Sidmouth FolkWeek is go! The sun has come out to play for our opening events – with the traditional informal kick off in the Market Square and two brilliant pre-Festival special concerts under our belt with the amazing Roger McGough + LiTTLe MACHiNe and Fairport Convention setting the mood for a brilliant first weekend of the 2018 festival.

What’s On This Weekend?

The weekend ahead is jam-packed with concert – large and small, roots dance parties, ceilidhs, folk dance, Children’s Festival events, youth sessions, spoken word events, workshops, dance displays and much, much more. And the forecast looks set for blue skies and sunshine. Join us for a festive weekend by the sea!

Head down for some wonderful headline concerts at the Ham Marquee, starting tonight (Friday 3rd) with Peter Knight and John Spiers, pairing legendary fiddle player Knight (ex-Steeleye Span) and melodeon player extraordinaire Spiers (ex-Bellowhead), plus much-loved folk poet Les Barker.

Saturday sees a full-house for Festival Patrons and all-round stars Show of Hands with Miranda Sykes plus dazzling duo Kit Hawes and Aaron Catlow, as well as an afternoon show with two of the UK scene’s finest songwriters Steve Tilston & Jez Lowe plus mighty four-part harmonies from Narthen. A lunchtime Opening Welcome Concert features Pete CoeOutside Capering CrewHalsway Young FolkSidmouth Town Band (Free to all).

Sunday has a celebratory mood with and evening headline show with English and European dance pioneers Blowzabella at 40 with talented Devonian guest and “the finest folk singer of his generation” Jim Causley. Canadian showman Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys head up the afternoon show plus gorgeous homegrown Americana of Alden, Patterson and Dashwood. And, at lunchtime, we are delighted to showcase the exciting young ensemble bringing together talented young folk musicians from across England , the National Youth Folk Ensemble plus captivating Sheffield-based folk singer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Jack Rutter.

You can get your groove on this weekend at The funky Bulverton Marquee, with some upbeat dance party events including tonight’s show with the young, sassy, innovative and skilful, The Monster Ceilidh Band. London based urban bluegrass outfit Police Dog Hogan will be offering up a hi-octane brew of Americana influences and British song-writing on Saturday night, with support from compelling singer Jake Morrell. You may have caught the mighty Saltfishforty from Orkney on this week’s Folk Show on BBC Radio Two. They join with the amazing Elephant Sessions for a superb Sounds of Modern Scotland Party Night on Sunday.

And around town, there is a plethora of delights to take in, including some special shows at the Manor Pavilion with Magpie Lane’s To Every Thing A Season featuring songs of love, dancing, drink and death (Sat night); the compelling and powerful folk choir The Lost Sound Dartmoor, singing original a cappella arrangements of traditional songs in In the Heart (Sun afternoon); and The Emily Askew Band, where medieval and the folk worlds collide (Sun eve).

Cellarful of Folkadelia afternoon gigs kick off at the The Kennaway Bar too with weekend shows from some great leftfield artists, Eli West, Kit Hawes & Aaron Catlow, Tim Jones & The Dark Lanterns and Rock of Eye. Evening concerts in the Cellar Bar feature Tannara, Pete Coe, Steve Tilston, Alden, Patterson & Dashwood, The Drystones and more.

Don’t miss out on a fantastic sunny festival weekend.