IT’S award winning, it’s funny, it’s musical and most importantly it’s been here.The Swaledale Festival is an art, music and walking event spreading itself across Wensleydale, Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, and as it reaches its crescendo this weekend we’re giving it a round of applause.

It’s reckoned the festival has an economic impact of £680,000 with around half the audiences coming from other parts of the UK, and even the world, especially for it, and in many cases even organising holidays around it.

So often the Dales can be seen as a preserved place, so stuffing the halls, churches and outdoor spaces with entertainment has to be a boost for locals and visitors alike. Bringing leading musicians and entertainers to the doorstep, instead of having to traipse many miles is a major achievement .

It goes back over 40 years and now presents a vast range of possibilities including world class classical, folk and jazz music, exceptional young artists, entertaining groups, drama, film, dance, art exhibitions, workshops, talks and guided walks in the beautiful Dales landscape.

Malcolm Creese, who is celebrating his tenth year as the artistic director, says they’ve had a theme running through the programme exploring the connections between ancient and modern music, with early music played on modern instruments and modern music on ancient ones, pairing Renaissance lute songs with famous rock starts tunes.

For the first time this year, under 25’ year-olds have been able to buy tickets for nearly every event for £3. So we say “bravo” for hitting the right notes and keeping the Dales on the musical as well as the walking map.