Southwest Folk Festivals 2016

Here we go with an updated list of folk festivals due to take place in the Westcountry in 2016. Sadly, we seem to have lost a few in the last couple of years – lack of sponsorship being the usually quoted reason. Nevertheless, we have lots to look forward to.

Have fun – and see you there!


16th & 17th – Bradford Roots: Bradford, Wiltshire

17th for 5 days – Halsway Winter Warmer: Halsway Manor, Crowcombe, Somerset. A residential break with a programme of English folk music and dance.


12th for 3 days – Folk 3 – Cheltenham Town Hall.


18th – Lyme Folk Revisited: not really a festival, just one night at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, but worth supporting a concert by young musicians, hosted by Jim Causley.


30th & 1st May – Bristol Folk Festival


13th, 14th and 15th – Credition Folk Weekend: Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon.

13th, 14th & 15th – Dart Music Festival: Dartmouth, Devon. Lots of folk mixed with other genres.

27th, 28th & 29th – Bude & Stratton Folk Festival: Bude, Cornwall. A fun festival right on the Cornish coast.

27th for 4 days – Chippenham Folk Festival: Chippenham, Wiltshire.

27th, 28th & 29th – Gloucester Shanty Festival.


3rd, 4th & 5th – Wessex Folk Festival: Weymouth, Dorset.

10th, 11th & 12th – Wimborne Minster Folk Festival: Wimborne Dorset.

10th, 11th & 12th – Bradninch Music Festival: Bradninch, near Exeter, Devon.

17th, 18th & 19th – Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival: Falmouth, Cornwall.

17th, 18th & 19th – Teignmouth Folk Festival: Teignmouth, Devon.

17th, 18th & 19th – Ukelele Festival of Grest Britain: Cheltenham

25th & 26th – Folk on the Quay: Poole, Dorset.


1st – 10th – Frome Festival: a 10-day general arts festival with lots of folk music: Frome, Somerset.

8th, 9th & 10th – Priddy Folk Festival: Priddy, Wells, Somerset.

22nd & 23rd – Chagstock Festival: Whiddon Down, Devon.

29th for 8 days – Sidmouth Folk Week: Sidmouth, Devon – the biggest and best!


5th, 6th & 7th – Dartmoor Folk Festival: South Zeal, Dartmoor, Devon.

6th for 7 days – Bath Folk Festival: a week-long festival with lots of workshops and chances to perform.

19th, 20th & 21st – Beautiful Days: Escot Park, near Ottery St Mary, Devon – such a lot crammed into 3 days with this family-orientated, camping festival.

25th for 4 days – Purbeck Valley Folk Festival, near Swanage, Dorset.

26th for 4 days – Cornwall Folk Festival: county showground, Wadebridge, Cornwall.


9th, 10th & 11th – Lyme Folk Weekend: Lyme Regis, Dorset

9th, 10th & 11th – Swanage Folk Festival: Swanage, Dorset.

10th – 24th – St Ives September Festival: St Ives, Cornwall – a 15-day music festival with lots of folk.

23rd, 24th & 25th – Looe Music Festival: Looe, Cornwall – mainly folk.

23rd, 24th, 25th & 26th – The Little Big Gig: Henry’s Campsite, The Lizard, Cornwall.

30th, Ist & 2nd – Riverside Beer & Music Festival: South Molton, Devon.


22nd – North Dorset Folk Festival: Marnhull, Dorset.


2nd-6th – Lowender Peran: Newquay, Cornwall – a 5-day festival celebrating Cornish Celtic Culture.




Westcountry Folk Festivals 2015

There have been so many changes to the programme, both additions and cancellations, that I’ve decided to delete my original post and re-post the whole thing. As with the original, I’ve restricted the list to festivals south of Bristol.

2nd-4th : English Folk Weekend – Halsway Manor, Crowcombe, Somerset
17th Bradford Roots Festival – Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

27th : Inter-Varsity Folk Dance Festival – Exeter University, Exeter

5th : Swanage Blues Festival – Swanage, Dorset (it’s not folk, but it’s fun)
14th : Lyme Folk Revisited – Lyme Regis, Dorset –

17th : Crediton Folk Weekend – THIS HAS BEEN CANCELLED

22nd -26th : Scilly Folk Festival –
22nd – 25th : Bude and Stratton Folk Festival, Cornwall
23rd – 24th : Don’t Wake the Fish – The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor, Cornwall
29th – 31st : Wessex Folk Festival – Weymouth
Note: Dulverton Folk Festival has been cancelled.

12th – 14th : Bradninch Folk Festival. Devon. –
12th-14th : Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival, Cornwall
12th – 14th : Wimborne Minster Folk Festival –
13th : Behind The Castle – Sherborne, Dorset  CANCELLED due to disappointing ticket sales.
14th: Seaweed Festival, Clovelly, Devon. Here’s a new one: a festival to celebrate the health-giving properties of seaweed – with folk music throughout the day.
19th – 21st : Teignmouth Folk Festival. The usual main venue, the Carlton Theatre, is being re-developed and the United Reformed Church is being used instead. I imagine this has much lower capacity – so get your tickets early!
26th – 28th : West Somerset Folk Festival – Carhampton, Somerset
27th – 28th : Folk on the Quay – Poole

3rd – 12th : Frome Festival
4th South Brent Folk Day, Devon.
10th – 12th : Priddy Folk Festival –
10th – 12th : Tiverton Balloon and Music Festival.
22nd – 26th : Hatherleigh Festival – folk, pop & rock –
24th – 26th : Village Pump Folk Festival, Westbury, Wiltshire
24th – 26th : Devon DubFest – music and VWs! Bicton College
31st – 7th Aug : Sidmouth Folk Week, Devon

7th – 9th : Dartmoor Folk Festival
8th – 16th : Bath Folk Festival.
21st-23rd : ‘Beautiful Days’ Escot Park, Devon
21st-23rd : Lyme Folk Festival, Lyme Regis, Dorset.!festival/cjg9
27th-30th : Purbeck Valley Folk Festival. Swanage, Dorset
28th-31st : Cornwall Folk Festival, Wadebridge.

3rd-6th : Burnham-on-Sea FolkFest. Somerset
4th-6th : The Wareham Wail – the 27th festival of traditional singing. Verwood, Dorset
11th-13th : Swanage Folk Festival, Dorset.
12th -26th : St Ives Folk Festival, Cornwall. A two-week celebration of music and the arts.
18th – 20th : The Priston Festival, near Bath. – 21st Henry’s Little Big Gig, Kynance Cove, Cornwall.

14th – 18th : Lowender Peran. Festival of Celtic music. Newquay (not Perranporth!), Cornwall.
24th : North Dorset Folk Festival, Marnhull, Dorset.
23rd-25th : Baring-Gould Folk Weekend, Okehampton, Devon.

Westcountry storms – the hidden damage.

DSC_0013Today we have blue sky, warm sunshine and very little wind. The daffodils and snowdrops have been out for weeks; my fruit trees are in blossom and hyacinths are filling the air with their scent. Spring is well underway and it is tempting to try to forget the battering we have had this winter, but there are reminders everywhere. A few yards from the blossom-covered Victoria plum stands what’s left of my greenhouse. I’ve been lucky. I’ll repair the greenhouse in a day, but many people in the Southwest will never recover from the damage they’ve suffered.

Our local news reports have given the storm damage intensive coverage, but I’m not sure how much reporting there has been at a national level. Eventually, after homes had been under water for weeks, the Prime Minister noticed the Somerset Levels and put in a belated appearance, although as soon as the Thames valley showed signs of flooding attention switched to that much more important area, the Thames flowing through the PM’s own constituency.

I’m sure the destruction of the railway through Dawlish made the national news, simply because of the dramatic images of the rails swinging in mid-air, but did the landslip that closed the line at Crewkerne, the floods that closed the line between Exeter and Tiverton, or the lightning strikes that destroyed signalling, get the same coverage?

Storms created a damaging tidal surge that hit the east coast and North Wales in early December, but for us the problems began over the Christmas/New Year period. On 5th January The Western Morning News carried this coverage. The storms didn’t stop, rolling in across the Atlantic in a succession that began to feel never-ending. Record rainfall combined with storm-force winds (that coincided with high tides) brought chaos to inland and coastal areas alike. On Valentine’s Day the local news site, ‘This is the Westcountry’, carried this diary of the day’s events, including dramatic video clips – and that was just one day among many. On that day we were supposed to be heading into Cornwall for a family get-together, but every road from here to the A38 was blocked by fallen trees, floods or, in one case, by a fatal accident. We were cut off, and it felt rather strange.

Harbour walls have been breached and historic buildings destroyed. The battle to save the clocktower in picturesque Kingsand continues.

Some of the physical damage isn’t obvious. A visitor to Brixham could easily think that we’d escaped damage, and to an extent they’d be correct. The town is tucked into the south-west corner of Torbay in the shelter of the high cliffs of Berry Head and is further protected by the Breakwater, a kilometre long stone-built pier.

IMG_1818As a result there is little obvious damage, but damage there is. Breakwater beach, which lies to the east of the Breakwater, was a shingle beach of small stones. Those stones have disappeared revealing much larger stones, the bedrock and old concrete pillars that have been covered for many years. This photo of one of the pillars shows the depth of stones that have gone.

IMG_1817The Breakwater looks undamaged from on top and from the harbour side, but from the beach it is clear that the stone-filled rough seas have scoured out a large hole that goes under much of the width of the Breakwater leaving it unsupported.

What is now the town centre car park was once a fresh water reservoir. Sailing ships of the Royal Navy put into Brixham to take on food and water. Some 200 years ago that activity switched to Plymouth, the reservoir was drained and the streams that fed it were led to the harbour via underground tunnels. Those tunnels have been unable to cope with the extraordinary levels of rainfall. Water has been coming up through the floors of properties and those along The Strand have had their cellars full of water.

All of which is very trivial compared to what other towns such as Porthleven, Penzance and Newquay have suffered. The real damage to Brixham has been financial. Our economy is largely based on two industries – fishing and tourism. For six weeks the fishing fleet coudn’t put to sea. The value of the catches lost was in the order of one million pounds. That’s one million pounds that would have passed through Brixham fishmarket into the hands of the boat owners, the crews and the fishmarket staff, and much of it then spent around the town. That’s a lot of money for a small town. The spell between Christmas and Easter is always a grim time for the tourist trade. The school half-term holiday in February usually provides a little bright spot, but this year it was a complete washout. The rail line was closed and driving difficult. The tourists didn’t come – and who can blame them. The problem now is that Easter is very late this year. The hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions have another month to survive before the traditional start of the season.

Well, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the sea is blue and the spring flowers are breathtaking. Jump in your cars, drive down to Brixham and spend some money. You’ll love it!

Westcountry Folk Festivals 2014

I’m looking forward to getting to a lot of these. July looks a bit thin. I’m sure I’ve missed something. Tell me if you know of a Westcountry festival that I’ve left out.


14th Cheltenham Folk Festival (OK – I know that for those of us living in Devon and Cornwall describing Cheltenham as ‘Westcountry’ is pushing it)


17th – 20th  Scilly Folk Festival


9th – 10th Crediton Folk Weekend

23rd – 26th Bude Folk Fest

23rd – 26th Cheltenham Folk Festival (you see, they do more than one so they deserve a mention)

23rd – 26th Dulverton Folk Festival

30th May – 1st June Wessex Folk Festival (Weymouth)


13th – 15th Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival

13th – 15th Wimborne Minster Folk Festival (a new name for this longstanding festival)

14th Behind the Castle (Sherborne – a new one-dayer on three stages in the castle grounds)

20th – 22nd Teignmouth Folk Festival

20th – 22nd Ukelele Festival of Great Britain (In Cheltenham – they’re at it again!)

27th Tivvy Fest (Tiverton – 31 days of folkie events!!!)

27th – 29th  West Somerset Folk Festival (Carhampton)


4th – 13th Frome Festival 10 days of events, some folky

11th – 13th South Brent Folk Festival


1st – 8th Sidmouth Folk Week

8th – 10th Dartmoor Folk Festival (South Zeal)

9th – 17th Bath Folk Festival (Nine days of concerts and workshops)

22nd – 25th Cornwall Folk Festival (Wadebridge)

29th – 31st Lyme Folk Weekend (Lyme Regis)


13th Fishstock (Brixham’s seafood and music festival. Two stages, one for folkies.)


24th – 26th Baring-Gould Folk Weekend (Okehampton)

25th North Dorset Folk Festival (Marnhull)