CHIPPENHAM Folk Festival is approaching the end of an era as organisers Bob and Gill Berry have announced next year's event will be their last as they are stepping down from the leading role.

The festival in May 2019 will be the 25th with Mr Berry at the helm, and the 30th the couple have been involved with, so the decision marks a major change in one of the most important events in the town's calendar, which regularly attracts acts and visitors from across the UK and the world.

But Mr Berry, from Potterne, said their departure would not mean the end of the festival.

"I think 25 years is a fair tenure," he said. "There is not one person yet who will take this on, but a team which will pick up the work we have done. We have some younger people involved, but no main name as yet. We are looking within our team, and we have some strong characters, though whether they want to or have the time to spend we shall see."

The festival started in 1972, the Berrys got involved in 1989 and took over the reins in 1994. It is run by a management team, headed by Bob as organiser, while Gill is festival manager.

"We have just had out AGM and know we will definitely go forward and make it work. The positive thing about folk music is that is is the only growing part of the music industry at a grass roots level. Folk has a massive following of young people. We need to encourage them to come on board and be part of the team. There's no money in it, but it would be really good for someone looking to be in events management. Amazing artists come along, and people are very generous."

Next year's festival is May 24 to 27. It showcases some of the best in English folk song, music and dance, with over 200 individual events and workshops.

For more information and to get involved, visit