Castle will host live music for first time in 1,000 years

Francesca Lewis and Ben Ruth at Lancaster Castle
Francesca Lewis and Ben Ruth at Lancaster Castle

For the first time in its 1,000 year history, Lancaster Castle’s courtyard will become the stunning setting for a three day festival of live music.

After a millenium as a place where punishment and incarceration was the order of the day, the castle will be transformed into a concert venue for musicians from across the world, becoming the main location for Lancaster Music Festival due to take place between October 10 - 12.

The castle has been a military outpost against seething Scottish hordes, a prison, a military outpost against besieging Royalists, a prison, a police training grounds, a prison again.

Within its walls there have been historic and tragic cases of justice, and injustice, including Catholic martyrs, “witches”, Chartists, folk transported to the Colonies, counterfeiters and the Birmingham Six.

Now the castle is a place of art and learning, food and drink, relaxation and history, and for the first time ever in its long history - live music.

Ben Ruth, Lancaster Music Festival coordination said: “The whole team, and it seems the whole of Lancaster, are very excited that after 1,000 years we’re going to be rocking the castle walls.

“The weather is of course going to be lovely and the music will be stunning.

“The whole event will be filmed by SAM Films of Blackpool, and there will be a large stage to the left of the entrance.

“We’ve been trying to get the castle on board for three years, and this is just the cherry on the cake of this year’s Lancaster Music Festival.

“We want to put Lancaster on the map internationally, and having the castle on board will be a big step to achieving that. “

Chris Adcock, from the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “The Duchy is delighted to be working with the organisers of the music festival in this way for the first time. It is one of the ways we are fulfilling our aim of establishing the castle as an exciting events venue for both the local people of the Lancaster district and visitors from further afield.

“We are working hard to bring people to Lancaster and have the castle recognised and visited by a much wider and more diverse range of people in the future.”

Music starts on Friday October 10 at noon with Lancaster’s finest acoustic and semi-acoustic talent.

On Saturday the feature is the national acts on the festival roster and on Sunday the Castle weekend is wrapped up with a showcase of the international acts performing in Lancaster this year.

There will be a £1 entry fee, with subsequent £1 payments for re-entry, and no tickets are needed.

Lancaster businesses Nu Blue and Lancaster Brewery, and Thwaites of Lancashire, have sponsored the event.

The castle is the headline venue amongst the 44 locations taking part in the sixth Lancaster Music Festival, and the 23 concerts at the castle are a significant contribution to the over 200 performances happening over the weekend.