THE award-winning family arts and music festival Cloudspotting returns to Gisburn Forest at the weekend to coincide with the summer solstice.

Gates open at 1pm tomorrow for a weekend of live music, family theatre, arts activities, outdoor pursuits and superb food and drink.

It's the seventh year the festival has taken place at the Gisburn Forest hub – also known as Stephen Park – normally a haven for mountain biking and hiking, but for one weekend only a beacon for arts and culture vultures.

Tomorrow night's headliner Bill Ryder-Jones, formerly of Liverpool pop band The Coral, is enjoying a great surge of interest following his critically acclaimed solo album 'Yawn' which saw him also headline the recent BBC 6Music Festival.

He will be joined by the prolific Brooklyn-based indie singer songwriter and cult comic creator Jeffrey Lewis, who is bringing his band Los Bolts.

The international theme at Cloudspotting is also represented by the Ghanaian/British group Isaac Birituro and The Rail Abandon and the Canadian rock band The Burning Hell.

The festival is presented by a partnership including Forestry Commission England and The Grand at Clitheroe. It is also supported by a host of volunteers, Ribble Valley Borough Council and Creative Lancashire.

"The beauty of Cloudspotting is that it is a festival on an intimate scale," said organiser Matt Evans.

"Our capacity this year is 500 people yet we have musicians from overseas and all corners of the UK playing alongside the best from Lancashire.

"This makes it really appealing to families. We have plenty for kids to do and parents can relax and watch a band without the worry of losing their little ones.

"It's a rare thing at a festival to be up close and personal with all the performers and that's what makes it magic."

Tickets for Cloudspotting are available through, or 01200 421599