Friday 6th October: Striding Edge: Whitehaven Civic Hall

Sets start at 8 p.m.,9.15 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Tickets: £4

• Further ticket information from Mary Thompson on 01946 841239.
• More information at

• CAMRA is a campaigning organisation with over 80,000 members nationwide.

• Whitehaven Beer Festival takes place at Whitehaven Civic Hall on Friday 6th October and Saturday 7th October 2006; opening times are 12.00 – 4.30 pm and 6.00 – 11.00 pm on both days.

• Tickets will be available on the door; entry is £1 to all sessions except Friday night which will be £4. Free entry to CAMRA members.

Striding Edge: Traditional music for West Cumbria’s Octoberfest

Drinkers at this year’s Whitehaven Beer Festival will be entertained on Friday evening by Striding Edge, one of Cumbria’s most innovative traditional folk bands.

The band is based in South Cumbria, and regularly play at dances and folk festivals all over the country. This year they followed the Peatbog Faeries at Dent Folk Festival in June, rounding off the evening with a lively ceilidh; and more recently they played two sets at Fylde Folk festival. Last year they played at West Cumbria’s Solfest and headlined at the Furness Traditions festival in Ulverston’s Coronation Hall.

Striding Edge will be playing three sets on Friday 6th October only: at 8pm, 9.15pm and 10.15pm. The four band members are full time musicians: Mike Willoughby, originally from Windermere, but has lived in Ulverston for a number of years, and plays melodeon, bouzouki, harmonia and guitar; Carolyn Francis from Dent, who plays fiddle, border pipes, and trombone; Rick Middleton from Morecambe who plays bass guitar and double bass; and Ben McCabe also from the Morecambe Bay area, who plays drum and French horn.

The Whitehaven gig will showcase songs and tunes from their forthcoming album, Borrowdale Johnny. Founder member Mike Willoughby promises ‘a lively gig, with energetic Celtic/Cumbrian roots music’. He says the band are really looking forward to the Beer Festival. Most of their music will be traditional Cumbrian songs and tunes, with some original material and the occasional Irish number in the mix. The music should set everybody’s feet tapping, but won’t deafen those who prefer to chat with friends.

Surprisingly, since many of us would say that real ale and folk music go naturally together, this will be the first full scale beer festival the band has played, although the band has played at pub festivals and at Hawkshead brewery. ‘We all drink real ale’ says Mike, adding that his favourite beer is Hawkshead Gold. He also recalls drinking a pint of Foxfield brewery’s Whitehaven Wobbler, brewed as a special for last year’s festival; ‘The beer was 11% in strength and I had difficulty convincing my wife I’d only had a pint!’

Mike also has connections with Cumbrian brewing. When the Hartley’s Ulverston brewery was still operational, he lodged with deputy head brewer Robin Richardson, and worked at the brewery from time to time, rolling barrels.

The Whitehaven Beer Festival is organised by the West Cumbria and Western Lakes branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. This year, Saturday evening of the Beer Festival has been designated a quiet evening, for those who prefer their real ale unaccompanied by music.

For further information contact:

Stephen Walker, Chairman, CAMRA West Cumbria 01900 828748
Ros Berry, Press Officer, CAMRA West Cumbria 01900 825614
Brian Quayle, Beer Festival Co-ordinator 01946 590006
Mike Willoughby, Striding Edge 01229 588852

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