The award-winning Swaledale Festival returns on May 25 with a packed line-up of music, arts and walking across Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale.

There will be 55 events across a fortnight in the area’s chapels, churches, halls and outdoor spaces, as well as five free art exhibitions.

For lovers of comedy, Rich Hall, from Montana in the US will perform his one-man show Shot from Cannons at Tennants in Leyburn, while those who fondly remember The Old Grey Whistle Test will enjoy an illustrated talk on the music of The Beatles by "Whispering" Bob Harris and author Colin Hall.

Darlington and Stockton Times: RIch Hall

Folk will feature in the form of Teesside trio The Young’uns, the Carrivick Sisters, harmonica and percussion duo Will Pound and Delia Stevens, fiddle and guitar wizards Arthur Coates and Kerran Cotterell and traditional Irish supergroup The Jeremiahs.

Jazz lovers will enjoy the world-renowned master of solo jazz guitar Martin Taylor, piano and saxophone duets from John Law and Jon Lloyd and the Chris Ingham Trio’s celebration of the music of Dudley Moore at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond.

Talented local musicians will play a big part in the festivities. Listeners will be treated to the evocative sounds of Leyburn, Muker and Reeth brass bands, the Swale Singers will perform music by Puccini, Elgar, Brahms and Fauré and Richmond School Jazz Collective will perform an informal late-night session at Tennants in Leyburn.

World music will be represented by the AKA Trio featuring the Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione, Senegalese kora master Seckou Keita and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale. There will be a foot-tapping feast of Argentinian music from the celebrated London Tango Quintet, and a concert by the UK-based Ugandan vocal duo The Ganda Boys.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Ganda Boys - credit Max Benoist

Britain’s best-known clarinettist and former BBC young musician of the year Emma Johnson will perform a musical response to the climate emergency with her 13-strong Orchestra for the Environment. Julian Lloyd Webber will narrate the story behind Bach’s Cello Suites, with performances of the Suites by his wife and fellow cellist, Jiaxin. Celebrated cellist Raphael Wallfisch will lead an all-star performance of Olivier Messiaen’s haunting Quartet for the End of Time.

There are also plenty of opportunities to participate in this year's festival. Wild food expert Jim Parums will take walkers on a foraging expedition in and around Hudswell Woods, Dales artist Katharine Holmes will lead an outdoor "ink and a stick" drawing session, local expert Rob Marsh will run a dry stone walling workshop and poet Mary-Jane Holmes will lead a creative walk. There will also be fun singing workshops for all abilities with The Ganda Boys and The Young’uns.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Carrivick Sisters

A selection of performances will be taken into eight schools and four care homes, free of charge. The festival is also taking 11 world-class musicians into a prison for the first time.

Artistic director Malcolm Creese said:: “There’ll be a large and varied feast of outstanding music, a good selection of films, talks, art exhibitions and guided walks, and plenty of opportunities for creative participation this year, so whether you’re a music fan, an arts lover, a keen walker, or you fancy trying something new, there is plenty to enjoy.”

Booking opens on March 11, and under 25s can get tickets to all events for just £3. For more information, and tickets, visit