Organisers of the 2024 Swaledale Festival have announced a full line-up of 55 events featuring leading artists and performers.

The festival begins on Saturday, May 25 and runs for two weeks at venues across Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale.

Festival patron Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason said: “It is with great excitement that I look towards Swaledale Festival this year. I was delighted to become a patron of the festival because of its commitment to celebrating the arts in every sense and for everyone.

"The festival’s emphasis on international music, literature, and the performing and creative arts lives alongside its nurturing of rural life and the local environment.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Rich Hall

"Swaledale Festival represents the heart of the community while saluting what is excellent, new, traditional or inspirational, welcoming artists from all over the UK and around the world. I am thrilled to be part of this inclusive, energetic and creative festival and 2024 will be another wonderful year.”

Among the performers is award-winning Montana comedian Rich Hall, who is renowned for his expertly crafted tirades, quick-fire banter with audiences and characterful musical sequences. Rich, who has won the Perrier Award (Edinburgh Comedy Festival) and featured in the BBC’s QI, Live at the Apollo and Have I Got News for You, will perform his one-man show Shot from Cannons on May 30 at Tennants in Leyburn. 

Graffiti Classics will bring their 16 strings, eight dancing feet and four voices to Grinton on June 8 with a musical comedy cabaret show. 

Classical Emma Johnson, Britain’s famous clarinettist and former BBC young musician of the year, will perform a musical response to the climate emergency with the 13-strong Orchestra for the Environment on June 6 in Richmond.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Emma Johnson

This group of hand-picked virtuoso players share concerns about the planet, endeavour to travel in the greenest way and make a point of performing music that celebrates the natural world.

The string quartet Revolutionary Drawing Room will play a programme of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Puccini and Rachel Stott on May 28 in Richmond, while Julian Lloyd Webber will narrate the story behind Bach’s Cello Suites on June 7 in Grinton, with performances of the Suites by his wife and fellow cellist, Jiaxin.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber

The celebrated cellist Raphael Wallfisch will lead an all-star performance of Olivier Messiaen’s haunting Quartet for the End of Time on June 5 in Aysgarth.

In Grinton, The Villiers Quartet will take the stage to perform Beethoven, Haydn & Goehr on May 31, while Martin Taylor, the Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist, composer and musical innovator widely considered to be the world’s foremost player of solo jazz guitar, will perform on June 2, and British-Ugandan singers The Ganda Boys will be joined by the London-based Echo Vocal Ensemble on May 27. 

Darlington and Stockton Times: Ganda Boys with Echo Vocal Ensemble

Multi-award-winning twins The Carrivick Sisters will perform original songs and instrumentals, along with a few carefully chosen covers, on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dobro and clawhammer banjo on June 7 in Low Row, while North East folk trio The Young’uns will perform on June 8 in Leyburn.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Carrivick Sisters

Swaledale Festival’s Young Artists Platform, which showcases emerging performers, will feature The Whoop Group, a young classical saxophone quartet from Poland, who will play Vivaldi, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Gershwin on May 25 in Grinton. Echo Vocal Ensemble, a group of young professional vocalists directed by Sarah Latto, will perform a cappella on May 26 in Aysgarth, and BONE-AFIDE, four of Europe’s leading young trombonists, will perform an arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s ballet music including Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet, on June 5 in Wensley.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Bone-Afide

There will also be a series of talks and workshops by speakers including Adam Green, who conducts singing workshops in prisons around the UK, on May 25 in Reeth. This year’s Reeth Lecture will be an illustrated talk on the music of The Beatles by "Whispering" Bob Harris and author Colin Hall on June 1, also in Reeth.

There will be plenty of opportunities to participate this year, including singing workshops and a creative-writing walk, while local talent such as Swale Singers, Leyburn Brass Band, Reeth Brass Band and Muker Silver Band will also feature. There are also exhibitions by local artists including painters Rachel Antill, Michael Bilton, Garry Brannigan and Katharine Holmes, and a photography exhibition in Keld, Farming through the Seasons, by Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected.

Swaledale Festival is supported by Arts Council England and runs from Saturday, May 25 to Saturday, June 8. The festival is a charity and includes an extensive community and education programme which takes top musicians into care homes, schools and for the first time this year, a prison.

Tickets cost £3 for under 25s, see to book and for further information.