WE’VE already had a smidgen of a summer in Cumbria, so more of the same will be most welcome as we head towards the half-way mark in 2017.
June is jam-packed full of festivals, and this year especially. There some major outdoor concerts at both ends of the county. Hopefully we can leave the wellies at home!
The month gets under way with two huge stadium concerts in Carlisle – you can still get your hands on tickets if you’re making last-minute plans.
UB40 arrive at Brunton Park on Friday June 2, kicking off the city’s spectacular summer line-up of live music, that will also see Jess Glynne, Bryan Adams and Little Mix arrive in the coming months. The reggae rock pioneers are still a big draw, but their set will be made all the more sweeter with a little sun shining on the stage.
A quick turn-around will see pop sensation Olly Murs pitching up at the same venue on Saturday 3rd. The X Factor runner-up is currently on his largest tour to date, with more than 10,000 people expected to pack into Carlisle United’s ground to be part of it all.
On a slightly smaller scale, the Keswick Beer Festival is competing for attention the same weekend. With its outdoor location at the foot of Skiddaw, there aren’t many better settings for a weekend of real ale and live music.
Ulverston is fast becoming the self-proclaimed “festival town” and it certainly lives up to the billing this month.
From Wednesday 7 to Saturday 17, the Ulverston International Music Festival takes over the Coronation Hall and a handful of church venues, with a line-up that includes some of the greatest names in British classical music. The English Touring Opera get things under way with a performance of Tosca, and the likes of Remi Harris, Michael Collins, O Duo and hometown favourite Jess Gillam appear over the course of the 11-day event.
As one festival draws to an end, Another Fine Fest sparks into action. So named in tribute to the Laurel and Hardy film Another Fine Mess, day one – Friday June 16 – coincides with Stan Laurel’s birthday. The most famous Ulverstonian would have no doubt loved the fine array of comedians the festival has to offer throughout the weekend, but the main day, Saturday 17, centres around an impressive programme of outdoor performances, while almost all the pubs are involved in welcoming more than 100 live bands and artists. All the action bar one stand-up show is free.
Cumbria’s biggest celebration of the great outdoors, the Keswick Mountain Festival, runs from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11. Taking place around (and on) Derwentwater, with a festival site at Crow Park hosting a massive lakeside stage, zip line and tons of stalls, food outlets, and the start/finish line for a long, long list of sporting events. Britpop stars Cast and singer-songwriter KT Tunstall headline the Friday and Saturday night music offerings respectively, while indoors at the nearby Theatre by the Lake, Paralympian Lauren Steadman and mountaineering legend Chris Bonington are among the speakers.
Appleby Horse Fair runs for about a week, but in truth, it’s only really Friday June 9, Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 where the event really comes to life. The biggest event of its kind in Europe, traditional gypsy and traveller gathering swells the population of the Eden town each year, while visitors can watch the traditional activities of travellers conducting horse sales and horses being washed in the river, as well as pulling painted caravans and wagons.
A lot of people will be combining a trip to the Horse Fair with a visit to the Cumberland Show. There’s a new location this year – East Park, in Brisco, Carlisle – but the same line-up of agricultural events, competitions and attractions that has made it one of the country’s greatest country shows since it started out in 1832. It arrives on Saturday June 17, and things begin early – there’s horse judging at 8am, with highlights such as the grand parade and a vintage vehicle display, before the traditional terrier racing brings it to a close in the early evening.
June rounds out by one of the summer’s biggest musical stars making a grand entrance. The racing weekend at Cartmel Racecourse is always a great day out, but the day’s programme on Friday June 30 has a special addition: Tom Jones live in concert. The Welsh singing icon will be performing all the hits from an incredible career spanning six decades.
By Karl Steele, Cumbria Live