A DALES festival has confirmed the first dates in a fortnight-long programme which begins in May.

Internationally renowned soprano, Emma Kirkby, and jazz legend Digby Fairweather, have both agreed to perform at the Swaledale Festival this year, although local artists will still be appearing.

The focus this year is on stringed instruments, but exhibitions, guided walks, arts workshops and talks have also been arranged to give the event a broad appeal.

Emma Kirkby will be accompanied on forte piano by Peter Seymour in Grinton on Wednesday, May 28, while Digby Fairweather is appearing two days earlier.

Home-grown talent will include the Swale Valley Stompers, the Swale Singers, the Muker Silver Band and Reeth Brass Band.

Details are available from the festival office at Hudson House, in Reeth, or online at www.swaledale-festival.org.u