This year’s Sidmouth Folk Festival promises to be the best song and dance party in the West theis summer, with the first full-on live event for three years set to whisk music lovers off their feet when it bursts into action at the end of July.

The historic festival will be taking over the Regency seaside town - recently highlighted as one of the top five most desirable holiday destinations in the UK - for a whole week that’s jam-packed with folk-fuelled fun, with a host of opportunities to join in as well as witness some sensational concert performances.

Back for the first time since 2019, the Bulverton enclave at the top of the town is notoriously the high energy hub of the festival with jumping roots dance parties every night from 7pm through to the early hours. A one-stop shop for an action-filled night out, it’s got some of the most exciting artists in the folk world lined up to get the party started. 

There’s going to be hour after hour of dance floor action, with an outstanding main act and a fun-filled Late Night Extra ceilidh. The evenings will kick off with early doors sessions and end with after-hours acoustic chill out sessions in Betsy’s Lounge.

Acts include Highlands and Islands’ heroes Peatbog Faeries, the rocksteady rhythms of Edward II, Blowzabella’s Euro dance sounds, firebrand singer songwriter Grace Petrie, Australia’s Bush Gothic, Sheelanagig, Joshua Burnell & Band and Kirkophany.  Bringing things right up to date, the Silent Ceilidh with Urban Folk Theory promises a fusion of the grooviest folk tunes and contemporary dance beats, bass lines, pads and sounds.

If all that floats your boat, the best way to squeeze every drop of fun out of the long, summer nights is with a Bulverton-in-One (BiO) or a Big Gig Ticket as your pass to the whole package.

This year there’s lots of daytime action at the Bulverton too, with workshops featuring Blowzabella, The Spooky Men’s Chorale, West African Dance with Batch Gueye, Bhangra Dance and Salsa. For the first time there’s a chance to learn new artistic skills at Bulverton Creative Making Sessions with Heather and Mark Clarke of Creativity, Design and Production. They’ll be showing festival goers how to make beautiful large-scale decorations for display on the ‘Welcome Arch’ and around the festival site, including green woodworking, kinetic sculpture and cold forming metalwork.

The Bulverton offering puts the icing on the cake of a magnificent menu of memory-making events for music lovers of all ages. Over the festival week - running from July 29 to August 6 - music will ring out from every corner of the town, in venues large and small, as well as out along the seafront.  

This year’s headline shows in the Ham marquee feature the best in contemporary folk music with Kate Rusby, Show of Hands, The Spooky Men’s Chorale, Eddi Reader, Spiers and Boden, the Yves Lambert Trio, Fara and Jez Lowe. There will be pre-festival concerts from Steeleye Span on (Thursday, July 28) and The Fisherman’s Friends (Friday, July 29) as well as afternoon shows in the Ham venue, including a unique show honouring the late, great Norma Waterson.

There’s a wealth of other treats to join in, from intimate song events, folk dance, children’s activities, youth workshops and sessions, dance displays, processions and much more. For anyone who loves to learn something new or hone their skills, this year’s workshops offer everything from the secrets of the hurdy gurdy with Steve Tyler to Bhangra with Avtar Indian Dance, beginners’ tin whistle to singing with Sandra Kerr or the Spooky Men’s Chorale.

Folk Radio UK’s Cellar Full of Folkadelia afternoon sessions introduce a new world of music inspired by tradition. Performers include N’famady Kouyaté, an energetic young master of the balafon, the traditional wooden xylophone sacred to West African culture and his griot heritage, Serious Sam Barrett, a hard touring, folk and country singer from Yorkshire and Olcay Bayir who delivers ancient folk poems and original songs in Turkish, Kurdish, and Armenian.

For lovers of storytelling and spoken word, there are sessions with Rattlebox Theatre, Katy Cawkwell, Daisy Black, Louise Sherman and Janet Dowling. Racker Donnelly will be back with his unique comic verse and Ilse Pedler will offer poetry sessions.

The ever popular Children’s Festival moves to new home this year in the beautiful Peacock Lawns where the marquees will host a mix of old favourite workshops and activities and popular family evening shows. The Shooting Roots programme also  returns with workshops for 12 to 17-year-olds in dance, band, theatre, crafts, storytelling and spectacular singing with Stream of Sound.

For details of all events and ticket options - including concessions for 18-25-year-olds and children - visit The Sidmouth Folk Festival website