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Penrith gears up for the sixth Winter Droving, featuring The Baghdaddies

Penrith Winter Droving credit Graham Wynne

[P]enrith’s unique celebration of masks, magic and mayhem – featuring the annual Kyloes Drovers Cup, funfair, street entertainment, music, market and more will take place on 28th October to truly welcome in the winter on the final day of British Summer Time.

Already a ‘must do’ on many people’s calendars, something that has a quintessentially british eccentricity that harks back to the days of a wild land and perhaps wild people, the Winter Droving is programmed to take place on the old festival of Samhain marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year. This year’s event promises more fancy dress, a mixture of local and regional bands and an end of procession finale from firm Droving favourites The Baghdaddies.

The Baghdaddies

Spread across Penrith Town Centre, the festival boasts 4 stages filled with local and national acts playing a range of music from horns, balkan beats, folk, blues, drums and more to keep you dancing throughout the day, along with a specially curated programme of street acts roaming the town.

Eden Arts’ Director Adrian Lochhead said “The Winter Droving has fast become embedded into the town and the county’s culture, it’s a regional highlight with people now coming from all over the UK. We’ve created a bit of a monster… one with a very friendly face!! ”

“Its great to have so much support from local businesses this year too, the event relies on core funding from Penrith Town Council, Penrith BID and Pride in Lottery. Ast Signs are supporting us as a main sponsor again, and Burnetts, Kyloes Inns, Townhall Treasures, Vets 4 Pets, Foundry 34, Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, Cranstons, Ullswater Steamers, and Whitrigg House all sponsoring parts of the event this year.“

Visitors don their masks, and dress up in the theme of animals, drovers, fire, and winter throughout the day. Fancy dress is not just for the humans either, with the event kicking off with a Fancy Dress Dogs Competition (sponsored by Vets 4 Pets) complete with a doggy fashion show, and prizes for the winners.

Following on from that sees the return of The Kyloes Drovers Cup, where local teams compete across traditional events including Hay Bale Racing, Pint Pass, Egg Throwing, Tug-o-War, and Cumberland Sausage Eating.

The sausages are not just for the competitors – there is a huge range of food stalls including vegan and vegetarian options, plus lots of craft and gift stalls to enhance the local shops.  The retro funfair always provides a treat as the whole day slowly builds towards the highlight.

As darkness falls the fire and lantern procession will feature all the usual mayhem and fun with locals and visitors alike lining the packed streets throughout the town. This year sees the Baghdaddies leading the way through town before taking to the stage in Great Dockray with their energetic Balkan melodies, ska and latin grooves and sizzling brass to welcome in the dark nights as a finale to a rich day of bumpkin revelry.

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