With over 1,100 bands and artists from across the UK applying for one of around 250 slots at this year’s Worcester Music Festival, the 7th annual event from August 29-31 is set to be a corker.

As one of the fastest growing, urban festivals of its kind, the three day celebration of live, original music is the chance to see some of the best, new acts out there, without having to pay a penny.

Thousands of music fans clamoured to the festival last year to catch some under-the-radar talent for nothing and organisers hope this year is going to hit an even higher note, with a few surprises in store as the festival prepares to invade the streets like never before.

“It really is a behemoth of a festival, with literally hundreds of performances across Worcester city centre over the weekend, the added beauty being that it is completely free,” said chairman Ant Robbins. “No tickets on the door, just stroll in and take in the music, whether you like folk, punk, rock or metal. Programmes will be available from August to let you know what’s going on.”

One of the highlights this year is Tewkesbury ska band [Spunge], the only band to ever officially receive permission from Bob Marley’s family to change the lyrics of one of his songs, their cover of No Woman, No Cry featuring on their second album, Room for Abuse.

From Worcester, there are instrumental rockers The Broken Oak Duet, who played at Rise record shop on World Record Store Day, Granny’s Attic, who made the final five in this year’s Young Folk Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and stutter-poppers God Save The King.

Audiences can also catch Worcester folk act Bitterroots, indie rock three-piece The Crooked Empire, gifted guitarist Claire Boswell, and 14-year-old singer-songwriter Jodie Hughes, whose band came second in the UK Battle of the Bands in 2010, when she was just nine.

From the county, the festival is set to welcome the likes of Malvern pop punk band Dogs of Santorini, Kidderminster’s Marina Del Ray, Evesham folk outfit Skinny River, and Inkberrow looper Tom Forbes, who played at the 02 Academy 3 in 2013.

A few other highlights from beyond the county borders include Birmingham’s reggae pop band XOVA, who took Cafe Bliss at Worcester Arts Workshop by storm at last year’s festival, and instrumental rockers Arbor Lights, as well as Somerset’s balkan-inspired folk sextet, M.O.D.

From the east, festival-goers can see Cambridge folk rockers Fred’s House, who have had airplay on BBC 6 Music, and London’s Kill Bill-esque, Japanese pop rock trio, No Cars.

Taking place all over Worcester city centre – everywhere from pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and historic buildings to leisure cruise boats, record shops and outdoor stages – the festival also features a diverse workshop programme, giving novices and those who’d like to learn something new the chance to try out an instrument or music technique, all for free.

“We are very much about opening up music to those who might never have even picked up an instrument and there are many, many workshops for everyone to enjoy for free,” said Holly Wyatt, who is organising the festival workshop programme with Gemma Rickson-Lloyd. “We also introduced dance workshops last year and have some hip-swaying ones lined up for 2014*.”

From a drum clinic with demos, battles and jams to computer sound sequencing and even a masterclass in music contracts, Worcester Music Festival 2014 also aims to strike a chord when it comes to expanding the skills of musicians and taking them to the next level.

The festival is also about supporting local charities and this year, the good cause is Worcestershire Young Carers, which supports seven to 25-year-olds who might be looking after a disabled relative or helping to raise siblings in a home where a parent has mental health problems.

Through fundraising events, collections during the festival and generous donations, more than £30,000 has been raised for charity by the festival in the past six years.

Amongst the festival’s invaluable supporters are Child Care Bureau and new for this year, HSBC.

View full line-up of bands View full line-up of workshops


*Please note that under 16s will need a guardian with them in order to take part in workshops.


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