WITH Grassington Festival starting tomorrow, the village is gearing up for an influx of visitors ready to explore the fascinating programme of theatre, music, comedy, talks, art exhibitions, guided walks, literature and creative workshops.

The festival, which runs until Saturday, July 1, is renowned for attracting big name artists and this year is no exception with performances from Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, singer/songwriter Newton Faulkner, Clare Teal and her Hollywood Orchestra led by Guy Barker, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and Bananarama to name but a few.

The festival also prides itself on giving local artists and emerging talent a platform to perform.

There is the popular Festival Fringe featuring an eclectic and entertaining line-up of acts, including students from Craven College who are performing their end of year show, and music from the Yorkshire Dales’ The Moonbeams.

And the festival will also shine a spotlight on two young stars of the future.

This Saturday as part of the Grassington Festival Introducing showcase in the Festival Hall, local singer Ruby Benson will take to the stage with Yorkshire bands The Bramble Napskins and Maia.

Ruby grew up in Grassington and was always encouraged to follow her dream of being a performer.

When she was younger, she took part in local stage productions of Grease, Sleeping Beauty, Godspell and Oliver and then went on to study performing arts at college where her skills as a singer were developed.

Since leaving college, she has continued to perform locally and is looking for her big break, and festival organisers are hoping Grassington Festival will provide her with the springboard to stardom she deserves.

A week later, on Saturday, June 24, as part of the Festival in the Square events and activities from 11am to 7pm, 14-year-old Glusburn girl, Niamh Mirfield, will be part of the entertainment line-up.

Niamh had a great year in 2016 when she was nominated for Best of British Unsigned Music Awards for her song ‘Can’t stand this anymore’ which achieved runner-up and also Record of the Week on the BBC Introducing programme.

In the autumn of last year, Niamh began writing her new track ‘Love Drug’ and was excited to record it with bassist Dave Swift, saxophonist Derek Nash from Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, drummer Darby Todd from The Darkness and local musician Gaz Keeton from Blue Star Tattoo, based in Glusburn.

Festival organisers believe Niamh is destined for great things and the festival and visitors will have a perfect opportunity to join her and her band in the intimate yet vibrant setting of Grassington Square.

For the full programme of events, visit the Grassington Festival website at grassington-festival.org.uk.