'THREE years on and still raising the bar'.

That's what folk festival fans are saying in anticipation of this year's Bridport Folk Festival.

Organisers say they are committed to bringing a diverse range of musical talent to Bridport - and promise 2019 to be no exception.

The festival returns to the town this week, with local and guest musicians performing in Bucky Doo on Friday.

The tone will change for the evening, when the festival welcomes folk legend Julie Felix to the Arts Centre in a double headline bill with festival patron Reg Meuross.

Julie has graced the worlds’ stages with her inimitable style and beautiful music.

Referred to by many as the British ‘First Lady of Folk’, despite being born in Santa Barbara, California, USA, Julie came to Britain in 1964, where she endeared herself to the British public and became a success throughout the 60s and 70s.

Chris Deacon, festival director, said: "To bring a true folk legend to Bridport is something rather special for us and although the Bridport Arts Centre isn’t quite the level of the Albert Hall, we will ensure that the welcome and appreciation matches the occasion."

Dance and music workshops will take place throughout the weekend, as well as organised dances, both formal and social. Friday’s ‘welcome’ Ceilidh will set the scene at the church house.

Saturday sees the first of 32 dance sides to perform for this year's festival. Mr Deacon says the ever-growing number of local venues supporting the festival, in addition to its three main stages, creates a much wider platform for the many musicians.

Also included in this year's exciting line-up at Bridport Electric Palace is Bristol-based folk fusion band Karsilama. The five-piece comprises classically-taught musicians who have widened their eclectic style to deliver a Balkan/Klezma party atmosphere.

A full procession of more than 200 dancers will take place on South Street on Sunday, and all are invited to participate.

Mr Deacon said: "As if that couldn’t get any better, we were delighted to engage Fine Lines as a fitting support, being rated very highly by BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe who, incidentally, often accompanies them as percussionist.

“ It’s been a long and demanding year bringing this years folk festival to fruition but we do it for the love of it and to raise funds for such worthy charities”

The proceeds from this year's folk festival will go to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, The Living Tree and Cupboard Love.

Mr Deacon added: "Whether you like folk music or not, please come along and enjoy the experience, happy in the knowledge that you’re also supporting these charitable causes and celebrating all that is good about Bridport and its rightful title of ‘The most Eventful Town’".