Lancaster Music Festival’s Resounding Success
Thousands of people were lost in music in Lancaster at the weekend, thanks to the country’s largest urban music festival.
The 12th Lancaster Music Festival transported locals and visitors alike from the Georgian era to the present day with more than 550 performances at more than fifty venues across the city. Lancaster rocked and rolled its way from boogie woogie to beatboxing, samba to ska, folk to funk, classical to country and pop to punk all in a four-day showcase of local musical talent as 80% of the acts were from Lancaster district.
An estimated 70,000 people attended the festival which saw participating pubs packed and standing room only in city centre squares. Festival director, Stuart Marshall, said: ‘What an amazing weekend! It was such a fun, fantastic few days full of all thing’s music in our brilliant city and so rewarding to see people coming together to support live music and local venues. ‘We have so many people to thank: the venues, funders and sponsors, the amazing acts who all put on such a great show and of course everyone who turned out to support the festival over the weekend’. And even those who weren’t visiting Lancaster for the festival couldn’t escape the variety of music performed everywhere in the city centre from shops and banks to museums and even a canal boat.
Lancaster’s very own The Lovely Eggs played a gig as part of Secret Lancaster Music Festival and city-based favourites Massive Wagons headlined one of two gigs at The Sugarhouse which joined as a festival venue for the first time. north west band, The Lottery Winners headlined the other.
Among other well-known artists appearing at the festival were BBC Folk Singer of the Year, Ríoghnach Connolly; Britain’s Got Talent star, Alfie Bridgens; internationally renowned pianist Siqian Li, violinist Laure Chan and pipa player, Cheng Yu; and X Factor finalist, Lancaster’s Paul Akister. Present day musicians paid homage to the past with performances reflecting the music of 1822 and 1942 and the future was represented by young bands playing on the Youth Stage in Market Square. Female involvement in the festival was noticeable and encouraged with More Music’s Girls Can take over at The Dukes featuring workshops, panels and performances. And there was plenty of musical inspiration for children at Dallas Road Primary School which staged its own mini music festival for the first time as part of the bigger event. The family friendly nature of the festival was encouraged with a range of workshops and activities which left old and young alike literally dancing in the streets.
Festival director and outdoor events producer, Lucy Reynolds, said: ‘It was a delight to see so many people totally full of joy and love for music, dance and Lancaster. The vibe was friendly and fun. Simply a perfect weekend.’ Among other venues participating for the first time this year were the Judges’ Lodgings and the Tite & Locke bar. The event even inspired a special festival beer.
An international feel was brought to the festival most poignantly with the Songs From Home programme at Lancaster Priory and East Meets West performances at The Storey. Dalton Square reverberated to Brazilian carnival sounds and there was a celtic celebration in Sun Square. Performances by German band Noam Bar and The Uptown Monotones from Austria were particularly popular too.
Lancaster Music Festival is run by a not-for profit community organisation and is partly funded by Arts Council England, Lancaster BID and Lancaster Brewery. It is supported by many other organisations.