Getting in to the Sunday spirit at Sidmouth FolkWeek 2017

PUBLISHED: 17:52 09 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:52 09 August 2017

Sidmouth FolkWeek. Picture: Paul Strange.

Sidmouth FolkWeek. Picture: Paul Strange.


A walk round a close cluster of venues can really get you into the spirit of Sidmouth FolkWeek, write Paul Strange and Delia Pemberton.

Such was the case last Sunday (August 6), where, within five minutes of each other, you could leap into a memorial jig competition, revel in a rollicking folk-rock band, savour a sword-dance group, sup up some sublime West African music, enjoy an acoustic session at The Bedford and taste the tradition – and a few chips – on the seafront.

One of the most popular ticketed events in the Sidmouth programme, the John Gasson Memorial Jig Competition is a must for fans of English folk dance. Dancers are judged for their audience appeal as well as their music, presentation, technique and artistic skill, with categories for solo and pairs performers.

Combining athletic leaps and bounds with graceful poses and gestures, this year’s performances – held in the Blackmore Gardens marquee – drew gasps and cheers from the assembled crowd.

A short distance away – at the Anchor Garden – there were more leaps, bounds and plenty of head shaking as Dorset folk-rockers State of Undress turned in a frenetic performance of originals. The crowd loved their rocky, rootsy sound and you never knew quite what to expect next.

That was also the case over at the Blackmore Gardens, where Washington DC sword dance group Cutting Edge Sword looked splendid in their 18th-century garb and were razor-sharp in their reinterpretations of English rapper and longsword.

It was a huge cultural leap over to A Cellar Full of Folkadelia at Carinas, but the journey was well worthwhile as West African Batch Gueye raised the roof with traditional music and dance from Senegal. His tight band of skilled musicians produced a mesmeric, sparkling sound that lifted the hair on the back of your neck.

Lifting a few pints was more the order of the day over at The Bedford Hotel, where impromptu music sessions, accompanied by a warm, community spirit, were a constant delight.

It may have been cooler along the seafront, but there were many fascinating acts to savour on Sunday, especially the powerful singing and clog-dancing of contemporary folk duo Georgie and Phoebe. Marvellous stuff.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other Entertainment Stories

Wed, 17:00

Ottery Community Theatre will be performing its pantomime for Wednesday, January 24 to Saturday, January 27.

Read more
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

There’s a pantomime with a twist coming up at Exeter’s Barnfield Theatre.

Read more
Thursday, November 23, 2017

A concert featuring an orchestra made up of 70 members from across the South West will be held in aid of Sidmouth Hospiscare.

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

Here’s our latest gallery of photos from the 1997 barrels - more to follow.

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

Razor sharp and stylish production of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, is a big success at Exeter’s Barnfield Theatre.

Read more
Thursday, November 2, 2017

Have a browse through our gallery of pictures from Ottery’s 1972 carnival procession.

Read more
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

More pictures from the 1997 barrels in Ottery St Mary.

Read more
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Education can be fun and a family day out thios half term can help to keep your children engaged with their learning according to Get Kids Out Learning.

Read more
Sunday, October 15, 2017

All of the carnival pictures from the night.

Read more
Saturday, October 14, 2017

Devon has much to offer families this half term, with many attractions looking to Hallowe’en to provide a theme.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 12°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read Entertainment

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications