Winter Droving 2018 is back! - Cumbria’s unique celebration of masks, magic and mayhem invites you to step back in time and turn your clocks back 400 years…

Winter Droving 2018 Previews Gw 10 Large

Announcing the line-up…..

With just four weeks to go the news from Winter Droving 2018 is that it is bigger, longer, and greener - featuring two days, one at Ullswater before the main event in Penrith on Saturday, Cumbria’s biggest market, band stages, street performers and headline acts Mr Wilson’s Second Liners and Electric Swing Circus.

Set to take place on the weekend nearest the old festival of Samhain, - marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the "darker half" of the year - masked musicians, street performers, giant animal lanterns and locals dressed in elaborate costumes join the crowds at The Winter Droving for a unique halloween celebration steeped in tradition.

In order to meet demand The Winter Droving have added a special friday event to the bill with the return of the Ullswater Droving, bringing even more to half term in Eden.

Kevin Beaty, Leader of Eden District Council commented ‘it's great to see more activity and engagement happening through the district around The Winter Droving event. The expansion of the event to Pooley Bridge will be a real boost before the closure of the temporary bridge and has been well supported by the businesses in the area. The Winter Droving is a fantastic and unique event which we hope to see continue to grow in the future’

Saturday 27th October 2018 promises to be the biggest Winter Droving on record. For 2018 Eden Arts, the team behind the Winter Droving have expanded the usual activity throughout the town, introducing a new stage and market area in Middlegate. This year the headline act Electric Swing Circus take to the stage in Great Dockray for the town centre finale after the procession.

The streets will be taken over by traders selling their wares from mulled wine to the finest artisan produce. Crafty Vintage will bring their signature vintage festival vibe with a mixture of classic vintage, collectables, retro wares, quirky handmade, fine foods and delectable cuisine. At the end of Middlegate there will be a new ‘stage’ the Lloyd Ltd DISCOTRACTOR featuring live DJ sets from Kingtinny among others.

The full line up of bands and acts includes…. (deep breath)..... Ponyland, Deatbeats, Logan and Manley, Bad Transmission, Supa and Da Kyrptonites, Rimski’s Piano and Handkerchief, Ask my Bull, Blast Furness, Hadrian’s Union, Wearequazars, BAAB, The Windy Bottom Boys, Gaita Band, Blue Jam, Nula Hula, Poiromaniac, Baybeat, The Flying Colours, Pete Moser’s One Man Band. There are new spectacles like Peddlars Pack plus regular and favourites such as Mary the Faerie and Dick Danger. A special mention should be made for Penrith’s own Eliza Gutteridge who reached the knock-out stage in ITV’s The Voice.

Throughout the day the crowds build to the highlight of the event; a fire and light lantern procession, where masked drovers carry fire torches and lead the parade through the town accompanied by giant animal lanterns and the beat of drumming and marching bands. Once the procession reaches its destination, Birmingham’s Electric Swing Circus will take to the stage with their fusion of 20's swing and stomping electro beats.

London based Reggae band Soothsayers will then be taking the event into the evening alongside local DJ’s for The Winter Droving After Party presented by North Fire Promotions at The Warehouse.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved, including carrying a fire torch or lantern in the procession. Teams can enter the Angel Lane Chippie’s Drovers Cup and compete for the title across 5 events such as hay bale racing, tug-o-war and sausage eating or you can enter your beloved pooch into the Fancy Dress for Dogs Competition sponsored by Vets 4 Pets.

Myriad Studio will also be running a series of workshops in the run up to the event from outfit making to mask making. More information on how to get involved can be found on the Winter Droving website.

The Ullswater Droving will take place on Friday 26th October with a special torchlight procession through Pooley Bridge. Mr Wilson’s Second Liners have been itching to play at The Winter Droving for years, and are extremely excited to be part of this special event for Pooley Bridge. Mr Wilson’s Second Liners will be arriving via the Ullswater Steamer to Pooley Bridge where an awaiting torchlight welcoming party will greet them.

Mr Wilson’s Second Liners will then lead the torch light procession through Pooley Bridge to the field behind the Sun Inn, for a final performance on stage. This year the band will be accompanied by The Wolf animal lantern which was sponsored by Ullswater Steamers in 2017.

Paul Tyson, Managing Director of CompareCover said “We are thrilled to be title sponsor of the Winter Droving 2018. As a thriving Cumbrian company of 19 years developing comparison technology, sponsoring the Winter Droving is a great way to raise local awareness of what we do, highlight our contribution to the local economy and showcase us as an employer that recruits local talent. Living and working in the area means we take great pride in supporting our community and as existing fans of Eden Arts we’re very excited to be working closely together on what promises to be a superb event!”

Winter Droving Director Adrian Lochhead of Eden Arts said “we are really looking forward to this year, we are going to be busy! We’ve got a fantastic line-up over the two days and we are pleased to announce that all traders will be adhering to our new environmental policy designed to cut down on waste - we know that this is something that concerns many people, 20,000 people can make quite a mess! Don’t forget you can get a wristband that gives you 10% off everything on the day, and my advice is to get there to both days early especially if you are coming from out of town.”

More information can be found at

The Ullswater Droving and The Winter Droving rely on core funding from Arts Council England, Eden District Council, Penrith BID, Penrith Town Council, and Pride in Penrith Lottery. This year the event is supported by title sponsor Compare Cover a Penrith based life, pet & travel insurance comparison company, with Ast Signs as main sponsor. 1863 Bistro, Angel Lane Chippie, Another Place, Burnetts, Chestnut House, Cranstons, Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, Dodd&Co, Foundry 34, Lloyd Ltd, The Crown, The Sun Inn, Thermafleece, Townhall Treasures, North Lakes Hotel, Ullswater Steamers & Vets 4 Pets are all sponsoring parts of the event this year.

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  • Supported using public funding by Arts Council England