Classical piano, wartime crooners, and Britain's Got Talent stars: audible extravaganza Lancaster Music Festival returns

One of the largest urban music festivals in the country, the Lancaster Music Festival returns for its 12th edition this October, with the four-day extravaganza set to include some 400 performances courtesy of more than 200 different musical acts.
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Set to welcome huge crowds with 95% of the shows free to attend - only the headline stage and some other special events will be ticketed or pay-as-you-feel - the festival has emerged as one of the hottest on the North West calendar. And this year, it has some surprises in store, too.

Taking place from October 13th to Sunday 16th, Lancaster Music Festival will this year be rolling back the clock by dedicating part of its always-intriguing programme to the music of 1822 and 1942, reflecting the audible styles of the Regency period and the wartime years.

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“Excited festival-goers will descend on the historic city of Lancaster for a long weekend of music and merriment,” says a spokesperson. “There will be music throughout the city in over 50 venues, from the courtyard inside Lancaster Castle to cafés and coffee shops, through the city’s squares and outdoor spaces, and in the majority of the city's 30-odd wonderful pubs and bars.

Britain's Got Talent star Alfie BridgensBritain's Got Talent star Alfie Bridgens
Britain's Got Talent star Alfie Bridgens

“Our grassroots festival celebrates the wonderful diversity and quality of musicians and performers in the local area whilst also inviting acts from all over the globe. We can promise there will be something for everyone to enjoy, no matter what age or musical taste. Let the music play.”

Iconic locations such as The Judges’ Lodgings and others which date back to 1822 when Lancaster was experiencing a boom thanks to its port, will be hosting Lancaster Music Festival events for the first time, with other performances also set to take place at Lancaster Priory.

The likes of classically-trained pianist and vocalist Matt Millership - also known as ‘Tensheds’ - will be on show, as will pianist Siqian Li, who is set to perform classical piano pieces from 1822. English folk music, classical guitar, and virtuoso violin performances from award-winning Royal College of Music graduate Laure Chan are also on the cards.

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Harking back to the ‘40s, the festival - run by a not-for-profit community organisation and partly funded by the Arts Council and Lancaster BID - is also set to take over Lancaster’s Market Square, which will host an afternoon of wartime ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) nostalgia.

Awardwinning violinist Laure ChanAwardwinning violinist Laure Chan
Awardwinning violinist Laure Chan

Other 1942-based attractions will include Britain’s Got Talent star Alfie Bridgens, who will be performing with his ukulele orchestra after leading a free ukulele workshop in the City Museum, as well as the Lancaster Lindy Hop Circle, American dance band The Billionaires, crooner Alexander Oswald, Lancaster City Brass, MC Chellac, and retro-pop singer Georgia Crandon.

“This 1942 project is important to Lancaster Music Festival as it allows us an interesting way of connecting with young people through a specific musical genre,” says Lucy Reynolds, Lancaster Music Festival director. “It’s a fabulous portal between the music of then and now.

“Our activity was inspired quite simply by the wonderful music of the 1940s and the interest young people show in vintage generally and the 1940s specifically,” adds Lucy.”It’s been an absolute delight engaging with the museum, history, and music of this time.”

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