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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Three-day Music on the Marr festival in Cumbria a real family event

It was a festival born out of love – and that passion is getting stronger every year.

Music on Marr festival photo
Folk rock singer Maddy Prior and wildlife expert John Miles lead visitors on a guided tour

Music on the Marr, at Castle Carrock, began three years ago following the wedding of Lorna and Rory Connolly.

Local girl Lorna had hired a marquee for the reception on the Saturday, only for it to be transformed the following day into the main tent for the village’s first music festival.

The entire community turned out to support it, prompting organisers to turn it into an annual event.

Three years later and it has grown from a one-off day of music to a three-day festival with camping, real ale, hog roast and arts market.

Starting on Thursday with a ‘pay what you can afford’ night of entertainment for the whole village, it continued through the weekend, with the grand finale on Saturday night.

The music was a mix of folk, blues, jazz and much more, combining talented local performers with well known acts from the national and even global music scene.

This year’s headliners were fast-rising American country/bluegrass band Larkin Poe and folk legend Peggy Seeger.

Enjoying the music – and the sunny weather – were people of all ages, both villagers and music fans from further afield. Local couple Hilary and John Holland have been at the festival every year but this time found themselves making some new Californian friends who were in the UK for the London Olympics.

“While they were here they were looking for a folk festival and just found this on the web. We spent the evening with them and they absolutely loved it,” said Hilary.

Jacqueline and Simon Stone were at the festival with six-year-old son Heathcliff, who attends the village school, for the first time. “We have a brilliant community here so we wanted to support it.

“It’s a real family event and Heathcliff is just loving all the music. He’s been so excited. It’s a great way to introduce children to live music.”

Lorna and Rory, whose wedding kick-started the whole festival, now live in Newcastle but were also back for the weekend to support it. “It brings back really good memories for us and the music is really good. It’s great to catch up with family too. Everyone is here,” she said.

Organiser Richard Johnstone said this year’s event has been a huge success, with about 750 visitors during the whole weekend. The additional Thursday night had attracted 260 people alone.

“It has become a real community event for Castle Carrock but it couldn’t happen without the stewards and all the other people who help out, some of who have been here from 7am until midnight for no pay,” he added.

More photos in today's News & Star

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