A CLASSICAL music festival will take place in July at St Andrews Church in Corbridge.

The 24th annual Corbridge Chamber Music Festival will be held from July 28 until July 31.

Since starting the festival in 1999, joint Artistic Director and clarinetist Robert Plane said he and the other three festival directors 'never imagined it would go on for so long or that it would become so popular'.

His wife Lucy is part of the Gould Piano Trio, who are also joint artistic directors of the festival.

"People travel far and wide to come and we're really grateful to have set up something we can be experimental in," Robert said.

There will be three days of concerts at all times of day, plus other events such as the community Come and Play event, where any students or amateur musicians can play alongside professional musicians.

Aimed at players who are roughly Grade 6 standard, Robert said local amateur orchestras and students have the unique opportunity to share a music stand and sit next to professional players. 

"There's a very active classical music scene in the North East, and we're looking forward to this very much," he said.

Sinéad Morrissey, a poet and narrator, will recite one of her collaborative poetry pieces at Forum Books in Corbridge.

"We're trying to be as inclusive, as varied, and as imaginative with our events as possible," Robert said. 

Special guests have been announced to perform, including the Elias String Quartet, whose second violinist is a Scottish folk fiddler who will perform classically-inspired folk pieces, double bassist Roberto Carrillo-Garcia and composer in residence, Piers Hellawell.

Robert said the musicians are people they've worked with closely in other contexts.

Robert and Lucy lived in Corbridge 22 years ago and said coming back to Corbridge feels like returning home.

"The festival's always a real highlight, we get to know so many of the audience as so many have been there since the beginning, it feels like a very personal experience. It's a lovely part of the world to come to, even 22 years after we left Corbridge, there's an element of homecoming."

"There's a mix of everything in Corbridge - it's got great food, great places to go walking - it's got a full holistic package.

"I think there's a real appreciation of live events again, there's an idea of all being in a space together enjoying something artistic," Robert said.

For more information and to book tickets for the festival, go to their website corbridgefestival.co.uk.