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Hundreds of events & thousands of visitors at Sidmouth Folk Week

There are more than 600 workshops, concerts and events cram into eight harmonious days at the Sidmouth Folk Week, making it well worth vising.
Sidmouth Folk Week has been prominent on the local calendar since 1955, and in 2014 it will be celebrating its 60th anniversary. Taking place the first week in August, from Friday to Friday, it attracts thousands of visitors and promises to have “something for everyone”.

Believe me, the streets of this normally staid Regency resort are rocking during this week. You would be pretty hard to please if you didn’t enjoy at least some of the eclectic mix of events from Ceilidh dancing and youth-orientated showcases to comic family entertainment. The common theme throughout is music, music and more music – but how many forms it comes in!

This lively Folk Festival has over 700 diverse events with music drifting out of open doorways, lifting the roof of huge marquees and enlivening the lawns at the Connaught Gardens and Blackmore Gardens venues. Wander through the shops on Fore Street to the Esplanade where you will find colourful dancing, buskers rehearsing for their big night onstage and everyone relaxing and having fun.

Ham Marquee concert tickets

For true music connoisseurs, the evening concerts in the Ham Marquee will exceed all expectations with a line-up of pros from all over the UK. For 2014, the highlights are the along with the , and festival favourites – .

If you want to indulge in attending all the afternoon shows, buy a season ticket which will give access to all the events except the above-mentioned Ham Marquee Evening Concerts, and tickets to those events are available at a significant discount.

Legends of the British and International folk scene always make their way down to Sidmouth Folk Week and include , Diamond Geezers, Sonneurs & Co from Brittany and .

Special programmes in the Manor Marquee

More unusual offerings can be found in the Manor Marquee and this summer I am looking forward to hearing some of the younger performers including Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, winners of the BBC Radio2 Folk Awards Best Duo. Who says it doesn’t all happen in ?

The Children’s Festival has its own family Ceilidh Party and other events in Blackmore Gardens while a celebration of storytelling is led by Debs Newbold, Taffy Thomas and Rachel Rose Reid. The Opening Social Dance for this special 60th anniversary will have a special guest, Les Barclay, who actually remembers the first Sidmouth Folk Week 60 years ago!

Workshops for all ages during Sidmouth Folk Week

More hands-on events include singing workshops for women and a guitar series with Simon Brady. There’s fabulous fun at the instrumental workshops for those wanting to try their hand playing the melodeon, fiddle, banjo or bouzouki! Dancers are also catered for with classes from Balkan Dancing to Irish Set Dancing.

Those with youngsters in tow will find plenty of family entertainment at the Molly Dance Workshops, Drop In Crafts and Young Performer Showcases.
The grand finale of the Sidmouth Folk Week is the torchlight procession followed by fireworks along the seafront which should definitely not to be missed.

What do you think epitomizes a good Folk Festival? Does Sidmouth Folk Week hit the mark? We’d love you to add your comments about this or any other Folk Festival you’ve attended. Go for it!

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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