Youngsters at schools from Chippenham and surrounding villages are preparing to get in the swing of Chippenham Folk Festival.

About 250 children from ten schools will take part in a day of learning to dance and sing on the first day of the festival, which runs from May 23 to 26.

At the end of the day they will take part in a mass ceilidh with music from The Downfielders a group made up of young people from local secondary schools.

Festival organiser Bob Berry, right, said: “The festival encourages youth and education and the first day of the festival is traditionally school’s day. But youths are well represented throughout as the National Youth Folklore Troupe of England uses Chippenham as its home festival.

“The musicians and dancers are good by any standard – they work hard for the whole weekend and put on brilliant shows. This group gets better and better each year and they have the real ‘wow’ factor that we love to see.”

Mr Berry is particularly pleased with this year’s line up, which will include the Demon Barber XL Show.

He said: “Each year the festival tries to make the programme simpler, but each year the enthusiasm and drive of the managers means that to achieve the best, the whole festival gets bigger.

"At times there will be ten events going on at different venues, all in the town centre and mainly focussed on the Island Park on the banks of the River Avon.

“This year’s line-up is really exciting with great display teams, champion ceilidh, and scintillating social dance line-ups.

“Most of the favourite venues are small and encourage participation – they have a folk club atmosphere and suit artists who can quickly establish a rapport with the audience.

"Artists like Grace Notes, The Wilson Family and Belshazzar’s Feast fit the bill.”

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