HE’S affectionately known to his loyal army of fans as the Bard of Barking.
This summer, however, Billy Bragg will be performing his trademark mix of folk music and punk rock 200 miles north of his normal east London manor.
The singer-songwriter was today confirmed as one of the main attractions at this year’s Garforth Arts Festival.
Bragg will headline the 13-day festival’s closing night Playground Party celebration in the grounds of Garforth Academy on July 9.
And organisers couldn’t be happier to have secured the services of a man best known for tracks such as Sexuality and A New England.
Festival director Dave Evans told the Yorkshire Evening Post he was “delighted” that Bragg would be appearing.
Mr Evans stressed, though, that the event was about much more than just its headline act.
The Playground Party bill also includes Cuban-Scottish folk group Salsa Celtica and the Garforth Jazz Rock Band.
Details of the festival’s other 20-plus events have yet to be announced but culture lovers are being told to expect a stimulating combination of “music, dance, drama and comedy”.
The annual extravaganza is being run by Garforth Academy and the School Partnership Trust educational charity.
Additional support has come from the Leeds City Council arts@leeds funding programme, Arts Council England, Sports Unlimited and the Performing Rights Society Foundation.
Tickets for the Playground Party cost £15, £12 for concessions or £40 for families and go on sale this Saturday.
They will be available from the School Partnership Trust shop at 115 Main Street in Garforth, the Jumbo Records store in Leeds city centre or the www.garforthartsfestival.co.uk website.
Details of the rest of the programme will be posted on the website shortly.
More information is also available from the box office on 0113 336 8619.
The festival, being held this year for the seventh time, runs from June 27.
Well-known musicians who have graced its stage in the past include punk veterans Buzzcocks, Brit award nominee Richard Hawley and Leeds-based pop anarchists Chumbawamba.