 29 June 2013.

Tickets are available to purchase from this week. To find out how to become a Festival Patron and to ensure priority booking, or enquire about sponsorship opportunities, visit the  website: www.grassington-festival.org.uk

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