POCKLINGTON'S Platform Festival 2019 drew thousands to the four-day event starring Hothouse Flowers, The Shires and comedians Al Murray and Chris Ramsey at The Old Station.

Seth Lakeman, The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams, The South, Beth McCarthy and The Grand Old Uke Of York were among others to play the July 10 to 13 festival of live music and comedy in the former railway station building.

Janet Farmer, director of festival organisers Pocklington Arts Centre, said: "Well, what can I say about Platform Festival 2019 other than it was absolutely fantastic! We had so much talent under one roof and it was so wonderful to welcome audiences from all corners of the UK to experience what was an outstanding event.

"So much hard work goes into putting on an event of this scale, so I want to say a big thank you to everyone involved in helping to make it happen, not least PAC manager James Duffy, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to pull the event together.

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HEADLINERS: Saturday night's climactic act Hothouse Flowers at Pocklington's Platform Festival 

"Thanks also to Pocklington School for the use of their building, Brass Castle Brewery for running the bar, plus the Friends of PAC, Pocklington Town Council, all our sponsors, staff and volunteers, without whom it just wouldn’t be possible."

Platform Festival drew 2,500 people, generating more than £100,000 for the Pocklington economy, with many festival-goers and artists using overnight accommodation in the town, shops, cafes and restaurants. Many Pocklington businesses reported an increase in trade over the long weekend too.

The festival kicked off last Wednesday with north-eastern stand-up comedian Chris Ramsey, who immediately afterwards said he would "love to return for a third time".

"It was really, really good fun," said Ramsey. "I supported Al Murray here about three years ago, when I got to do a 20-minute support set,and that was fantastic, so I was really excited to come back and headline one of the nights myself. The crowd were great; it was a packed house; it was just lovely."

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"SO MUCH FUN": The Shires playing their headline show on the Friday

The garrulous Gaffer, Al Murray, played the last of 52 nights on the road on his Landlord Of Hope And Glory tour on the Thursday night.

Country-pop duo The Shires, regular performers at both Platform Festival and Pocklington Arts Centre, described their Friday headline show as "amazing".

“We loved being back, it was so much fun," said singer Crissie Rhodes. "We loved that everyone was singing along and dancing. It was crazy out there!"

Fellow band member Ben Earle recalled their first “big” show in PAC’s studio and loved returning for their fifth Pock concert. "It was such an incredible way to spend a Friday night. We love Pocklington," he said. "The vibe in the room was great and this is such a great festival. We are so happy to be here, thank you for having us."

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FOLK FAVOURITE: Seth Lakeman on the fiddle at The Old Station

The Saturday festival finale presented more than 25 acts on three stages, including a tent for showcasing burgeoning talent. 

Among those on the bill were York musicians Jess Gardham, the  Dan Webster Band, Boss Caine and The Grand Old Uke Of York; The South and Late Night Marauders, from Hull; The Dunwells, from Leeds; The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams, from Hudson Valley, New York, and Devon folk musician Seth Lakeman. Dublin band Hothouse Flowers brought the festival to a close.

Joziah Longo, lead singer of The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams, revelled in the Old Station location. "They’re so smart in this town: to do festivals indoors so you don’t have to worry about the rain!” he said.

"We were happy to do it indoors, we were happy to see all our friends in Pocklington, and people who had travelled from many different places to see us."

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PACKED PLATFORM: The full house for The Shires' set at The Old Station

Speaking shortly after his set, Seth Lakeman said: "It was fantastic. It felt like it was buzzing in there.”

Moments before going on stage for the festival climax, Hothouse Flowers guitarist Fiachna Ó Braonáin said: “We were here last November at the Arts Centre, when we had an absolute ball, so it’s a great thrill to be back at Platform Festival.”

The York Access Creative College Stage, on Platform 3, turned the spotlight on emerging acts Nadeja. Charlotte Lynch, Evie Barrand, Lily Honey, Mollie Coddled, Michelle Jade and Ruby Addy.

Ensuring the festival went with a bang, North Yorkshire's Tengu Taiko Drummers raised the roof with their demonstration of the traditional Japanese performing art. Bang on, like Platform Festival in fact.