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Music Editorial

farafolk.jpg Want folk? Go Allen Valleys!

How do you make Allen Valleys – set in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – even more beautiful? Gently plonk a three-day folk festival within it and then add plenty of good cheer.

Of course a festival – even one set in a spectacular location – lives or dies on the quality of its line-up and, once again, the Allen Valleys Folk Festival have pulled rabbits out of hats to bring us a programme that is the equal of it environs. Among the acts appearing this year look out for Fara (pictured) four musicians at the very forefront of the Scottish folk scene who produce a fiery sound strongly rooted in their upbringing among the music of Orkney.

EZZA, meanwhile, stand out from previous famous tuareg bands by taking their sound off-road down some distinctly unusual routes by way of modern rock, African pulse, rhythmic trances and relentless groove. Their desert blues-rock is a real force of nature in the live arena and should not be missed.

As an artist Sam Lee traverses many worlds, challenging and pioneering folk music in diverse ways, and his Sunday afternoon set – with friends – is eagerly anticipated.

The line-up also features Damien O’Kane (whose relaxed vocal style exudes warmth); Twelfth Day (featuring two distinct voices, fiddle and peddle harp); Maz O’Connor (London-based singer, songwriter and musician); klezmer/Balkan beats/gypsy jazz bohemians Tantz; Awry (known for their ‘psychegaelic ceilidh’); as well Diddly Squat, Kat Davidson, Pons Aelius and Wayward Jane. The festival will take place in three indoor locations – Allendale Village Hall, Allendale Primary School and St Cuthberts Church – and information on a range of accommodation, from five star luxury to campsites, can be gleaned from their website.

Allen Valleys Folk Festival, Friday September 29-Sunday 1 October, Weekend Pass £55 before 31 July, £65 after 31 July. Youth, and a range of other tickets, are also available for different sessions. allenvalleysfolkfestival.co.uk