Festival is racing to its new venue
BEVERLEY Folk Festival has linked up with a leading East Riding arts centre to provide a wider range of entertainment than ever before.
Organisers are determined to make the best of switching to the new venue – Beverley Racecourse.
They are working alongside Pocklington Arts Centre to offer a wide selection of comedy.
As well as a huge folk offering, including big-name artists such as The Proclaimers and the Oysterband, the festival from June 21 to June 23 will welcome comics including John Shuttleworth and Irish/Iranian stand-up Patrick Monahan.
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Festival chairman Chris Wade said: "We have comedy every year but this time it's a bit bigger. We want to attract people to the festival, it's not just about folk music.
"We decided this year we would give it a big push. And we knew the racecourse already held comedy nights.
"We are in partnership with Pocklington Arts Centre as well as with different arts groups in the region. We've asked Pocklington to help run the comedy."
The switch to Beverley Racecourse from the leisure complex brings several advantages.
Marking its 30th anniversary, the festival will have a larger capacity and much-improved parking.
Ms Wade said: "We're not aiming to be much bigger this year. The capacity inside at the leisure complex was about 850 and the capacity in the marquee this year will be about 1,000. We don't know what external funding we will get so the festival has to be sustainable."
The festival has changed a lot since it was first established at The White Horse pub (Nellies) in 1983.
That famous venue no longer allows music and the festival has moved into other Beverley pubs, predominantly the Sun Inn in Flemingate and the Tiger Inn in Lairgate.
But the aim was always to attract better-known performers than could be accommodated in Beverley's pubs.
That sparked the move to the leisure complex and is also behind the switch to the racecourse.
However, organisers say they are still keen to keep pubs in the town involved.
Ms Wade said: "The reaction to the move to the racecourse has been very positive.
"It's about the same distance out of Beverley as the leisure centre was.
"We'll be running a shuttle bus so people can get round to the public sessions."
For more information, visit www.beverleyfestival.com or call 01377 217569.