A HOMEGROWN festival, of music, dance, food, drink, culture and all things entertainment began its milestone 10th year this week.

Music on the Marr festival at Castle Carrock kicked off on Thursday, and will continue until tomorrow evening.

Bringing together local talent and acts from further afield, the festival has gone from strength to strength since it was first organised by the residents of Castle Carrock 10 years ago.

Still maintaining the family-friendly, homegrown community atmosphere, the festival has nevertheless grown in the last decade, winning Carlisle Living’s best community arts initiative in 2018.

From the traditional English delights of the Hexham Morris Men to Music on the Marr young musicians’ showcase graduates The Huff, the first day of the festival was an entertaining blend of music and folk culture.

As is tradition for the festival, the opening night closed with a ‘pay what you can afford’ concert, headlined by the exuberant north east band The Baghdaddies.

The ‘pay what you want’ event is, according to festival director Richard Johnstone, reflective of the ethos of the non-profit festival.

He said: “It’s part of our ethos to bring live music to this part of rural Cumbria and share it with an audience who otherwise might not experience it.

“Thursday got us off to a barnstorming start with much merriment and a lot of dancing.

“We do not expect any let up in the quality before we close on Sunday.”

Ticket sales have been strong in the run up to the beginning of the festival.

Particular interest has been expressed from festivalgoers in a tribute from some of the biggest names in folk music to the festival’s patron Roy Bailey, who died last year. Frankie Armstrong, Leon Rosselson, Nancy Kerr, James Fagan and Martin Simpson will feature in a one-off collective on Saturday afternoon, playing a special set of the songs Roy Bailey made famous.

The festival is more than music however, with a host of events and attractions to cater to all tastes.

The weekend will feature an artisans’ market, magicians, circus performers, poetry, nature walks, willow weaving and puppet making, and a series of beginners’ and improvers’ workshops in a range of crafts and skills.

The festival is producing an anniversary book to mark its 10-year milestone.

A Decade of Dancing can be ordered via email at the following address - mombook19@gmail.com.

The headline acts were Tide Lines last night, and multi-award winners Merry Hell tonight.