IT is one of most important events on Cleckheaton’s annual calendar and this year Cleckheaton Folk Festival is celebrating a very special milestone.

Now in its 30th year, the event features a packed programme of events with performances from some familiar faces within the folk scene.

Running over the weekend July 1 and 2, the festival includes the welcome events on Friday at The Masonic Hall Temple in the town featuring an informal session of music and song hosted by Mo & Joe along with special guests.

As well as profiling popular and up-and-coming talent, the festival also gives a platform for those who want to perform their own poetry and songs through the ‘Just Voices’’ session at the Station Tavern in Railway Street.

‘Poetry and Pints’ with Jim Saville and Talking Zebras also takes place at the Station Tavern on Saturday and an Open Mic session with Skelsey Row runs from 8 until 11pm at the same venue.

The Festival’s ‘Small Venues Initiative’ - an integral part of the programme - is now in its 10th year. Among the participating venues is Matthew’s Coffee House in Market Street which will be hosting David Swann from 10 until 11am on Saturday.

Other performers appearing on this year’s bill include Saltaire-based Phoenix Ceilidh Band, Risky Business and Pete Norman and Kath Charnock. All are performing at Cleckheaton Town Hall along with Oysterband.

French-born singer, Flossie Malavialle and highly acclaimed folk duo, Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith will also perform.

From noon until 1.30pm on Sunday Dave Kidman will host the Sunday Sing with Dogwood Rose, Badly Strung and John Prentice & Jill Drury.

There will be ‘Meet the Artists’ sessions at various venues, including The Masonic Temple and the Methodist Church Hall in the town centre.

Cleckheaton will certainly be alive with colour, music and comedy as street performers such as Swash & Buckle whose improvisation and sword fighting is bound to raise smiles.

Sessions and singarounds also form part of the packed programme of events as well as a guitar workshop and Morris dancers, including The Spen Valley Longswords.

On Saturday a special parade ‘Follow the Heron’ sets off at 11am from Cleckheaton fire station in Westgate bringing Cleckheaton’s past and place on the folk calendar to life.

The popular Festival Family Fun Day runs from noon until 4pm on Sunday and the Festival Street Market, courtesy of The Spenborough Chamber of Trade, runs from 10am until 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information about what’s happening visit