The organisers of Sidmouth’s Folk Festival are promising a diverse and memorable online event as their fundraising campaign hit £70,000 securing the future of the festival. The event will see shows performed from a secret location in the town over the weekend of August 1st and 2nd as well as other fun and festivities.

The news is being welcomed by festival fans after organisers had to cancel the event for the first time in its 65 year history because of the ongoing uncertainty with the coronavirus pandemic. Following the event’s cancellation, a crowdfunding campaign was set up to secure the future of the festival, the initial target was £30,000, but now that they have hit £70,000 they have reset the target at £90,000.

Speaking to reporters, a spokesperson for the event said: “The heart of the virtual festival will be shows from a secret location in Sidmouth on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August from 5pm – 9pm.

“Hosted by Matthew Crampton and Kitty Macfarlane, the concerts will feature live appearances from 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 Trails, Folk on Foot as well as storytelling, folk dance, poetry and mummers plays.

“Zoom workshops will run throughout the festival week and 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 event hopes to harness the spirit of the annual event in the absence of the real thing. Make sure to look out for information from the organisers on their social media about the programme and links to watch the performances.