Children’s Festival

We have an amazing Children’s Festival planned for 2019 packed with opportunities for music, dance, song, making things, fantastic shows and enjoying the great atmosphere in Blackmore Gardens.  We have some wonderful new ideas planned for this year as well as many firm favourites. Check out the great range of opportunities for children and families below and remember there will be more to come!

Download the 2019 Children’s Festival Programme here.

BLACKMORE GARDENS is at the heart of the Children’s Festival and as well as the three dedicated children’s marquees, will have a new area for quiet family activity and entertainment. Seek out the Threads’ Strings and Yarns area and sit down to learn some knitting, crocheting, knitting nancies, string games, sewing and much more while listening to some fabulous yarns and tales from our visiting story tellers including The Yarnsmith of Norwich. There may even be a chance to drop in and have a go on a ukulele! In Blackmore Gardens everyone will be able to enjoy the Young Performers Showcases on the Garden Stage where some of the countries up and coming new talent will perform for you. There will be walkabout performances by Uncle Tacko with his Tinglary and Hand to Mouth Theatre’s Box of Mechanical Delights as well as music, song and dance from the great busking duo; Laurence Marshall and Phoebe Douthwaite. There will be daily Morris Dance displays plus a new opportunity for young buskers to book their slot at the BUSKIT stand.

Festivals would not be the same without workshops where everyone can learn new things or extend their skills. The Children’s Festival at The Sidmouth Folk Festival is no exception. It provides opportunities for children of differing ages to involve themselves in activities targeted for their age group throughout the day. The programme is packed with a host of workshops for everyone. Running through the workshops are the Children’s Festival journey themes of music, song and dance.

Little ones (4 years and under) are catered for in the Mini Marquee where they will be able to sing some Actions Songs (you might even get a special hat to wear!) with Karen Morris, make some lots of noise with Greg and Kay Smallbone in Percussion and Songs, stretch and relax with Yoga with Sarah Moss or try out some Reflexology with Tippy Toes Reflexology. Little ones can bandage their teddies in the hugely popular Teddies Hospital, enjoy a multi-sensory musical experience with the show Crabby from Collar and Cuffs Theatre, join Fun and Games for Little Ones with Ali Cummings and much more too.

5-8 year olds have their own special space in the Midi Marquee where they can enjoy a programme of workshops specially designed for them. Jackie Oates will lead the singing in the Sidmouth Mini Singers, Geoff Court and his Crafty Fun team will be providing crafts and games based around the theme of the Herring is the King of the Sea. Join The Minims Junior Band to enjoy playing music together. Collar and Cuffs will give this age group a chance to enjoy a multi sensory musical experience with their mini show Crabby and Sarah Moss will lead everyone in some Yoga sessions. There will also be chances to work with clay and make lots of noise with percussion instruments.

Outside in the Gardens Jane Pfaff and Jeremy Monson will be running the hugely popular Dancing Around the Maypole. Additional family dancing opportunities will also be available at the Family Ceilidh Dance Workshops.

Over 8’s will find their activities either in the Major Marquee in Blackmore Gardens or in the Unitarian Hall. Donna, Bill and Ellie Cliftlands will lead some Drama, Games and Fun, there will be an opportunity to learn Morris Dancing, and a host of opportunities to develop crafty skills in the hugely popular Craft Carousel where everyone works in small groups making a special item to take away. Jenny Read returns to teach Appalachian Step Dancing, Bryony Griffith will lead the Sidmouth Songswell Choir in some great songs and West Gallery Music will offer a glimpse into a schoolroom in the early 19th century with a chance to learn to sing and play music of those times, using costumes and drama along with plenty of fun. As if all that isn’t enough Suzanne Hoskins will teach over 8’s how to play the Ukulele!

In the Sidmouth Seaside Stompers Ceilidh Band Workshop Ray Langton and a team of talented tutors (Team STOMPIT!) will guide the progress of everyone as they learn a collection of jigs, reels and polkas. The team include tutors with expertise in: guitar, brass, percussion, woodwind squeezebox and fiddle and will lead the Sidmouth Seaside Stompers to play together as the ceilidh band for the Stomping Ceilidh in Blackmore Marquee on Thursday night. For any children who play a musical instrument (approximately grade 2 and above standard) don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to perform on a major stage at the festival.

There are opportunities for families to work together with Pottery Workshops with Louise Block. Everyone can join the extended Cuckoo Crafts team in the Children’s Festival Torchlight Processional Build workshops, which this year will create some fabulous illuminated costumes and head dresses and encourage everyone to play in the illuminated percussion band to make sure no one misses the Children’s Festival as it processes along the sea front.


Don’t miss out on the new welcome Family Ceilidh on Saturday, the Family Story Show with Dave Tong the Yarnsmith from Norwich (Sun), Family Circus Show (Mon) with Solid State Circus from Australia and a joyous, fun-filled I Am The Song show with Jim Causley, Keith Kendrick & Sylvia Needham based on the children’s poetry of Charles Causley (Tues). As always there will be a magical puppet show featuring The Mystery of Memory Lane with Hand to Mouth Theatre (Weds). Thursday sees the Stomping Ceilidh in Blackmore Marquee. With only a week to rehearse, the Sidmouth Seaside Stompers always amaze with superb danceable music all evening. Not to be missed! When you need a rest, there will be sea-side shanty fun from The Exmouth Shanty Crew. This year the Seaside Stompers will be dressed in Shades of Green, so be sure to dress in green to add to the colourful atmosphere.


For the best way to make sure that children get the most out of The Sidmouth Folk Festival’s Children’s Festival at the best possible price, purchase a Children’s Season ticket for the week. 

Tickets available now.

Get yours today!