‘Memorable’ virtual Sidmouth Folk Festival promised – as appeal to safeguard event’s future tops £70,000

Organisers of an online Sidmouth Folk Festival are promising a ‘diverse and memorable’ virtual event – as a fundraising bid to secure the tradition’s future topped £70,000.

The official fun will see shows performed from a ‘secret location’ in the town on August 1 and 2 among other festivities throughout the week.

They will ‘harness the spirit of the annual seaside music and dance party’ in the absence of the real thing.

And a crowdfunding appeal to secure the future of Sidmouth Folk Festival in 2021 and beyond has been going from strength-to-strength. It smashed its initial target of £30,000, hit its £70,000 extension, and is now aiming to net £90,000.

Organisers announced in April they had called off the event for the first time in its 65-year history because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson said this week: “The heart of the virtual festival will be shows from a secret location in Sidmouth on Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2, from 5pm – 9pm.

“Hosted by Matthew Crampton and Kitty Macfarlane, the concerts will feature live appearances by Steve Knightley and Jim Causley, as well as unique recorded performances from Martin Simpson, Brighde Chaimbeul, Jez Lowe, Ewan McLennan, Jackie Oates and John Spiers, Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage, Cohen Braithwaite- Kilcoyne and many more.

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

“And, true to Sidmouth’s ‘something for everyone’ tradition, expect virtual versions of the ever-popular John Gasson Jig Competition, the legendary Sidmouth Folk Festival Horse Trials, Folk on Foot, as well as storytelling, folk dance, poetry and mummers plays.

“There will be fun-filled activities for children, alongside Shooting Roots and Stream of Sound, and a strong youth programme.

“Zoom workshops will run throughout the festival week with favourites like Kerry Fletcher, Sandra Kerr, Paul Sartin, Nick and Mary Barber’s Big Band, John Dipper, and Bob Ellis.

“There will also be lots of footage from many of this year’s booked artists, and plenty of archive material to bring back happy memories of time spent in Sidmouth.

“The full programme will be announced soon.”

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Sidmouth Folk Festival 2020 is cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

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