Plans are coming together for a memorable Online Sidmouth Folk Festival. Central to it will be four hour ‘live’ shows from a secret location in Sidmouth on Saturday 1st August and Sunday 2nd August  5-9pm. Hosted by Matthew Crampton and Kitty Macfarlane, the shows will feature live appearances by Steve Knightley and Jim Causley and specially recorded performances by Martin Simpson, Brighde Chaimbeul, Jez Lowe, Talisk, Yves Lambert, Ewan McLennan, Jackie Oates & John Spiers, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage, Cohen Braithwaite- Kilcoyne and many more.

Look out for special contributions from Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, Blowzabella, Rachel Hair and Jon Boden.

Then there’s the ever popular John Gasson Jig Competition, the legendary Sidmouth Folk Festival Horse Trials, Folk on Foot, Storytelling, Poetry, Mummers Plays and so much more.

Lots of activities for Children too and Shooting Roots and Stream of Sound are back with a strong Youth programme.

The Workshop Programme is developing fast, look out for more details as they are confirmed and a full programme of events in week beginning 27th July.

Sidmouth Big Band with Nick and Mary Barber – 5 zoom workshops Monday 3rd to Friday 7th 11am-12 noon with a Big Band Virtual Ceilidh Friday 7th 4pm-5pm. Caller Martyn Harvey.

Sandra Kerr leads the Sidmouth Festival Choir on Zoom. Music provided.

Paul Sartin – Singing workshop – Sing Out! – We’ll learn the 4-part work of the same name, by Sarah Morgan and Daniel Read. Sheet music to be available for printing in advance. Workshop to consist of warm-ups, learning the song, Q&A, and joining in a new pre-recorded video by the Andover Museum Loft Singers.

Kerry Fletcher is joined by musicians Chris Walshaw and Frances Watt for Zoom workshops on Bal Classics, Bal Variations, Breton Dances and Fandango.

Fiddle Masterclass with John Dipper – with his experience at bringing old tunes to life with The English Acoustic Collective, Methera, Patterson Dipper, Alma, Dipper Malkin and the Emily Askew Band, John will look at how to explore and develop a melody, and give techniques and tips to get the most out of the tune.  

Bob Ellis offers two Melodeon Workshops for Relative Beginners and two for Intermediates and leads Well-Known Tunes at a Steady Pace group sessions on Zoom.

Folk on Foot – Before, During and Just After The Lockdown: how could a folk music podcast that depends on access to the great outdoors cope during the lockdown? Remarkably well it turned out, as its host Matthew Bannister relates with the help of film footage of performances by some of the UK’s finest folk musicians in this exclusive virtual talk.”

Ilse Pedler offers a Poetry prompt a day for 5 days, a collaborative poem and zoom workshop.

Folk Dance

English Dance. Zoom Event – A live workshop with Frances Richardson and Jovial Crew, enabling you to dance in your living rooms or gardens, whilst working on some style points. All are English Country dances (Playford-style), and are slightly adapted to be great for one or two people to enjoy, and you can catch up with other Festival attendees in the breaks, plus get to know the band better.  

Irish Set Dance. Zoom event – Join Carol & Kevin Monaghan for an Irish style get together with an international flavour, a reunion, chat, great music, some half set dances (4 people), both reels and polkas, configured in a medley to enable fully Covid compliant social distanced dancing.  Live music by the fabulous Will Allen and a guest appearance by In Helen’s Shoes!

An Introduction to Scottish Country Dancing. Video – Scottish Country Dancing is a popular form of social dancing danced worldwide by people of all ages from children to 80+.  Led by Bridget Flett, an experienced ceilidh caller and Scottish Country Dance enthusiast, with music from Sandy Flett (Innistor Ceilidh band) the workshop will look at two ceilidh dances for couples plus some traditional and modern set dances. Find out how the classic ‘three couple dance in a four couple set’ is demonstrated with social distancing!

American Contra Dance. Zoom event – The Magnificent Seven Callers have experience in a wide variety of situations. This year we have added the challenge of online calling, and we’ve both already started honing the art of the online dance at, amongst other venues, London Barndance and Oxfolk ceilidhs. Now with the aid of the wonderful Nozzy a select cadre of the Magnificent Seven will be bringing you a live contra, with the best possible sound and synchronisation possible. All dances will be adapted for socially distanced dancers.  

Shooting Roots!

Are you missing Sidmouth? Are you aged 12-17 and looking for something fun to do during the first week of August? Or do you know someone who is? 

Never fear, Shooting Roots, the organisation run by young people for young people that brings an action-packed schedule of workshops to Sidmouth’s teenagers every year, is here to save the day! Our dedicated team of tutors has been working tirelessly over the past few months to prepare a fun-filled week of virtual activities, from murder mysteries to Tik Tok challenges, from music masterclasses to home crafts – there’s something for everyone! There will be storytelling sessions, an Open Mic on Instagram Live, fun games and warm ups, and even a virtual ceilidh! 

We’re really excited to share this programme of activities with you all, but we need your help to spread the word and make sure it reaches the amazing young people that these activities are aimed at. We’re working on getting a more detailed timetable up soon, so please go and like our social media pages (search Shooting Roots) to find out more, and to sign up or get involved with the different activities – join in just one or all of them! And tell your friends – the more the merrier! We can’t wait to see you all there, and to make this Sidmouth Folk Festival one to remember!