IRISH stars Dervish and guitar wizard Martin Simpson are among this year’s line up of top international names at Bromyard Folk Festival, which runs from September 10 to 11.

One of the longest standing UK festivals, this year’s event offers a packed and lively 170 hour programme of music, song and dance to appeal to all ages.

Dervish’s 17-year career has seen them sharing the billing with names as diverse as James Brown, Sting and Oasis and the sixpiece line-up was the first Irish band to perform at the world-renowned Rock in Rio Festival in front of an estimated audience of 240,000 people.

Simpson, meanwhile, has been nominated an astounding 23 times in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including nine consecutive years as a nominee for musician of the year, which he has won twice. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world, he comes to Bromyard with a five-piece band of leading folk musicians.

The weekend also offers a rare chance to enjoy the combined talents of three members of the popular BBC Transatlantic Sessions, flute and pipes wizard Mike McGoldrick, fiddle virtuoso John McCusker and gifted guitarist John Doyle.

Other Bromyard guests include last year’s winner of the festival’s Fred Jordan Memorial Competition, 21- year-old singer Kirsty Bromley. The annual competition is open to singers under 25 and past winners have included established folk stars Jim Moray, Maz O’Connor and Niamh Boadle.

Sponsored by Wye Valley Brewery and The Co-Op the festival features hundreds of singers, musicians and dancers from across the UK. The main festival site is just outside the picturesque town of Bromyard but there will also be plenty of music and dancing in the streets and pubs of the town centre.

The event also boasts some spectacular Morris dancing, workshops, children’s entertainment, a craft fair, real ale bars and food.

Festival director Lynne Barker is delighted the event is popular with music fans of all ages, with many young performers and audiences keeping traditional music alive and relevant to today’s tastes.

“Many people, young and old have told us how m u c h they enjoy this festival,”

says Lynne. “We always try to of fer a prog ramme that combines top international names with the high standard of local acts in a friendly rural atmosphere.’ Weekend and day tickets are available with discounts for families, NUS card holders, juniors and young adults.

Enquiries can be made on 07772 831860 or by visiting bromyardfolkfestival.