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Festival Is Music To The Ears

Lancaster is gearing up for one of its busiest long weekends of the year – the city’s Music Festival which runs from October 12-15.

Venues will be overflowing with music lovers as sounds, beats and harmonies from around the district and the world are heard at locations large, small and unusual across the city.

Lancaster can boast one of the country’s largest city and grassroots music festivals which is now in its 13th year. Thousands of people attended the 2022 festival which hosted 525 performances and helped to produce a £2.3 million boost to the local economy.

For 2023, the festival will be hosting more out of town grassroots and emerging acts than in recent years.

From the Scottish, Balkan folk fusion sound of Blue Giant Orkestar and the Latin rock of Eljuri from Ecuador and New York, to Manchester punk band, Loose Articles; Austrian indie beatboxers, Uptown Monotones and the Gazelleband’s Middle Eastern oud and buzuq music, the festival continues to present Lancaster audiences with an eclectic choice.

And Lancaster-based favourites, The Lovely Eggs will be playing at Kanteena on Friday. Tickets can be booked via the festival website.

New attractions for 2023 include performances on unusual instruments in Market Square and The Herbarium and an attempt by concert pianist, Siqian Li, to play every acoustic piano in the city centre.

There will be more than 60 festival venues across Lancaster, including Lancaster Castle and Priory, shops, a canal boat, and two public squares, all hosting acts playing a wide range of music genres.

The Storey Gardens are a new venue this year, hosting The Craic Inn on Saturday and Sunday when a wealth of celtic sounds can be enjoyed.

Last year, 85% of the acts were local although the festival is truly international with performances by musicians from the USA, Europe, Asia and Africa including the Songs From Home programme at Lancaster Priory.

Most of the festival performances are free, family friendly, cover all musical tastes and are suitable for every age group.

Pubs play a major role hosting events from The White Cross on the canalside to the Tite and Lock at Lancaster Railway Station as well as many more within the city centre itself.

And as if listening to the vast array of music on offer isn’t enough, there’s plenty of opportunities for festivalgoers to participate too.

Among workshops hosted by The Gregson will be African singing where festivalgoers can learn Zimbabwean songs and have the chance to perform them at Lancaster Priory. South African guitarist, Tony Cox will lead a fingerstyle guitar masterclass, and there will be Galician and retro dance workshops too.

Other weekend workshops include an Arabic music masterclass, Dhol and Chinese drumming at The Storey; kazoo playing and unusual instrument craft activities at the Library, and Afro Brazilian dance in Dalton Square.

And on the Sunday, songwriter, Kriss Foster will be in St Nicholas Arcade ready to inspire people to write a song in 15 minutes while in Marketgate, there’s a chance to explore the magic of one of Mozart’s famous works by conducting Lancaster’s Haffner Orchestra.

Even if you’re just popping into a shop or café during the weekend, you might well come across one of a variety of Busk Stops, musicians popping up to perform around the city, or request a song at the Shop Front Juke Box.

Lancaster Music Festival is supported by a number of sponsors and funders including the Arts Council and Lancaster BID and the full line-up is now available in the official Festival Guide at venues and on the festival website: lancastermusicfestival.com

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