Bands, Wristbands and Masks
What to expect at this year's Winter Droving
The much missed annual masquerade, the Winter Droving, is all set to return on 28-30 October this year, with music and street performances over three days alongside street food, an art and craft market and vintage funfair. The packed programme includes Manchester’s Mr. Wilson’s Second Liners, The Baghdaddies, and the UK’s only all female Mariachi band who bring their joyful sounds to Penrith. Although the parade can’t happen due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, organisers Eden Arts say that there will be a new evening son et lumiere event featuring a fire breathing dragon and lanterns in St Andrew’s Churchyard.
With a whole host of unmissable performances, the Winter Droving promises to be fun for all the family, however, event organisers really need the public’s help… they need you to get a wristband! The wristbands will help monitor visitor numbers, to avoid overcrowding and make the event as COVID-19 safe as possible.
“It’s crucial we keep on top of the numbers of people attending so that we can go ahead at all”, said Winter Droving Director Adrian Lochhead, “if everyone gets a wristband, then we can monitor expected numbers over the three days and make sure that our plans are appropriate”.
Eden Arts’ Director, Adrian Lochhead, commented that, “We have created the wristbands for attendees to pre-purchase online before the event. They just need to make a donation to cover the costs and specify which day they wish to attend. We also hope to see people wearing these wristbands well after the festival has finished – proud to be Drovers!”
Organisers Eden Arts have announced that Ast Signs will be sponsoring this year's wristband scheme, by match funding all donations. Ast Signs of Penrith have been a loyal supporter of the Winter Droving for many years. This year more than ever, their sponsorship is crucial to the delivery of the festival.
As Adrian mentions, another measure to ensure Penrith is not too crowded is that for the first time in its 10-year history, the Winter Droving will span three days, in an attempt to spread crowd numbers. While this extended approach helps to ensure safety and make sure the event goes ahead, this means the event inevitably costs more to run, so your donations towards wristbands will also help cover the costs of the festival and ensure local charity, Eden Arts, can run it again in the future. This is the tenth Droving celebration that Eden Arts has put on for the people of Penrith - the organisers are keen to make sure that it’s not the last.
Along with some new things, you can also find familiar faces at the Droving. The sensational Mr. Wilson’s Second Liners are back. This joyous bunch return once again – it’s New Orleans meets ‘90’s club classics, on the streets of Penrith. The fantastic and ever popular Baghdaddies, whose exuberant brand of world music is an exhilarating cocktail of Balkan melodies, ska and latin grooves, will also be joining the party once again. These brass troubadours play with furious energy and theatrical humour, creating an unforgettable experience for all to enjoy.
Joining them are Cumbrian indie-rock band My Little Brother, along with The Native Cult and Delegrave, who have both performed as part of the BBC's Introducing stage. Local favourites, Ponyland, appear on all three days alongside Winter Droving newcomers Palo Alto, dance duo Sushi, Errant Thieves and more. Regular Drovers will also see some familiar names performing this year, such as Blue Jam, Weird String Band, Uncle Carbunkle, and the mysterious BAAB.
This year's festival may look slightly different, but it is still guaranteed to be an eclectic mix of uplifting and diverse street entertainment. This includes Mariachi las Adelitas, an all female mariachi band from London, and the mesmerising African Circus, who combine traditional tribal dance routines with acrobatic circus skills. Another new addition to this year’s Winter Droving is the larger-than-life fire breathing dragon, which will feature alongside the beloved illuminated lanterns in St Andrew’s Churchyard. So... eat, dance and be merry as the music plays and the spectacles are enjoyed.
The vintage funfair will feature not one but two Ferris wheels (maybe you can wave to each other), a helter skelter, carousel and, for this year only, a Wall of Death.
The market will feature once again, with a diverse mix of Arts and Craft stalls featuring artisan jewellers and local artists, among some great take home food stalls. The markets will run from 11am until 8pm and are the perfect place to start this year's Christmas shopping.
Another change to the event is that there will be a central area in Penrith dedicated to having something to eat, with tables in the market square. The Droving this year is taking a much more ‘cafe culture’ approach to the day, so that people can linger, eat, enjoy their day out and take in the Penrith atmosphere.
The organisers have also introduced a fun trail around the town for children to get involved in. If they can find all the Droving animals in the local shop windows, then they can win a prize! There are also some pesky pom pom sheep to spot along the way, that have taken up residency in some of the local businesses. We need the public's help to find them all before the Winter Droving weekend.
This year Eden Arts are prioritizing research into the carbon footprint created by the festival. In order to put measures in place in future years to make the Winter Droving more sustainable, organisers need the public to get involved. They are asking visitors to the Droving to vote on what they think is the most carbon producing aspect of the festival. Could it be the food stalls, the bands, the street entertainers, the funfair or could it be you?
This public vote will be part of a larger research initiative being conducted by academic profesionals. The research produced will give organisers a deeper understanding of the carbon footprint and most importantly, how to address the carbon produced at future festivals.
This year's event has only been made possible due to additional funding gained via the Culture Recovery Fund and additional sponsorship. The organisers of the Winter Droving are passionate about supporting the arts community through the pandemic and hope to gain more sponsorship to ensure the Winter Droving is part of Penrith’s future.
Other local supporters include AST Signs, The Idol, plus new sponsorship from Waitings Ltd. The beloved lanterns also see returning sponsorship from Townhall Treasures, North Lakes Hotels, J&J Grahams, Thermafleece and Dodds & Co.
Public funding this year has been provided by Eden Town Council, Penrith Lottery, Arts Council England and Penrith Town Council.
This year’s Winter Droving will be held on Thursday 28th October, Friday 29th October and Saturday 30th October.
Markets will be open from 11am and festivities will continue into the evening.