North Yorkshire’s Willowman Festival will set the stage for Bob Marley’s band The Wailers who are flying in from the USA for just three UK festival dates this summer.

The legendary band will headline the Willowman Festival near Thirsk a week before taking to the stage at the world famous Glastonbury Festival in Somerset and later the Boomtown Fair near Winchester in August.

The appearance of The Wailers at Willowman is expected to draw the biggest crowd yet to the family friendly festival which is set to take place June 19 to 22, at Hillside Rural Activities Park in Knayton, near Thirsk.

Now in its fifth year, The Willowman Festival has gained a national reputation for offering an eclectic line up of both new and established artists, while keeping ticket prices affordable.

Together with Bob Marley, The Wailers have sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide and in England alone, they notched up over 20 chart hits, including iconic tunes such as Jamming, One Love, No Woman No Cry and Buffalo Soldier.

Ian McNabb willowman albumDirector Steve Williams said: “Reggae music is the beat that makes everybody dance and this year’s festival will be host to the world’s most popular reggae band ever!”

The night before The Wailers appearance, Willowman festival-goers can enjoy ‘Funky Friday’, with BBC Radio DJ and star of TV’s Red Dwarf Craig Charles, who will bring his worldwide acclaimed Funk and Soul Show to the stage. Also on the bill is North East-based Funk and Soul band Smoove and Turrell.

Steve Williams added: “Every time Craig has been to Yorkshire he has had venues jumping. We are planning to make Willowman a huge open air disco for the night and everyone is invited to don their whackiest funky ‘fros and flairs’ fancy dress, with prizes for the best.”

Ian McNabb willowmanThe reformed classic punk and dub reggae band Ruts DC will perform on the Friday night on a weekend bill which also includes Icicle Works frontman Ian McNabb, and festival crowd pleaser Radical Dance Faction who make a return visit to Willowman. Tenpole Tudor and The Blockheads are also on the bill.

Mountain of Love, featuring two founding members of Alabama 3, have joined the the line-up as well as up and coming psychedelic band New Electric Ride, who create a 60s brand of music influenced by early Pink Floyd and The Byrds.

Pikey Beatz meanwhile make a welcome return with their crowd pleasing dance roots reggae style and making their debut are Avalanche Party which recently formed by members of two local bands The Chapman Family and 3 foot Ninja.

Tickets are available for a limited period at £65 (which includes four nights camping) online www.willowmanfestival.co.uk