Dartmoor Folk Festival

FUN for all the family is assured at the 41st Dartmoor Folk Festival, all at modest prices or free-of-charge.

The festival, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 10, 11 and 12, will take place in the foothills of Dartmoor at South Zeal, near Okehampton.

It will include a packed programme of events and activities suitable for all ages, including a hugely-successful dedicated children's festival which will run alongside the main event.

There will be concerts, a ceilidh, craft displays, dances, a Dartmoor Fayre, music hall, pub sessions and music, song and dance workshops and competitions.

Free events include Starter's Song Sessions, Shanty Group singing, Festival Folk Club sessions, a ramble on Dartmoor, Folk church service and Youth Music Session.

The Grand Dart-i-moor Fayre, from 2.15pm to 5pm on Saturday, August 11, will include an afternoon of family entertainment.  It is free for children and £5 for adults.

The weather is bound to be fine for the event as opening the Grand Dart-i-moor Fayre will be Dan Downs, the popular BBC South West weather presenter.  Fluent in the Devonshire Dialect, it is hoped that everyone will be able to understand what he says!

The Sunday afternoon programme of events, from 2pm to 4.30pm, is similarly priced and will also include a programme of entertainment.

HEADLINE ACTS

Top local and national artists will headline at the festival.

They include Jamie Smith’s Mabon (Friday), Melrose Quartet (Saturday), Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan (Sunday), Megan Henwood, Granny’s Attic, Melrose Ceilidh Band, Cardboard Fox, Flash Jack and Pete White’s Suitcase Circus.

Jamie Smith’s Mabon are one of the most highly accomplished and critically acclaimed Celtic roots music bands based in Britain today, they explore the forms and styles of the Celtic traditions and work them anew; the music is self-styled, singular and toe-tappingly good – an irresistible blend of world music and Celtic roots, filled with energy, joy and passion.

Combining traditional instruments with a modern rhythm section, the five-piece band performs outstanding original compositions - both instrumental and vocal - mostly written and composed by their dynamic accordionist Jamie.

Melrose Quartet are Nancy Kerr (voice, fiddle), James Fagan (voice, bouzouki, guitar), Jess Arrowsmith (voice, fiddle) and Richard Arrowsmith (voice, melodeons). November 2017 saw them release their eagerly-awaited second album, “Dominion”.

From deep roots in their hometown’s vibrant music, song and dance scene, to smashing concert appearances across the UK, Sheffield-based Melrose Quartet have attracted a reputation for making music that truly connects with people. All four are internationally renowned singers, instrumentalists and writer/composers.

It has been six years since Dartmoor-based husband and wife, Sean Lakeman and Kathryn Roberts have performed at the Dartmoor Folk Festival and since then they have produced three more studio albums bringing their total to six.

They have twice won the coveted Best Duo title at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (2013 and 2016).

Other artists attending will be The Dartmoor Pixie Band, Ramsley Minors and Dave Wills.

Children's Festival entertainers will include Entertainingly Different, Jackie Clementine, The Makeshift Ensemble, Enchanted Wanderers and Working Woodlands.

Morris and dance teams will include Cogs and Wheels Morris, Winkleigh Morris, Enigma Border Morris, JD and Folk, Great Western Morris and Tinners Morris.

Masters of Ceremonies will include Bill Crawford, Dave Lowry, Bill Murray, Tich Scott, Martyn Babb, Jason Rice and Jon 'o'.

COMPETITIONS

Hotly-contested competitions are the Dartmoor Broom Dance championships and Dartmoor Stepdance Championships.

Dartmoor Broom dancing involves dancing with a broom, or rather over a broom, and is for primary school-aged children.

The Dartmoor Step dance sees dancers step on a 15-inch square board showing the different steps to try and out step the previous dancer, until a final champion is decided upon.  Adult and junior champions will be selected.

Classes to teach both broom dancing and step dancing are held during the festival and anyone is eligible to take part.

ACTION-PACKED PROGRAMME

Alan Quick, press officer for the Dartmoor Folk Festival Association, explained: "It was 41 years ago that the festival was founded by the late Bob Cann, who lived in the parish of South Zeal.  He had the dream of a folk event on his doorstep that would help to revive and preserve the traditions of Dartmoor.

“Mr Cann was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to folk music, which included founding the festival.

"It was the traditional music, dance, song and crafts of the area that formed the basis for the first festival and they still remain for the association which runs the festival today.

"Since it was founded it has grown and we are able to invite some of the best folk artists around, whilst maintaining the festival's reputation for being a relaxed, friendly and traditional festival.

“An action-packed programme has been arranged and we are looking forward to a great festival.  There will be three days of music, song, dance and crafts.

“Entertainment is arranged for the whole family to enjoy, whether to take part or simply sit and watch.  Most events are very modestly priced and some are totally free, so there is something for everyone.

"The festival is deeply rooted in the heart of the Dartmoor community and is keeping customs and traditions alive."

It will also include a duck race, craft marquee, stalls and refreshments will be available.

A campsite operates (more than 200 pitches last year) and many people attend from across the UK.

For further details, or to buy tickets, visit the website: www.dartmoorfolkfestival.org.uk .

Enquiries can be made by telephoning 01837 840102 or email: enquiries.dartmoorfolk@gmail.com