A thousand reasons to come to Sidmouth FolkWeek, says Artistic Director

Alan Bearman, Artistic Director of Sidmouth FolkWeek

Alan Bearman, Artistic Director of Sidmouth FolkWeek - Credit: Contributed

All the old favourites and some exciting new acts - something for all ages and tastes at this year’s fabulous FolkWeek

Sidmouth FolkWeek logo 2018

Sidmouth FolkWeek logo 2018 - Credit: Archant

With 750 events to choose from and over 250 workshops, FolkWeek offers plenty of chances to join in, dance the week away or just sit and listen to major concert artists like Eliza Carthy, BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Singer of the Year Karine Polwart, Cara Dillon and Kathryn Tickell.

Local favourites Show of Hands are here, of course, alongside Edgelarks (Hannah Martin and Phillip Henry), The Exmouth Shanty Men, The Lost Sound Dartmoor Folk Choir and Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll’s Manor Pavilion show, which tells the story of Edward Capern, Devon’s Victorian Postman Poet.

This year we have three pre-festival concerts with Fairport Convention, Roger McGough and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain all making their first appearances at the festival.

Our ‘Eye on The Future’ sees The National Youth Folk Ensemble join us for a concert in the Ham Marquee and members stay on to join up with our own Youth Project Shooting Roots, Stream of Sound choir and Scotland’s Feis Rois Ceilidh Trail for sessions and events through the week.

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The English Folk Dance and Song Society-supported Folk Rising Plus showcases rising stars on the English folk scene.

The Manor Pavilion features two very special ‘In Conversation’ events with Billy Bragg and Peggy Seeger.

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The same venue is also home to Living By The Sea in which (backed by a folk-style Greek chorus of festival-goers) storyteller Matthew Crampton and choir director Paul Sartin take us on a trip amidst those whose lives are governed by the sea. This show re-unites the creative pair behind the recent adaptation of The Transports, together with two other musicians from that remarkable production, Benji Kirkpatrick and Saul Rose from Faustus. Expect intimate tales, stark ballads and heart-pounding shanties and stories from Sidmouth.

The festival’s new dance display co-ordinators, Malcolm Major and Charlotte Dover, present a rich array of dance traditions with Dance Spectaculars at Connaught Gardens and Blackmore Gardens, Processions, the hugely popular Jig Competition, Morris Wednesday masterminded by Hammersmith Morris and The Year Turns Round Again - an original dance show in the Manor Pavilion.

There’s a wonderful variety of folk dance on offer too - from Playford to Squares and Contras via various European styles, Irish, Balkan, Scandinavian, Early Dance and the Regency style of Jane Austen’s era.

The Mega Children’s Festival has a huge array of activities for young people to get involved with, and fabulous family evening entertainment, while all ages can enjoy special, one-off events like the John Gasson Jig Competition and the already semi-legendary Sidmouth Horse Trials.

There’s plenty to celebrate at Sidmouth, with Blowzabella’s 40th anniversary, the reunion of Vintage Cock and Bull Band with founder members Jean Pierre Rasle and Dave Whetstone, and Whapweasel mark 21 years together.

PolkaWorks celebrate their 10th anniversary with The Frocks and Shoes Ceilidh and The New Valiant Dance Band are joined in a special ceilidh by five of the most innovative step dancers in England.

The Cellar Full of Folkadelia returns to its original home in Kennaway House with a quirky and international line-up including Kaia Kater, Plastikes Karekles, Eli West, Diabel Cissokho and Ye Vagabonds.

Sounds of Modern Scotland focuses on showcasing emerging young Scottish performers including Ryan Young, Kinnaris Quintet, Josie Duncan and Elephant Sessions.

I wish you all a very happy and memorable FolkWeek.

Alan Bearman,

Artistic Director

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