Planning

We're committed in bringing roots music to East Northants.

For 18 year Raunds Music Festival has brought some of the finest music acts to East Northamptonshire. It brings internationally acclaimed acts to on our now famous "booted" stage.

The Festival features a Friday night ceilidh. We are proud to showcase local community music groups, young musicians and give opportunities for individuals to perform with other musicians at Song'n'Tune sessions.

Raunds Music Festival is remembered fondly by many artists who have performed here and is recommended for seeing up-and-coming acts.

Where does it take place?

Most of the sessions at the festival are staged indoors at the Saxon Hall, with good comfortable seats! The festival provides an opportunity to listen to some of the best folk acts around in friendly environment.

There is an opportunity to choose from real ales, soft drinks, hot drinks and some food to keep you going between sessions. In good weather you can take a drink outside on the patio. There is parking at Saxon Hall.

When does it take place?

The festival takes place over the first weekend in May, from Thursday to Sunday.

A festival ran by music lovers, for music lovers.

We loved the Melrose Quartet with Nancy Kerr.

Greg Russell has a great voice; he combines modern protest songs with a great sense of humour

Singing at the Song'n'Tune session with family and friends is special to me

We always come to see the local music choirs perform and are never disappointed

Gilmore and Roberts did an amazing afternoon set, standing in the middle of the audience for the encore

It was an amazing concert. Jackie Oates’ beautiful voice followed by the driving energy of Little Johnny England bringing a folk-rock approach to traditional music.

What's with the boots?

Raunds was well known for its boot-making industry. It was said that every boot in the army was made in Raunds and the surrounding area. In 1905 a dispute arose about wages to be paid to army bootmakers.

Just how bad things were is illustrated in a quote from the Rushden Branch of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives (later known as the National Union of Footwear, Leather and Allied Trades), Mr W. Brazeley: 'The work for ankle boots is being given out at 1d (1 pence) a pair for closing the backs and counters. It takes a good closer 10 hours to earn 1 shilling ((5 pence), and she herself has to find the awls and bristles. The statement price for this operation should be 2s 6d (12.5 pence) per dozen'.

This led to local councillor James Gribble, an ex military man dubbed 'General Gribble' organising a march of 115 men representing a regular army unit to highlight the plight of the shoe-workers. As the march progressed, it became increasingly successful in capturing the media and general public attention. Crowds turned out in force to cheer on the marchers on their way to the capital as they passed through Rushden, Bedford, Luton, Harpenden, St. Albans and Watford.

Although the marchers were prevented from marching to the Houses of Parliament, a crowd of c. 10,000 assembled to greet them in Hyde Park, and on the following day a demonstration was held in Trafalgar Square with Keir Hardie, founder of the Labour Party, speaking on the workers behalf to the assembled crowd.

The march achieved its objective, bringing attention to the plight of Raunds workers. The local paper said the march had, "created an historic precedent in the matter of laying grievances before the highest authorities", and, although it was not the first march, it was the first by an organised body. The Raunds workers were paid a standard rate that was enforced by the War Office. This in itself initiated an enquiry that resulted in a change on the conditions of all contracts from 1906.