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New Town Trials to bring Keswick Mountain Festival into the heart of the community

Keswick Market Square and the Moot Hall, site for the Town Trials (Photo Keswick Tourism Association)

The Organisers of Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) have announced details of a new event for this year’s festival.

The Town Trials will be a series of fun running and cycling obstacle races for adults and children that will take place in and around Keswick’s Market Square, taking the main festival programme into the town centre for the first time. Starting at 5:00pm on Friday 17 May, the Keswick Town Trials are being sponsored by United Utilities and Allerdale Borough Council, and will be followed by a procession to the Festival Village in Crow Park led by a samba band, in time for the opening night of live music on the Subaru Stage.

The Keswick Mountain Festival Town Trials will see participants tackle short-lapped loops of Market Square and its alleyways, in waves of up to 30 adults or children. Runners and cyclists will have to negotiate sharp corners, zig-zags, steps, ramps and other obstacles such as hay bales. The cycle races will be ‘urban cyclocross’, suitable for a variety of bike types. Registration will be open at George Fisher from 3:30-4:45pm and the entry fee is a donation to KMF’s official charity partner the National Trust.

The first wave of junior Town Trials runners will set off at 5:00pm and the event will conclude with adult cycling races, finishing at 6:20pm. Designed purely as a fun event in the town centre, runners and cyclists will not be timed, but the races will be fully marshalled and a commentator and music will help build up the atmosphere for participants and the spectators who line the route. On conclusion of the final wave, the Batala Lancaster Samba Band will perform in the Market Square and then lead a procession to the Festival Village, where wristband holders will be able to enjoy an evening of Celtic and folk-infused live music headlined by festival favourites the Peatbog Faeries.

Nicola Meadley, KMF Festival director, comments: “Keswick Mountain Festival enjoys great support from local residents and businesses, and we have always been keen to explore ways to bring elements of the event into the town centre. This will do that in a way that’s in keeping with the spirit of the festival and will be very entertaining for all involved. It’s going to be a brilliant start to Friday night at Keswick Mountain Festival.”

Joe Broomfield, tourism development manager for Allerdale Borough Council, adds: “Allerdale Borough Council is excited to be supporting the new Town Trials event at this year’s Keswick Mountain Festival. Good luck to everyone who has entered!

“We have been working closely with the new owners of the festival to look at ways to maximise benefits for the local area and community and this year we will also have a ‘Visit Allerdale’ stall in the Festival Village. Data from previous years has shown that a high proportion of visitors to Keswick Mountain Festival haven’t been to Keswick before. Having the Visit Allerdale stall will allow us to welcome visitors to our area, showcase what Keswick and the wider Allerdale region has to offer as a visitor destination and hopefully encourage those visiting for the festival to return at a later date.”

Anyone who wants to follow the Keswick Town Trials, but can’t get to the Market Square on the day, can watch all of the action unfold on the town’s live webcam at

This year’s Keswick Mountain Festival will run from Friday 17 May until Sunday 19 May, featuring a full programme of sports events and outdoor activities, high profile main stage speakers and Studio Talks in the Theatre by the Lake, and live music, taster activities, a wide array of exhibitors and food and drink in the Festival Village on Crow Park. Festival weekend tickets are still available which give visitors access to the two nights of live music, a Festival Village taster activities wristband and the option for booking a pitch on the KMF campsite. Weekend tickets are available at

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