Folk week - get involved!

PUBLISHED: 16:06 05 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:57 17 June 2010

One of the enjoyable things about Sidmouth FolkWeek is being able to participate in lots of the activities. Whether you want to learn more about our folk traditions, or just enjoy singing and dancing or playing in a band, there are opportunities galore.

One of the enjoyable things about Sidmouth FolkWeek is being able to participate in lots of the activities.

Whether you want to learn more about our folk traditions, or just enjoy singing and dancing or playing in a band, there are opportunities galore.

Several of the workshops are planned as a series, with a performance at the end of the week. For example, singers can join the Festival Choir, once again in the capable hands of Sandra Kerr, while Craig;Morgan;Robson will be leading a series of harmony workshops rehearsing for a performance of their new show, The Way Through the Woods. There are workshops on Gregorian Chant, Shape-Note and West Gallery singing in the Parish Church, which also hosts a singalong evening of Sankey and Moody songs.

Musicians can choose to be in John Kirkpatrick's Big Band or the Festival Ceilidh Band and many people find that it's a big confidence booster to play with a large group like that. There are individual workshops on all sorts of instruments, at different levels from concertina for beginners, melodeon, mandolin, bodhran and fiddle, to masterclasses by accordionist Karen Tweed and Show of Hands' Phil Beer on guitar. The locally-based Jambo Tanzania Project, which raises money to bring clean water to a village in Tanzania, will be providing workshops on East African drumming. There's also the West Country Concertina Players drop-in session in All Saints Hall every morning and, of course, there are fringe sessions in many of the pubs to join in with.

Storytelling is always a popular part of the Festival and there are 'how to do it' workshops led by experts like Taffy Thomas and Indian storyteller Peter Chand, as well as storytelling circles where people have a chance to tell their own stories. There are also talks on such subjects as Thomas Hardy and the Dorset Christmas Mummers, and Ralph Vaughan Williams and English Folk Song.

Sidmouth FolkWeek has always been known as the Festival where you can dance from breakfast to bedtime and many people really do dance all day and every day, taking in all manner of styles from American Square to North West Morris; Appalachian clogging to Manx dancing; Rapper Sword to French bourrés and lots more, either learning the techniques or just dancing for the fun of it!

For more information, call the box office at Sidmouth Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01395 578627, or visit the festival's website www.sidmouthfolk week.co.uk.


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