TALENTED musicians will take the stage in the 26th annual Weymouth Music Festival.

The festival gives amateur musicians the chance to enjoy performing music in public, while getting hints on how to improve from a panel of judges.

Despite lower than expected entries this year, organisers are determined that the festival will be a success.

From brass bands to solo vocals, children and adults will compete in various classes at the Wey Valley School and Sports College from 9.30am on Saturday, March 2.

The talented locals will be judged by John Pugsley, Howard Evans and Sharon Coates.

The most outstanding performers will then be chosen to perform at the Festival Concert, held at the same venue, on Friday, March 8.

Ed Hintze, chairman of the festival committee, said despite numbers being lower than previous years, the show must go on.

“We have had fewer entries this year and we don’t know why but we are determined to put on a great music festival.

“In previous years we have had more than 60 performers but this year we have just 32.

“This year we have pupils performing from all the local schools. It is a great way for amateur musicians to perform in public and get hints on how to improve.

“It is really not a competitive festival, but something for everyone to enjoy.”

Last year, a total of 350 musicians took part in the festival, performing to an audience estimated of around 200 people.

Mr Hintze added: “There is always a very high standard demonstrated during the festival, and the entrants range from very accomplished musicians to people competing for the first time.

“We mainly concentrate on giving feedback and positive encouragement.”

The classes include piano and strings, brass, woodwind and vocal solos, orchestras, rock bands, bands, groups and choirs along with church organ.

For more information visit weymouthmusicfestival.co.uk

Big names for folk festival

IT MAY be still winter but already the line-up has been announced for this summer’s Purbeck Folk Festival.

The festival, celebrating its fifth year, is held on a sheep farm near Swanage over the bank holiday weekend of August 23-25.

Among the bands lined up for this year are Radio 2 folk award winners Show of Hands, pictured right, and Karine Polwart, Tex-Mex fiddle singer Carrie Rodriguez, Louisiana Cajun band Sarah Savoy and the Francadians, and hip hop beat poet Dizraeli and his band The Small Gods.

Dorset Echo:

Festival director Paul Burke said: “The festival has grown steadily in four years to just under 2,000 weekend tickets, so we are able to book more top name folk acts.”

The festival has a whole weekend of great entertainment for children too including the addition of a storytelling tent and cinema tent.

The festival is held at Wilkswood Farm and tickets cost £80, £10 for children, if bought in advance from Ticket South on 023 8071 1818 or ticketsouth.co.uk For more information see purbeckfolk.co.uk