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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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Great music, good beer and lots of sunshine combine at Music on the Marr festival

Weekends in Cumbria really don’t get much better than this – fantastic music at a festival next to a great pub serving the best in local ales, a range of excellent food and everyone in a good mood.

Amy Hill   photo
Amy Hill

Yes, even before you add in the constant sunshine, Music on the Marr at Castle Carrock had all the ingredients for a perfect weekend with the only flies in the ointment being the midges who were doing their best to eat the festival goers alive.

Folk and traditional music was served up in a marquee next to the Duke of Cumberland pub with the church and school also providing a platform for talent ranging from local children to awarding- winning stars of the folk scene.

Highlights included Africa Entsha, an astonishing acapella group from Soweto who held the audience spellbound with their singing, and Manran, whose Scottish folk rock provided one of the raucous, thigh-slapping finales that closed each of the four nights of the festival.

There was also time during the festival to showcase new talent, workshops, poetry readings and communal singing.

Over 800 attended this, the fourth, Music on the Marr and those visiting Castle Carrock for the first time were seeing Cumbria at its best.

Emma Goodman, of the Off the Wall cafe which was providing food over the weekend, reckoned it had been the best atmosphere she’d experienced at any Music of the Marr festival.

“Perhaps it has taken a couple of years to establish itself as people have told their friends how good it is.

“People who are visiting here have been talking about how friendly it is and some have said how much they’d like to move here,” she said.

One of Music on the Marr’s biggest fans is Bill Bremner who cycled 550 miles to be there, stopping off for a break from a charity ride to raise funds to fight Parkinson’s disease which recently claimed his brother’s life.

“I love the people here and love the place - it’s so laid back. You can go to bigger festivals like Glastonbury, but then you just get swept along by so many people,” he said.

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