The main sections of this year’s festival are the writers’ festival (booking required for most events), music, children’s events, the annual dance festival, and visual arts.

There are lots of free events available – see the main programme for details.

The festival’s theme is ‘Follow Your Art’ and it aims to highlight the wide variety of creative activities available for people to participate in, alongside the creative groups that offer those opportunities. The festival will be a snapshot of different types of arts activities that take place all year round but will focus on encouraging people to try something new; from watching bands they don’t know, to joining a music group, learning to dance or starting to write a novel.

Darlington for Culture co-ordinates the annual festival and, now in its seventh year, it again takes place in venues across the town centre and will showcase a range of cultural activities and events to support and promote the arts in Darlington.

This year, the festival welcomes the addition of a performance space in the Market Hall – called “Spotlight on…” – where local groups can perform to promote themselves for free on Saturday 18 May.