A TWO-WEEK festival spread across 900 square miles of the Yorkshire Dales is due to begin at the end of this month.

The Swaledale Festival features music, drama, dance, arts and guided walks and runs from Saturday, May 27 until Saturday, June 10.

It takes place across 26 venues in the Yorkshire Dales’ three northernmost dales, Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale.

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Some of the highlights include a stage show entitled Zulu Tradition, by a company of young singers and dancers inspired by Zulu culture at St Andrew’s Church in Grinton on Saturday, June 3.

The following day the church will host two outstanding vocalists and top lute players performing a programme of songs from the 17th century to the present day, including songs by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones.

There are a range of diverse events taking place throughout the festival. They include guided walks through lead mining ruins, a performance by London Mozart Players Chamber Ensemble at St Gregory’s Church in Bedale, an arts trail through the dales involving a scenic bus trip visiting art exhibitions, a poetry open mic night in Reeth and a guided walk spotting local wildlife, including red squirrels at Snaizeholme.

The festival will also showcase new talent. The Young Artists Platform brings musicians from across the UK at the beginning of their careers to perform at the festival.

They include reigning BBC Young Musician of the Year Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who will be performing with two of his equally talented siblings at St Andrew’s Church in Aysgarth. The 13-piece ensemble Arch Sinfonia, renowned for its boundless energy, travel from London to perform Wagner and Bruckner at St. Oswald’s Church in Askrigg.

The Behn Quartet and Friends perform the world premiere of Home Field – Five Songs for the Dales by composer Adrian Rickard and Dales-based poet Ann Pilling. And the National Youth Jazz Orchestra – twenty of the finest young jazz musicians in the country – perform classics from the big band cannon along with some new commissions at the Influence Church in Richmond.

Venues range from Gunnerside Methodist Chapel to village halls and art galleries.

There are still tickets available for some events, which can be booked online at; swalefest.org or through the festival box office on 01748-880 019.