THE fifth Allen Valleys Folk Festival took place at the weekend, with good weather complementing the fiery Allendale Wolf, now one of the festival’s highlights.

This year’s artists had broad appeal, from the traditional Gaelic lyrics of the Rachel Newton Trio to the foot stomping West African urban funk of Matuki, a Bristol-based eight piece band whose reputation soared after their Glastonbury debut in 2015.

This year’s festival had a strong female line-up, and music programme director Rob Kitchen was pleased that there was a good gender balance.

Rob said: “Folk music is often seen as predominantly male territory, but it’s always been our aim to achieve a balance between male and female performers. I’m pleased to say we have now achieved that.”

There was a moment of sadness as Glynn Galley brought news that George Welch would be unable to perform on the Sunday after suffering a heart attack.

Happily, the Geordie folk legend is recovering in the RVI in Newcastle and will hopefully be back next year.

Festival chairman Peter Aldcroft said: “This festival achieved both quality and diversity.

“My own highlights were last year’s Youth Folk Award winners, The McGoldrick Sisters, who played a flawless 30-minute set in the village hall, and Will Pound and Eddy Jay, who mesmerized the capacity audience and achieved St Cuthbert’s Church first ever standing ovation.”

Alongside the music, dancing in the square was as lively as ever, as was the full workshop programme.

This year’s Youth Folk Award went to 15 year old piper Jack Famelton from Langley, while Allendale’s pubs, shops and cafes enjoyed a bumper weekend.

The festival closed with Tales & Tunes from Kathryn Tickell, David Almond and Amy Thatcher, who performed to a packed village hall on Sunday afternoon.