Music festival Balstock has built up a reputation for presenting an eclectic mix of acts, and this weekend’s bill aims to offer something for everyone.

The three day feast of music takes over Baldock’s various venues for what’s billed as the biggest free entry charity festival in the East of England, and it kicks off tonight, Friday.

One highlight this year sees local acoustic, folk and roots champion Helen Meissner from the Folkstock Arts Foundation running a dedicated Folkstock stage at the White Lion on Saturday.

Balstock has always offered all sorts of acoustic opportunities across the town but this move means there is a dedicated oasis for those who prefer to listen to their music without insistent bass beats or deafening drums.

Award-winning young singer- songwriters will be offering heart felt lyrics with beautiful finger picking accompaniment, and haunting harmonies sit happily with engaging melodies that will reach out and hook your soul.

Must-see local acts include Stevenage’s Kelly Oliver, who is touring her acclaimed debut album, and Said The Maiden, fresh from their national tour supporting fiddle legend Dave Swarbrick from Fairport Convention fame.

Oka Vanga, Garry Smith and the ‘nu country’ folk singer songwriters Zoe Wren and Kaity Rae, who both have debut EPs on the blocks, are also performing.

There are details about the timings on the website – but that’s only part of the Balstock experience.

Over the three days no fewer than 160 bands and artists are booked to give their best in 15 different venues.

And none of them will be picking up a penny from an event which raises thousands of pounds for good causes each year – 2014’s chosen charity is North Herts-based Up on Downs, a parent-run organisation which supports the families of children with Down’s Syndrome.

You can find out all about the festival and the venues online at, so whether your tastes run to folk, punk or any other genre, check out what’s in store before the party gets started.