It’s Friday afternoon and Lancaster Music Festival is kicking off in earnest in bars, pubs, cafes, shops and outdoor spaces across the city.
Last year, a reported 67,000 people made their way into Lancaster for what is now the undisputed biggest event on the city’s calendar, putting no less than £1m into the local economy.
It’s what has given Lancaster the national reputation as a musical mecca and hotbed of talent rivalling even, some say, Austin, Texas, and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Due to Lancaster’s relatively insular geography, and unwillingness of the national media to look outside the country’s major cities however, this claim to fame remains a bit of a local secret.
So it’s down to us in the know, and those travelling into the city for their annual musical pilgrimage, to make the most of it and share this unique and vibrant experience far and wide.
This year, musicians from Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Ghana, Armenia and USA as well as Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and London join our hugely talented pool of bands and music makers from Lancaster, Morecambe, Galgate, Hutton Roof, Carnforth and the rest of the district for one big party.
Music kicked off on Thursday at 3pm at The Stonewell Tavern with The New Band, and runs straight through to 1am on Tuesday morning at the Robert Gillow with Adverse Camber. The Gillow incidentally is not closing at all between those times.
At 1pm today, Friday, Brazilian jazz artist Clara Valente opens up the Lancaster Castle stage, followed by another Brazilian act in the form of duo Estrela Leminski and Teo Ruiz.
Music at the castle continues throughout the afternoon and into the early evening with alternative folk from Portraits, jazz from Quay Change, retro Hammond with Get Carter, indie pop from Man About A Dog, and funk rock from Sensory Hoverload.
But wherever you go in the city this weekend, and we do recommend you have a good look around the place, you’re likely to find someone with a musical instrument. And they’ll know how to use it. The full programme is here – www.lancastermusicfestival.com.
The festival only comes around once a year, and as the excellent Facebook meme depicting Sean Bean’s Ned Stark proclaims “One does not simply not go to Lancaster Music Festival”, what, indeed, are you waiting for?