CUMBRIA’s first festival since the coronavirus lockdown is officially taking place this month.

Summer Soul at Craven Park will feature the best of Barrow’s soul DJs in a day filled with motown, club classics, jazz funk, fusion and more.

The event, which is free admission, is the town and county’s first festival to take place since the Covid-19 lockdown was announced in March.

Since then, dozens of festivals have been forced to cancel or rearrange dates, including Glastonbury, which was set to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary.

The festival has been running in its usual site on Barrow Park for the past five years.

However, this year, organisers are hosting the popular soul and motown event in Craven Park on Sunday July 19.

Brian George, festival organiser, said ‘safety is paramount’ and there will be a number of social distancing guidelines in place.

He said: “Barrow Park unfortunately weren’t allowing any festivals so we had to find a new venue quite quickly.

“The rugby club was quite keen on us doing it there so we decided on Craven Park.

“I had a look last week and there’ll be social distancing between tables, a marquee, stewards all over the grounds - it will be a safe environment.

“There’ll be more social distancing there than inside a pub because of the shear size of the ground.

“There’s acres of space on a rugby field which means people can spread out and enjoy the music without feeling unsafe.”

The festival will feature avid soul and motown DJs who will only be permitted to play records.

Mr George said: “In Barrow there has always been a hardcore group of people keeping the soul scene alive.

“I’ve seen it come and go a few times but there’s been a huge resurgence in popularity in places like Blackpool, Manchester and Barrow.

“There’s a lot of the venues going more towards electronic type music but there’s always room for soul music.

“I put a rule in place where DJs are only allowed to play records because you’ll never get to hear records like that again. The quality is incredible.”

This year the event is helping raise money for the Croft Nursing Home in Barrow.

The Barrow-based charity provides accommodation, support and care for 46 adults with learning and physical disabilities.

Last year, the festival raised around £1,000 and played for around 500 to 1,000 people across a day of music.

The event will be held from 11.30am until 8pm.