THOUSANDS of people are expected to flock to venues across the district for the Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) Festival.

Tickets are now on sale for the event, which, this year, will include work from a record number of young artist workshops. Some 17 Purbeck school are currently involved in this aspect of the festival.

While the festival's main exhibition is set for Rollington Barn, near Corfe Castle, traditionally a host of local artists also open up their studios for the event.

Festival spokesman Charlotte Heath said: "It is that time of year again and we are all set for a successful PAW. Interestingly, this year a lot more artists have joined PAW, and there's plenty of community involvement alongside a number of outstanding concerts and interesting events.

"The whole community is involved in this Purbeck-wide celebration of creativity."

The first concert of the festival this year will be 'Visions and Mystics', from the Gabrieli Consort, who will showcase choral masterpieces from the 20th century. This will include singers and brass players from the Swanage and Wareham town bands.

Other highlights will include I Fagiolini, who will perform Monteverdi, The Other Vespers - a recreation of 1620 vespers in a Venetian church.

Charlotte said: "The award-winning Fieri Consort present 'The Unknown Traveller', a superb selection of Italian madrigals. Newcomers to PAW include The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble. This virtuoso group of period instrument specialists have performed in many major music festivals in the UK and abroad and now here, in Purbeck."

Other events include Purbeck Island Discs with Lord (Jim) O'Neill, and the broadcaster Jon Snow.

Meanwhile, Tim Arnold - the former chief instructor at the Royal Military School of Music - will deliver a talk.

Visit for more details or to book tickets. Alternatively, visit Swanage or Wareham tourist information centres to pick up a free festival brochure, or an events programme, costing £2.

Purbeck Art Weeks Festival is scheduled for May 26 to June 10.