FROM Friday to Sunday Ulverston will host a celebration of the best of Furness traditions in living, working and entertaining and to mark the festival we are taking a look back to how it all started 20 years ago.This year's performers include Iona Fyfe and Katie Doherty and the Navigators, plus a host of story tellers and dancing to the Tumbling Tom Big Band and the Furness Tradition Community Band.

As part of the build up to the first event in 1999, the Mail on July 15, noted: "A two-day celebration of social, recreational and industrial traditions in Furness, the Furness Tradition Folklore Festival,takes place in Ulverston next weekend.

"The unique festival will bring together a wealth of traditional music, song, dance, sports, working crafts and rural industry in celebration of the Furness area's cultural heritage.

"Virtually the whole of Ulverston will be involved in the festival in one way or another, with activities taking place throughout the town centre as well as at the Lanternhouse, the Coronation Hall, Glaxo Social Club, The Gill and Flan Hill."

There were to be workshops in The Ellers - at the Lanternhouse base of Welfare International - with Furness Clog Steps, in vocal harmony with Stanza and in playing the Jew's harp with Dave Goulder."

Planning for this first event went back to at least September 1998 when a public meeting was held at the Glaxo Sports Club, in Cavendish Street, to seek support.

Events to raise funds for the new festival included a music night at the Furness Folk Club, with performers including singer - and former Ulverston town crier - Stuart Lawrence.

Also supporting the event at the Cavendish Arms,Dalton,  was the five-piece female harmony group Bella Acapella, songwriter Mike Willoughby, the Old Friends Ceilidh Band and Furness Clog Dancers.

A report on July 17 on the 2000 event said children had been learning traditional dance steps at a series of school workshops led by musicians Mike Willoughby, Carolyn Francis and Les Ord.

It noted: "The children's work culminated with the spectacular Steps in Time concert at the Coronation Hall on Saturday afternoon,featuring many tin whistles."

In July 2001 the conditions were right for a great spectacle but the county-wide foot-and-mouth outbreak kept many of the tourists away from outdoor events.

Events co-ordinator Mike Kermode said: "The weather was great, It was brilliant actually.

"The locals seemed to turn out but there were perhaps fewer visitors than last year.

"But all in all it has been the best one yet."

The Mail, on Monday, July 15 in 2002, noted:"Visitors from as far afield as Wales, Scotland, Lincoln and Liverpool enjoyed dancing and singing in the streets, a puppet show, a gurning contest and were even able to watch the building of a Mongolian hut in the town centre."

Entertainers included Electric Folkwok, the Ultimate Roots band and the St Bernard's School Karafolkie band."

You can find details of this weekend's Ulverston events on the website at