Shrewsbury Folk Festival declared a huge success on its return

Shrewsbury's Folk Festival arrived back on the stage in the finest of fashion at the weekend.

Thousands of music fans and festival-goers spent a sunny weekend at the Shrewsbury Showground, full of praise for the organisers who have jumped through hoops to ensure that the event could go ahead in the most Covid-secure way possible.

Two main stages out in the open replaced indoor marquees, something welcomed by audiences who were able to watch the music in the fresh air. Also created was an open air village with a host of attractions for people of all ages.

Shrewsbury Folk Festival has been a fixture at Shrewsbury's West Midlands Showground since 2007 and this year's headliners included Kate Rusby and the Longest Johns, whose sea shanty shot to number one in the charts earlier this year.

Festival-goers this year were asked to take lateral flow tests although it wasn't mandatory.

For one family, the festival has been an event for all the generations.

Paul and Bridget Woods have been going for many years and this weekend were there with their sons, three-year-old Idris and baby Sidney.

And they only had a short way to travel, just a mile or so from their home in Greenfields.

"'We were apprehensive at first," Bridget said.

"But as soon as we got here we relaxed."

"It is great to have a festival on our doorstep, we can enjoy the festival experience but go home to sleep."

A silent disco
Pendevig on the Cuckoo Stage
A miniature Morris dancer
Crowds enjoying the performances
Benito Kirkpatrick and The Excess on the Cuckoo Stage
Crowds enjoying the performance from Pendevig on the Cuckoo Stage
Esther Pigney, Izzy Monnick and Max Goodall. Photo: Steven Oliver Photography
Crowds at the folk festival. Photo: Steven Oliver Photography

Paul said he had been very impressed with the way organisers had ensured everything was out in the open to help with Covid safety.

"And there is so much for the children to do, like the circus tent. They have also been dancing to the music."

Bridget's parents were also at the festival as were her sister and family.

For Shrewsbury couple Kate Walker and James Holyhead, the festival has a special place in their hearts.

"Four years ago we came here on our third date." Kate said.

"I had tickets and asked James if he wanted to come along."

They have been going every year since, and this year friends went along too.

"They really enjoyed it and I'm sure will be coming again in the future," Paul said.

"We are not particularly 'folksy' people but it is great to be able to come to an event like this in your home town," Kate said.

For Melissa Roberts, 24, the festival has been part of her life since it began.

"My parents used to take me and then I got involved in the setting up and taking down crew," she said.

"That crew really has become like a special family to me."

Friend 25-year-old Thea Woodiwiss said Shrewsbury was a wonderful festival.

Among the attractions on Monday are the members of Junk Percussion, who use dustbin lids, drain pipes and more to make music. They are part of the 2021 Refolkus festival for the 11- to 20-years -olds.

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