FOR the past few weeks, a merry band of scarecrows around Thornbury have heralded the arrival of the third Rockhampton Folk Festival.

The rain clouds parted and the sun shone on Saturday as nearly 500 people enjoyed a great family-friendly day of music and dance in the Gloucestershire countryside.

The highlight of the programme was the sizzling Flamenco of Trovador, a group of four Spanish friends who enthralled the crowd with the passion and energy oftheir traditional dance and music.

Louise Jordan from the New Forest brought beautiful voice and story telling through her songs, and Somerset group Vervain returned to the festival with their brand of Celtic-inspired folk. Morris dancing with a difference came from the black-faced Widders and in the evening sunshine new local band RockPipes brought energy and fun to the stage that had the young and old alike dancing to the novel sound of rock bagpipes.

“We set out to create a friendly, local and high quality music festival experience,” said organisers Chris White-Horne and Nicki Barnes, “and it’s great to see so many families here enjoying themselves.”

Outreach is a growing part of the festival’s work, where Nicki and Chris aim to bring music and dance to local groups who may have less opportunities to experience live music, particularly children. The festival supported Trovador flamenco visiting two Thornbury primary schools on the day before the festival giving the children a unique and very memorable experience.