Sidmouth FolkWeek

Sidmouth FolkWeek
The Sidmouth Folk Week, stylized as Sidmouth FolkWeek, is an annual folk festival held in Sidmouth, a coastal town in Devon, South West England. Running over the first full week of August, it’s a celebration of music, dance and song. It offers over 700 events every year, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from all over the country.

The history of the Sidmouth Festival began in 1955, when the English Folk Dance and Song Society organized a folk dance festival in Sidmouth. The event gradually expanded to include ceilidh dancing, music and song, as well as related folk crafts. When the first performers from abroad arrived in Sidmouth to perform at the festival, the event was renamed the Sidmouth International Folklore Festival.

In 1986, Casey Music became the director of the festival and renamed it the Sidmouth International Festival. The event grew to over 65,000 attendees a year. Unfortunately, it became less financially viable over the years. At the 2004 Sidmouth Festival, which was the anniversary 50th edition, Music announced that the festival would be discontinued because the East Devon District Council and most commercial sponsors had withdrawn funding.

For several months, the future of the Sidmouth International Festival was uncertain. However, its patrons were convinced that the show must go on. Various enthusiasts, groups of festival-goers and organizations began to plan their own events for 2005. By November 2004, a steering committee had been formed to coordinate the new festival named Sidmouth FolkWeek. Although the new event was much smaller than its predecessor, it turned out a success.

The present-day Sidmouth FolkWeek is an annual festival run by the registered charity Sidmouth FolkWeek Limited. It has grown to become one of the most popular folk festivals in the United Kingdom. The festival offers a wide range of events and activities including folk concerts, pub sessions, dance displays and social dances, master classes and workshops, children’s activities, family entertainment, and more. Festival events take place in a number of venues throughout Sidmouth and right in the streets. Sidmouth FolkWeek also hosts a series of pre-festival specials.

Sidmouth Folk Week

Photo: Marshall Colman




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