41st Dartmoor Festival 'a big success' and plans in-hand for 42nd festival in August

By Alan Quick   |   Editorial Manager/Photojournalist   |
Tuesday 8th January 2019 7:30 am
Officers of the Dartmoor Folk Festival Association, which organise the annual three-day folk festival each August at South Zeal. AQ 7341 ()

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THE 41st Dartmoor Folk Festival held at South Zeal, near Okehampton over three days in August 2018, was described as a "big success" despite it being held during one of the wettest weekends after three months of record temperatures, a meeting held at The Church House, South Tawton, was told.

Jason Rice, chairman of the Dartmoor Folk Festival Association, speaking at the association’s annual meeting, said that ticket sales had increased, artists were of a high standard and the Saturday evening ceilidh attracted a big crowd.

He said that changes to the programme structure enabled more concert spots.

He explained: "As our customers have come to expect of the Dartmoor Folk Festival, there was something for everyone. The continued emphasis being on top-quality Family Entertainment for all age groups and being provided at a very reasonable price.

"The festival ran without any major issues. The lovely variety of activities offered by the children’s festival kept the kids happily occupied and makes for a good atmosphere on the main site before the afternoon events begin.

"As seems to be the case every year now, there were large numbers of entrants in the Stepdance and Broomdance competitions and they continue to be a highlight for many festival attendees. The heats were as tense as ever with the high standard giving the judges a challenge when deciding who gained a place in the final rounds and then deciding on the eventual worthy champions.

“Of course it is one of the association’s main aims to keep these dance traditions alive, and it is evident from the success of the competitions that they are indeed thriving.

"It is a great asset to the festival that the younger generation continue to get involved both in terms of organising and performing. This is essential in securing the future of the festival and helps the association keep the event relevant to all age groups.

"Once again, we were fortunate to receive a huge amount of extra help from family, friends, and volunteer stewards at the weekend. This all helps to reduce the workload placed on the committee members. This, by no means takes any credit away from the hard work that I know all of our committee and officers put in at the festival and throughout the year, and for this I thank you all.

"I must also thank all those people who are not directly connected to the festival, but help by providing their time, land, equipment, transport and all manner of things that help the festival weekend take place.

"As I do every year, I would like to record the gratitude of the association to the villagers of South Zeal for again allowing us and an influx of visitors to take over their village for three days every August."

Mr Rice concluded by saying that preparations for the 42nd Dartmoor Folk Festival, from August 9 to 11, are already well underway and forecast it will be another enjoyable and memorable weekend.

Officers were elected and the treasurer reported on a sound financial position.

The meeting paid respect to two committee members who had passed away during the past year, Dave Hatton and Bob Patten, who had both given service to the association.

Alan Quick, press officer for the Dartmoor Folk Festival Association, explained: "It was 42 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.

"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."

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

Enquiries can be made by telephoning 01837 840102 or email: [email protected] .

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