Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council, The Gate to Southwell Festival looks set to increase its reputation as one of the country's most respected summer music festivals.

The two year funding will enable the festival this June (9th to 12th) to introduce another main stage in a great new marquee focusing on acts from the more alternative side of the roots music canon. "Every year we get hundreds of applications from fantastically talented artists playing Americana, ska, indie, punk, gypsy and other rootsy music – things we have always put on, but which can now be given a higher profile and help us build a complementary, more youthful audience," says festival director Mike Kirrage.

The festival will also be reaching out to this new audience through a series of concerts in established Nottingham music venues like The Maze and The Bodega. These gigs will introduce alternative artists alongside other bands in tune with the ethos of the festival. "Another key part of the initiative will be to promote local artists, as we did recently with a sell-out gig featuring Canadian band the East Pointers supported by the amazing up-and-coming Tiger, a seventeen-year-old female singer-songwriter from Nottingham," says Mike. "So please put Thursday 14th April and Saturday 14th May in your diaries and come see and hear what it's all about."

Among the acts you will be able to see are the darkly comic, fusion dance of The Penny Black Remedy and Mr. Tea & The Minions who have a unique take on high energy gypsy music flavoured with ska, dub and swing with an infusion of soulful melodies.

Taking on board many of the constructive comments from last year's festival, which attracted over 4,000 visitors, another significant change in June will be a reshuffle of the site layout, bringing the children's and family entertainment events right into the middle of the site making the whole festival more user-friendly and cosy.

"We have a full programme for our younger audience too, ranging from comedy, street theatre, puppetry and dance, to music, arts and dance workshops." And Mike is also keen to point out the great benefits of camping at the Racecourse Road venue; "even if you are relatively local, camping with the kids for the full weekend would give them a great ntroduction to the exploding festival scene in the UK".

Tickets are on sale via the website - www.gtsf.uk