Virtual time for Sidmouth Folk Festival Online

PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:12 31 July 2020

Spooky Men at this year's online Sidmouth Folk Festival  Picture: Sidmouth Folk Festival

Spooky Men at this year's online Sidmouth Folk Festival Picture: Sidmouth Folk Festival

Sidmouth Folk Festival

Virtual time for Sidmouth Folk Festival as online event is set to go live.

Kitty Macfarlane at this year's online Sidmouth Folk Festival  Picture: Sidmouth Folk FestivalKitty Macfarlane at this year's online Sidmouth Folk Festival Picture: Sidmouth Folk Festival

Virtual audiences can expect an online feast of a folk festival during the first week in August, as folk artists, musicians, storytellers and dancers bring their best into the heart of the home.

Throughout what would have been festival week in Sidmouth, which had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a huge variety of online events will be running up until Friday, August 7 instead.

It launches this weekend, between 5pm and 9pm, on Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2, with ‘live’ performances from a secret location in the town.

Hosted by storyteller, writer and singer Matthew Crampton and singer songwriter Kitty Macfarlane, the shows will feature live contributions from Devon folk heroes Steve Knightley and Jim Causley. In addition, there will be specially recorded performances by Martin Simpson, Quebec’s Yves Lambert Trio, Jez Lowe, Talisk and many more, with special contributions from The Spooky Men’s Chorale from Australia, Seth Lakeman and Jon Boden.

Jim Causley at this year's online Sidmouth Folk Festival    Picture: Sidmouth Folk FestivalJim Causley at this year's online Sidmouth Folk Festival Picture: Sidmouth Folk Festival

This year’s online version of the festival taps into the highly participative ethos of the event, where audiences are actively encouraged to become an integral part of the performance.

The festival is well-known for its interactive workshop programme and many favourites are joining the online festival, with places available to book online. Sandra Kerr leads the Sidmouth Festival Choir, Paul Sartin offers his Sing Out workshop, Nick and Mary Barber lead Big Band, John Dipper gives a fiddle masterclass and Hazel Askew leads the harmony singing. There’s plenty of children’s activities too, and Shooting Roots and Stream of Sound return with a strong youth programme.

Ilse Pedler offers poetry events during the week and Sidmouth resident Janet Dowling leads a full programme of storytelling. For dance lovers, there’s Zoom workshops on Bal Classics, and there’s plenty for folk dancers too, including an introduction to Scottish country dance.

All events are free to access via www.sidmouthfolkfestival-live.co.uk, although donations are welcome to secure the future of the festival. So far, an online Crowdfunder campaign has raised more than £75,000. To donate see: crowdfunder.co.uk/the-sidmouth-folk-festival.


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