The Cambridge Folk Festival is celebrating its golden - or fiftieth - anniversary with headliner Van Morrison who is making his debut at the festival.

Roseanne Cash, Richard Thompson, Eliza and Martin Carthy and Sinead O'Connor are also on the bill for the famous folk weekender, which runs from July 31 to August 3.

Morrison has turned down repeated requests to appear and Eddie Barcan, who has run the festival since 1993, is chuffed to have booked the 68-year-old Belfast man. "I've tried many times in the past," Barcan said. "You just keep chipping away."

Ever since its beginnings in 1964, the Festival has been held at the compact Cherry Hinton Hall site just outside the university town of Cambridge.

"We have withstood the pressure to expand the festival or move it to a larger site because we appreciate the intimacy of the performance is what people really like,” says Barcan.

A compilation album featuring 50 of the best live tracks recorded at this year’s event is planned.