Celebratory feel to 40th Dartmoor Folk Festival this weekend

By Crediton Courier Newspaper   |   Editorial   |
Friday 11th August 2017 7:54 am
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Members of the Dartmoor Pixie Band, some who live locally, will perform at the Dartmoor Folk Festival this weekend. ()

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TONIGHT, Friday, August 11, this year’s Dartmoor Folk Festival kicks off at South Zeal near Okehampton, running until Sunday, August 13.

There will be a celebratory feel to the event, which marks its 40th anniversary this year.

It was 40 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 music, song and dance traditions of Dartmoor.

Thanks to the efforts of Bob Cann, his family and friends, and lately his descendants and a strong committee, with the support of an army of volunteer stewards, the festival has grown into one of the top family-friendly folk events in the South West.

This year it will include a packed programme of events and activities suitable for all ages, including a hugely successful children’s festival which will run alongside the main event.

There will be concerts, a ceilidh, craft displays, dances, dance displays, ferret racing, a music hall, pub sessions and music, song and dance workshops and competitions.

Free events include a starter’s song session, a folk club, a ramble on Dartmoor, a church service and a youth music session.


A rich crop of local and national artists will take part, and there will be a return for many of the favourite artists who have attended previous festivals.

Guests will include Fay Hield and The Hurricane Party (Friday), Rob Heron and The Tea Pad Orchestra (Saturday and Sunday), The Jim Causley Trio (Saturday - solo, Sunday - Trio), The Siobhan Miller Trio (Saturday and Sunday), Jackie Oates (Saturday - Band, Sunday - solo and with Chris Foster), Gadarene (Sunday), Keith Donnelly, Phil Beer (Saturday), Geoff Lakeman (Sunday), The Valiant Dance Band (Friday), The Okelele Band (Sunday evening Overture), Ramsley Minors (Sunday) and the Dartmoor Pixie Band (Saturday and Sunday).

Dance teams will include Bampton Traditional Morris, Mayflower Morris, Hook Eagle Morris, Cogs and Wheels and Tinners Morris.

Children’s Festival entertainment includes Entertainingly Different, Dan the Hat, Magic Martin (UK Family Entertainer of the Year 2017) and FurriFingers Puppet Theatre.


Hotly-contested competitions will include the Dartmoor Broom Dance championships and Dartmoor Stepdance championships.

The Dartmoor Fayre, from 2pm to 5pm tomorrow, Saturday, August 12, will include an afternoon of family entertainment.  It is free for children and £4 for adults.  The Sunday afternoon programme of events, from 2pm to 4.30pm, is similarly priced and will also include a programme of entertainment.

The festival will also include a duck race, craft marquee, stalls and refreshments will be available.

A campsite operates (more than 200 pitches last year) and many people attend from across the UK.

For further details, including a full event listing and to book tickets, please visit the website: www.dartmoorfolkfestival.org.uk .

Alan Quick

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