SINGING and drumming filled York city centre just days before the 20th Jorvik Viking Festival reaches its thrilling climax.

A bard and singers warmed up in front of shoppers in St Sampson's Square to prepare for a weekend of Saga, Song and Dance.

Vocal harmony group Soundsphere - Angela Michael, Judith Simpson, Sarah Dean and Paula Ryan are seen here behind performance poet Adrian Spendlow and Viking Neil Evans preparing for a packed weekend of events.

The last weekend of the festival sees many new cultural events, including a Scandinavian dance workshop and dance party on Saturday, between 2pm and 4pm and 7pm to 11pm, at the Priory Street Centre; Bardic adventures with Adrian Spendlow tomorrow, from 7pm to 9pm, at The ARC; and Norwegian fiddle group Glima and Soundsphere performing folk tunes at the Black Swan on Saturday, from 8pm.

Other events include a Viking market at Barley Hall, festival walks along the Ouse and battle drill for children in Coppergate.

For more information, phone 01904 543403.

Updated: 11:11 Thursday, February 17, 2005