A few warm-up events and then three concerts a day at the Ham Marquee

Ham Concerts, the stage and MC

Ham Concerts, the stage and MC - Credit: Contributed

Head for The Ham Marquee for a packed programme of performances including the week’s biggest acts

Ham Concerts, Cara Dillon

Ham Concerts, Cara Dillon - Credit: Contributed

This year’s festival has included some extra pre-festival shows with both Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe and legendary folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention performing on Thursday, August 2, before the virtuosity and hilarity of The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain at 3pm on Friday, August 3.

The Ham Marquee and Hub

The Ham Marquee is the festival’s main concert venue, a comfortable 1,100-seater venue for three first class events each day.

Ham Marquee, Karine Polwart

Ham Marquee, Karine Polwart - Credit: Contributed

The Hub at the Ham is a wonderful and atmospheric meeting place for festivalgoers, a place to relax and enjoy days and nights out, offering a great local bar and wide range of catering.

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You can also browse the programme highlights on display, and visit the Box Office to buy tickets for events during the week.

Catch up with old friends and new at the picnic tables set out at The Hub, where the friendly and efficient Anchors Away bar staff offer up an excellent range of Wickwar craft ales, Sandford Orchard ciders and all manner of wines, spirits and soft drinks.

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Treat yourself to some great meals out at the The Hub: favourites Dartmoor Kitchen, Tom Cull’s award-winning Clyst St Mary team, with the best of local, sustainable produce and lovely, varied dishes, including a multitude of the famous Tom’s Piesl Exe Coffee Roasters offers an abundance of wonderful coffees, teas and cakes; Goodness Gracious Healthy Foods, the UK’s leading vegetarian events caterers for 25 years, offers great meat-free meals; award-winning Salcombe Dairy’s Ice Cream Parlour offers delicious hand-made ice creams made with real Devon double cream; and Crazy Crepes offers up a selection of tasty, authentic crepes.

Sidmouth folk week. Ref shs 32 17TI 1263. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth folk week. Ref shs 32 17TI 1263. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs at the Merchandise and CD stalls, featuring all the latest festival artist CDs.

Ham Concerts

Three daily concert events take place at the Ham – at noon, 3.15pm and 8pm – featuring headline names from the UK folk scene and beyond.

Sidmouth folk week. Ref shs 32 17TI 1263. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth folk week. Ref shs 32 17TI 1263. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

In the opening evening concert, the duo of former Steeleye Span fiddler Peter Knight and Bellowhead’s melodeon maestro John Spiers combine their skills in an exquisite performance of English traditional music, with support from festival favourite Les Barker.

Saturday night sees ever-popular festival patrons Show Of Hands with Miranda Sykes take to the Ham Stage for what is sure to be a roof-raising show. They are supported by Bristol’s sensational Kit Hawes and Aaron Catlow

The mighty Blowzabella will be celebrating their 40th anniversary on Sunday night, with glorious driving, drone-based sounds inspired by English and European traditions. Devon’s own Jim Causley supplies the most mellifluous of supports.

It’s been a decade since the release of Before The Ruin – the collaborative album between three of Scotland’s best current writers and performers – award winning folk musicians John McCusker, Kris Drever (LAU) and Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble.

Drever McCusker Woomble perform on Monday night, supported by 2017 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Winners Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente.

Tuesday night sees 2018 Folk Award Singer Of The Year and honorary PhD recipient Scottish singer and songwriter Karine Polwart bring her powerful, compelling and compassionate songs to the Ham Marquee stage.

Karine will be supported by Kaia Kater - a young African-Canadian roots star whose old-time banjo-picking skills, deft arrangements, and songwriting abilities have garnered widespread critical acclaim.

Mesmerising Irish singer Cara Dillon is Wednesday night’s much-anticipated headliner. Her latest release, Wanderer, topped the Official Independent Album Charts and you would be hard-pressed to find a more emotive and captivating performer.

Plus Ryan Young with Jenn Butterworth - an extraordinary and enchanting young fiddle player with a powerhouse guitarist.

Thursday night showcases a new direction for a world-renowned Northumbrian piper as Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening bring ancient Northumbria to the modern world.

Kathryn’s stellar cast of musical companions includes Kate Young (vocals, fiddle), Amy Thatcher (accordion, clogs, vocals), Cormac Byrne (percussion), Joe Truswell (drums) and Kieran Szifris (mandola, guitar, samples).

Support Ye Vagabonds offer gorgeous sibling harmonies and gentle acoustic warmth from Ireland.

The week finishes in exciting and uplifting style with The Gigspanner Big Band, led by seminal Brit folk-rock fiddle player Peter Knight, and featuring award-winning multi-instrumentalists Hannah Martin and Phillip Henry.

Support comes from in-demand duo Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar.

Ham Afternoon Concerts, at 3.15pm (sponsored by Hobgoblin Music), feature a further array of musical heroes and rising talent:

Saturday features two of the UK scene’s finest songwriters as Steve Tilston and Jez Lowe join forces for a concert filled with words, music, banter and intimate insights into their approach to their craft.

Plus Narthen – the powerful four-part harmonies of Barry Coope and Lester Simpson (Coope Boyes and Simpson), Jo Freya (Blowzabella/Moirai) and Fi Fraser (The Old Fashioned/ Polka Works).

From Prince Edward Island, the barnstorming Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys headline Sunday’s afternoon show, supported by the darlings of last year’s festival, Alden, Patterson and Dashwood.

East London five-piece Stick In The Wheel bring their uncompromising and emotive folk songs to the Ham stage on Monday afternoon, supported by Naomi Bedford and Paul Simmonds.

On Tuesday afternoon, Alistair Anderson and Northlands play music from the heart of Northumberland, underpinned by arrangements that make the music soar. Pete Coe supports, a major player in the British folk scene since the early ’70s.

Living legends Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick return on Wednesday afternoon, supported by the fast-rising and award-winning duo The Rheingans Sisters.

On Thursday afternoon, BBC Folk Award winning duo Edgelarks bring us a new music which grows from the roots of their previous work – with traditional music of the British Isles, Indian classical slide guitar, stomping beatbox harmonica, and a strong seam of original writing.

They’re supported by masterful guitarist and singer Sam Carter.

The last afternoon concert features the ‘bloke folk’ powerhouse that is Faustus.

With a wealth of experience between them, Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead), Saul Rose (Waterson:Carthy, Whapweasel) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast) perform music deeply-rooted in the English tradition. Plus popular Somerset singer-songwriter Kitty Macfarlane.

Ham Concert Highlights

Ham Lunchtime Concerts – noon:

Sunday, August 5: National Youth Folk Ensemble plus Jack Rutter.

Monday, August 6: The Emily Askew Band plus Matt Quinn.

Tuesday, August 7: Jackie Oates plus Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne.

Wednesday, August 8: John Doyle plus Jacquelyn Hynes Trio.

Thursday, August 9: Whapweasel 21st Anniversary Concert.

Friday, August 10: Festival Grand Workshop Showcase.

Ham Afternoon Concerts – 3.15pm:

Saturday, August 4: Steve Tilston & Jez Lowe plus Narthen.

Sunday, August 5: Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys plus Alden, Patterson and Dashwood.

Monday, August 6: Stick in the Wheel plus Naomi Bedford & Paul Simmonds.

Tuesday, August 7: Alistair Anderson & Northlands plus Pete Coe.

Wednesday, August 8: Martin Carthy & John Kirkpatrick plus The Rheingans Sisters.

Thursday, August 9: Edgelarks plus Sam Carter.

Friday, August 10: Faustus plus Kitty Macfarlane.

Ham Evening Concerts – 8pm:

Friday, August 3: Peter Knight and John Spiers plus Les Barker.

Saturday, August 4: Show of Hands with Miranda Sykes plus Kit Hawes and Aaron Catlow.

Sunday, August 5: Blowzabella at 40 with special guest Jim Causley.

Monday, August 6: Drever, McCusker, Woomble plus Josie Duncan & Pablo Lafuente and Feis Rois Ceilidh Trail.

Tuesday, August 7: Karine Polwart plus Kaia Kater.

Wednesday, August 8: Cara Dillon plus Ryan Young with Jenn Butterworth.

Thursday, August 9: Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening plus Ye Vagabonds.

Friday, August 10: Gigspanner Big Band plus Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar.

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