AS Chippenham's 44th Folk Festival approaches, organiser Bob Berry is quietly congratulating himself on his programming skills: who could have known that by the time this year's Festival opens on May 22 two of his headline acts would have won BBC2 Folk awards?

"That really shows the standard of music people can expect," he said happily. "It's going to be a fantastic festival.

It's great that Nancy Kerr won the Folk Singer of the Year title, and even better for us that she and her partner James Fagan are coming back for the festival weekend: they were a great loss to the area when they moved away."

The duo, who combine their voices with Nancy's fine fiddle music and James' bouzouki and mandolin playing, appear on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Monday's crowdpuller is The Young Uns, a Teeside trio who took the Best Group title at the BBC2 awards. Still only in their 20s, they are living proof that folk music is alive and well, and has huge appeal for younger people as well as the fans who have been flocking to the festival for many years.

Bob hopes newcomers to the festival will mingle happily with regulars and anyone deciding to make a return visit after a few years' absence.

"People who are coming back to the festival will see and hear some of the things that were there 20 years ago. But there's much more now: more dancing, more street entertainment, still lots of workshops but with wider appeal - we have 232 events over four days.

"We are still run on the same principles as we were, with participation a big theme. We are getting more younger people coming now, because the English musical tradition is such a massive thing.

"Folk is becoming mor nad more appealing to younger people - we reckon there are 5,0000 people playing fiddle and there are not enough venues for them. It would be lovely to have more venues, and we want them to tell their friends to come and ge tinvolved because they are the future not just of folk music but of events like this one."

Bob himself began coming to Chippenham Folk Festival almost 30 years ago and has been organising it for the last 10 years.

"We've got an amazing programme: the Big Top events are especially good this year, with the new-look Tale of Ale album show on Saturday night, and on Monday Mick Ryan revives A Day's Work, which looks at the impact of the First World War on communities through music and song.

"Sunday night we have Keith Donnelly and his show is part of a legacy left by Ben Harrison, a young man who was part of the Festival team who sadly took his own life. We used some of the money his parents kindly gave us for equipment and some to sponsor a performance. We've also got the London Philharmonic Skiffle Band, and Mrs Ackroyd's Band."

Weekend tickets for the event are selling well, and day tickets are also now on sale, all from, which has full details of acts, the line-up and the particpation sections of the festival.