FURNESS Tradition’s 21st folk festival weekend is mere weeks away.

Proceedings begin on the Thursday, July 11, with an informal tune laden warm up evening from 8pm in the Hope and Anchor gardens on Ulverston’s Daltongate.

Friday, July 12, festival goers can gather from 8pm at the Coronation Hall, for dancing to Furness Tradition Community Band with caller Joe Fairclough.

Come Saturday, July 13, and its the big one, with a massive day for the festival starting with a parade of dancers from the Coro to Market Cross and three top notch Cumbrian roots music bands: Mike Willoughby’s Raving Rock, Cuttery Coo and Baab who all retire to the Hope and Anchor for a Raving, Cuttery Baab session at 3pm.

The main events start at noon with an acoustic concert from all festival guests in the Coronation Hall Supper Room.

Elsewhere on Saturday, a host of dance sides will be blazing a toe-tapping trail across the highways and byways of Ulverston.

Central to the festival is the Big Merry Neet at the Coronation Hall, on the Saturday night (7.30pm), a real party event with the Tumbling Tom Big Dance Band and a terrific line up of music acts.

The bill stars Aberdeenshire folk singer, Iona Fyfe, Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018; two of the hottest young musicians on the traditional music scene, fiddle player Benedict Morris and guitarist, Cormac Crummey, as well as American singer Debra Cowan.

Also on the bill will be Katie Doherty and the Navigators.

Katie is an award-winning songwriter and composed the score for the rural touring musical Beyond the End of The Road.

A growing part of FT’s festival has been a focus on storytelling and this year organisers stage storytelling shows throughout Saturday at Natterjacks Coffee House, from 10am-6.30pm. The programme features seven storytellers, including the distinguished doyen of tale tellers, Taffy Thomas, who will launch his new book The Magpie’s Nest.

FT’s Gordon Jones said there’s a lot to look forward to at this year’s festival, especially the top event Big Merry Neet: “We will use three stages to present all our festival concert artists and also have a grand knees up to Tumbling Tom Big Dance Band; it’s going to be a big old party night with stunning concert performances and lots of fun.”

For full festival details, tickets and more go online at www.furnesstradition.org.uk.