THE streets of Holmfirth will be packed this weekend with dancers, musicians and even a magic dragon.

The third Holmfirth Festival of Folk swings into gear on Friday and there will be no let-up until Sunday as some of the best folk artists around flood the town with music, dance and the spoken word.

There will be stories to be told, songs to be sung and dances to be learned.

For throughout the festival, there’s an accent on getting people involved and in particular, in encouraging young people to celebrate traditional music and dance.

Five artistes, funded by Kirklees Children and Young People’s Service, have been working with local schools through the Arts4All initiative.

Sue Coe has been working with Wooldale Juniors on traditional Longsword dancing and Pete Coe has been doing some English folk song with Holme School. Shabang Theatre has been working with Lydgate School and Netherthong Primary have had Ayo Jones leading some Caribbean carnival dance and arts.

Holmfirth JIN has been hosting Manu Sumitra’s Indian music, dance and arts.

See what they’ve been doing when they, and children from Hade Edge Junior and Infant School who have been working with local amateur poet Ray Bower, take part in a school’s concert in Holmfirth Civic Hall at midday on Saturday.

Visit the festival and you too can try your hand – or your voice – in a wide range of workshops. Singers, from beginners to the more advanced, are catered for with Ann Curran, Cath Tyler, Soundsphere and Eleanor Doody.

Instrumentalists can learn to get to grips with guitars, concertina and pipes and there will be a repeat of the unmissable spoons workshop. Dancers can learn Egyptian and Appalachian dance.

But for those who just want to listen and to watch, venues across Holmfirth will be packed with folk talent.

The main festival concerts will be at the Old Bridge.

People to see include Stanley Accrington, Duncan McFarlane and Anne Brivonese on Friday, Nick Hennessey and Sara Grey on Saturday afternoon, Andi Neate, Les Barker, Pete Morton and Mike Silver and Johnny Coppin on Saturday night and Soundsphere and Carmichael on Sunday afternoon.

The Picturedrome is back on the venue list this year and its guests include Nick Harper on Friday and John Cooper Clarke with the Family Mahone on Saturday.

The Picturedrome will also showcase young musicians including The Middle Ones, Jess Bryant, The Madrigals, Kalbakken, Liam Dullighan, My First Tooth, Benjamin Wetherill, OneChipPotato and the Transcendental Watermusicians and Sam Carter on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and local acts Milking the Lemon on Friday and Saturday nights. The Travelling Billberets will be in residence on Saturday teatime.

Other names to look out for in concert and in less formal settings are Steve and Kristi Nebel, Dame Patti Smith and Ned Clamp, Paul and Liz Davenport, Roy Clinging, Hamish Currie, Gerry McNeice and local young performers Jack Rutter, H2O and Alex Quinn.

Drop in to the White Hart, Y Bar, Carniceria, the Nook, Herveys, Harrows and Les Caveaux at various times over the weekend to hear Old Man Pie, James Cannon and the Sinners, Alun Parry Band, Howard Brothers, Rocks and Reels, Roger Davies, Andi Neate and Mad Fox who will all be playing on Friday and Saturday nights.

CragRats will have Grant Baynham and Hilary Spencer, jointly known as Quicksilver, appearing on Saturday afternoon.

If dance is your passion then the festival won’t let you down.

Host side Slubbing Billys will be joined by almost 30 other dance sides including the Britannia Coconut Dancers, Alford Morris, Boggart’s Breakfast, Bunnies From Hell and Ryburn Longsword.

Hollowgate in the centre of the town will close to traffic on Saturday afternoon to let the dancers do their stuff and two samba bands will also help keep the streets moving.

This year, the festival procession starts at 3.45pm on Saturday and school groups and that magic dragon will join in to provide a spectacular parade to the Memorial Gardens.

There’s new emphasis this year on the spoken word aspect of the festival which will feature poet Les Barker supported by a number of local poets and performers. Noted storyteller Nick Hennessey is also visiting the festival.

The Sunday night collaboration between Simon Armitage and Roger Davies at Birdsedge is expected to be one of the sell-out successes of the festival.

For tickets and information contact Holmfirth TI Office 01484 222444, or email