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Hartlepool Family Folk Festival is back! Following the success of last year’s socially distanced family event, the completely free festival will take place this year on the 1st and 2nd October with a packed line-up across extraordinary venues on the spectacular heritage coastline.

This year, Hartlepool Headland will be transformed into a festival village, coming alive with concerts, sessions, performances, and dance displays.

Both the local community and festivalgoers from across the country will enjoy amazing performances in the heart of the festival at the Headland Town Square (known locally as the Squircle), a buzzing outdoor space and stage, while enjoying delicious food from independent local vendors, as well as all kinds of quirky and unique events in local pubs.

Performers, puppeteers, dancers and artists will be making magic inspired by the fire and shadows of autumn for the Family Folk Festival, which is free to attend.

Last year’s popular Let’s Circus and Apollo Music workshops will return, Magic Lantern Theatre will weave spellbinding stories in a mysterious old caravan, and Thingumajig Theatre will introduce families to a host of larger-than-life characters – including the ghosts of the deer which gave Hartlepool its name.

The festival is currently searching for one more volunteer to help operate a magical giant sea monster puppet on Saturday 1st October – no experience required, just tons of enthusiasm! The festival is also still accepting general volunteer applications: a few stewarding shifts over the weekend get you a free festival ticket.

Dance displays from local sides including Newcastle Kingsmen and Black Gate Morris will accompany free performances from storytelling laureate Taffy Thomas, award-winning singer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Hart, and many more throughout the weekend.

Last year’s popular Drag Storytime event will return, and elsewhere Ade, the Facepainting Fairy, will be working her glittery magic when not leading craft workshops – including making amazing animal creations that participants can take home.

Other free workshops and talks include Lara Maiklem, ‘The London Mudlark’ and finder of hidden treasures on Britain’s shores, who will be guiding participants on how they might uncover historic clues to Hartlepool’s hidden past.

Local attendees are invited to purchase tickets for the main folk festival, with residents receiving a generous discount on weekend tickets. Ticketholders will enjoy performances from some of the best in British and international folk, including Martin and Eliza Carthy, Edward II, Flook, and Urban Folk Quartet as well as specially commissioned concerts, workshops, and screenings.

All are welcome at popular fringe events, including now-legendary singing sessions at Headland pubs including The Fisherman’s Arms, a brilliant traditional pub hosting a beer festival all weekend. Other local favourites like The Pot House will be providing cozy workshop and performance spaces, and there will be events in partnership with the Heugh Battery Museum.

The Free Family Folk Festival is a new addition to the folk festival programme, which brings together folkies and local families for a celebration of Hartlepool’s rich culture. Everyone is invited to take part in a spectacular twilight procession to the sea on Sunday evening.

 

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