A DIVERSE mix of classical, folk, flamenco and brass music, art, film, drama and poetry will be brought together from tomorrow (Saturday, May 24) with the launch of this year’s Swaledale Festival.

The two-week festival, taking place at locations across Swaledale and Wensleydale, is celebrating its 42nd year, and seventh under the direction of Malcolm Creese.

Mr Creese said he was excited about this year’s festival launch, with A4 steam locomotive Bittern acting as the venue to Leyburn Band, Trio Gitane and Rory McLeod while it makes it way from Leeming Bar station along the Wensleydale Railway.

He said: “If there was a theme then this year it would be diversity – we have puppet shows and steam trains and everything in between.

"As well as the classical concerts we have four local brass bands, solo instrumentalists and Brass Jaw - a fabulous jazz band.

“To be able to use Bittern for our launch is just fantastic. I managed to borrow it the day, which I never thought I’d be able to do, and Wensleydale Railway is also delighted to have it run on the line.”

Mr Creese said for the first time this year there would be silent film accompanied by pianist Alcyone Mick at Leyburn’s Old School House cinema on Monday, June 2.

Mr Creese added: “Now in its 42nd year, I think the festival has grown to around three times what it was when I took over seven years ago – hopefully growing in quality and diversity and not losing any of its charm.”

For programme information and tickets visit swalefest.org or call 01748-880019.