MALTON will rock to a Louisiana beat next weekend at the seventh annual Yorkshire Cajun & Zydeco Festival.

Staged at the Milton Rooms, Malton, from March 16 to 18, this year's festival will, for the first time, feature a Cajun Ceilidh for St Patrick's Day on the Saturday evening from 6.45pm and a Vintage Dance on the Sunday afternoon from 1pm to 2.30pm with the York Vintage Dance Group.

Well known on the Cajun scene, Charlie Skelton has put together a special band for the Ceilidh, while the Rhythm Exchange Band, from York, will play at the Vintage Dance when there will be chance to wear vintage gear. Each of these dances will be preceded by morning dance workshops to put dancers, new to these styles through their paces.

For the purists, the festival has the usual mix of seven Cajun and Zydeco bands from Britain and Europe, kicking off with Bosco Beret, who will play on Thursday at Suddabys at 8pm as the weekend event expands to provide an extra night for locals and early arrivals alike.

The main festival will begin on March 16 with Charlie Skelton's Cajun band Acadian Strings on stage at 7pm, and a real treat will follow at 9pm in the form of Trio Hot Creole, a new line-up featuring Chris Hall, "the undoubted supremo of British Cajun", Phil Underwood, another hugely influential figure on the scene, and Hazel Scott on guitar and vocals.

March 17 will be packed with workshops, music sessions, a Mardi Gras parade with Rough Chowder and the Cajun Ceilidh. Manchester band Cajun Specials will make their festival debut at 8.15pm, and Dutch band Vuig, will close the night's revels from 10pm, playing in Britain for the first time.

March 18 will have more workshops, music sessions, films and, in the afternoon, as well as the Vintage Dance, festival favourites Bosco Beret will be joined on stage at 2.45pm by the fiddle skills of Malton's own Nick Thompson, from the legendary Buttermountain Boys.

Chris Hall's Double Shots will bring the weekend to a close, in action from 7pm. "They were so brilliant last year, headlining Saturday night, they just had to be asked back this year to close the festival and no doubt lead our now famous finale," says Glyn Roberts, from the festival organisers, Yorkshire Cajun & Zydeco.

The festival will be supporting the North Yorkshire Music Therapy charity again, having raised £300 at last year's event. For tickets and more information, go to