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Lancaster Music Festival set to bring thousands to city over four days

The Howling Clowns will be part of the 2023 Lancaster Music Festival

Lancaster Music Festival gets under way today (Thursday October 12) with thousands expected to descend on the city for four days of live music.

This year 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.

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 (pictured below); Austrian indie beatboxers, Uptown Monotones and the Gazelleband’s Middle Eastern oud and buzuq music, the festival will bring all kinds of different music to audiences across the city.

Last year, 85 per cent 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.

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.

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

Lancaster Music Festival gets under way on Thursday afternoon.

The first scheduled gig is by local musician Sam Frank at the John O'Gaunt on Market Street, starting at 3pm.

Among the performers on the first day are Amy Rae (George and Dragon, 4pm and Sun Hotel, 6pm - pictured below at the 2022 event), Jennie Wren (Cappuvino, 7pm), Eljuri (Kanteena, 7.30pm) and Zamaica (The Pub outdoor stage, 8pm).

Friday's line-up starts at The Dukes at 10am with Raven Tale Returns, an interactive story show for the under 5s.

Then from noon, there will be music in every nook and cranny of the city!

Pianist Siqian Li - who will attempt to play every acoustic piano in the city during the festival - will perform at a ticketed event at Lancaster Girls' Grammar School on Friday at 4.30pm.

Also look out for Lancaster singer-songwriter Amy Jo (pictured below) playing live in The Olive Room at the Gregson Centre at 5pm and at the Merchants at 8.15pm.

Other artists appearing on Friday across the city include Tom Woods, Hiroshima Twinkie, The Reggie Mental Band, Matt Appleton, The Fourth Colour, Killer Boots, The Beets, The Glass Poppies, Indifferent Monkey, The Howling Clowns, The Rest, Sold to the Sky and many more.

The young stars of the Lancaster Music Festival Academy - including Carnforth's singing sisters Gabriella and Jasmine T (pictured below on Michael McIntyre's Big Show on BBC1) and Holly Brown - will perform on the outdoor stage in Market Square on Friday afternoon and evening.

Lancaster duo The Lovely Eggs will appear at Kanteena at 9.30pm on Friday.

On Saturday, Beyond Radio will host the live music stage in Market Square.

The Market Square stage line up on Saturday October 14, hosted by Beyond Radio, is as follows:

11am Salsa in the Square

11.30am Kozomba Noroeste kizomba and semba dancing

Noon Salsa in the Square

12.30pm Kizomba Noroeste

1pm Hi Sienna - alternative pop

2.15pm Eljuri - Latin rock

3.15pm Do You Like Worms? - indie band

4pm Baybeat street band

4.45pm Sparkling Clogs - Lancashire cloggers collective

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.

Look out too for a 12-string Chinese orchestra playing inside the Lancaster Priory on Saturday morning.

Musicians will also pop in the most unexpected places across the city as the 'Busk Stops' series will include performances everywhere from Filberts Bakery to Simply Baby!

Live music will carry on across the city all day on Saturday with artists including Mark McKenna, Away from the Numbers, The Aerobees, Serenity Sam, Ashleigh Wood, Stuart Michaels, Rock It Man, Hawkmen, Dive!, Molly Warburton, Philip James Turner and The Crow Mandala, Harrison Rimmer, Manfredis, Shelly's Bane and The Rest, to name just a few.

Then the festival comes to a crescendo on Sunday with another full day of live music.

Look out for Benni Beard, Elena Reeve, The Craic Inn, The Howling Clowns, the Mizzen Crew, Three Chord Truth, The Section, Do You Like Worms? - and none other than 90s superstars Space (pictured below) on The Pub's outdoor stage for a sold-out gig on Sunday evening.

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

Music carries on for the whole of the day with The Groovecutters scheduled to be the final act at The Stonewell Tap late on Sunday.

Check out the full Lancaster Music Festival line-up here. 

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