|The Solway Festival|
|Genre||Rock, Alternative rock, Northern Soul, Dance, Indie, World music, Punk, Reggae, Folk music.|
|Dates||August Bank Holiday Weekend|
|Years active||2004 - present|
|Founded by||The Solfest Committee|
Solfest is a Cumbrian arts organisation which runs an annual music festival held at Tarns, near to Silloth in Cumbria, United Kingdom. It is held at Tarnside Farm on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The Solfest organisation was initially formed in September 2003 when a team of enthusiastic West Cumbrian festival goers got together and made initial plans to create a festival of their very own a little nearer to home. They were quickly joined by other interested parties and Solfest was run by a structured committee of sixteen permanent members until 2010 when the management structure changed. Solfest is now run by a smaller management team.
While Solway Festival Ltd is a registered company, the organisation operates as a Social Enterprise whereby all surplus income is reinvested into the organisation. Solfest is constituted in such a way that it does not allow any members of the Solfest committee to make any financial gain from the festival.
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The first Solfest festival took place over the weekend of 3rd/4/5 September 2004 on a 26-acre (110,000 m2) site at Tarnside Farm approximately halfway between the towns of Aspatria and Silloth. Visitors to the site can enjoy panoramic views across the Solway Firth taking in a backdrop of the Scottish Southern Uplands. In the opposite direction, and the English Lake District. Sandy soil ensures that festival goers don't experience muddy ground if the weather is wet. About 1800 people attended the festival in its first year. Planning for 2005 started almost straight afterwards. It now plays host to an annual crowd of up to 10,000 people.
The festival provides a varied mix of music. It has three large stages (Main stage, Drystone Stage & Bar Stage) as well as a dance tent. The festival also has dedicated welfare areas and children's play areas. Other activities are provided by visiting artists, ranging from crafts and woodworking to entertainers and musicians.
The Solfest festival operated by Solfest Ltd, a registered company. It is run as a constituted Social Enterprise by unpaid volunteers, and does not have any corporate sponsorship.
Solfest was cancelled in 2014, but returned in 2015.
Artists who have appeared at the Solfest Festival include: Badly Drawn Boy, Buzzcocks, Supergrass, Oysterband, The Levellers, The Wonderstuff, The Charlatans (UK band), James (band), Roisin Murphy, Blockheads, The Bad Shepherds, Pikey Beatz, Misty's Big Adventure, Kate Rusby, The Orb, System 7, Easy Star All Stars, The Undertones, The Proclaimers, The Beat, Seth Lakeman, Show of Hands, Ozric Tentacles, 3 Daft Monkeys, Bex Marshall, Penny Broadhurst, Katus, Silverwheel, Eat Static, The Damned, Evil Nine, Alabama 3, New Young Pony Club, The Magic Numbers, Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Tombolinos and Escapology expert David Straitjacket.
Solfest won the "Best Family Festival Award" at the 2007 National Festival Awards.
- "Solfest is a great little place for a bank holiday weekend". eFestivals. Review, 3rd Sep 2010.
- "Virtual Festivals: Cumbria's Whitehaven and Solfest Festivals cancelled in 2014". Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- Festival Awards Website festivalawards.com