About the Festival

Each year our small seaside town, on the beautiful Jurassic coast of Dorset, fills up with hundreds of colourful dancers and the town resonates to the sound of bells jingling, sticks thwacking and excellent music.

The beating heart of the festival is on Sandpit Field; where there’s the main marquee, craft fair, food stalls, first aid and the beer tent (of course). This is where you’ll see the headline bands and evening concerts. Some concerts are free and others you need to buy tickets for (we have to pay artists and for the equipment hire).

The Morris dancers are the most colourful part of the festival. They perform throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday; stop and watch them for free. As Dorset Life put it in 2017“this is where Rappers meet Mollies and Fools flirt with belly dancers, dancers in clogs performing step dances, and Cotswold dancers from Dorset rub shoulders with traditional Slovak dancers, swords are drawn and sticks primed for a procession through town.”

There are also various workshops and singalongs around the town. Some of these are free, others you’ll need to buy tickets for. Here’s a map of all the locations.

The Festival is self-funded and run solely by volunteers. If we manage to create a small surplus we donate it to local good causes.

We rely on your support, please volunteer to help and / or donate.

Dance workshop
Honey and the bear

Next year’s Swanage Folk Festival

The Swanage Folk festival is always on the second weekend after the summer Bank Holiday.

Dates for the Swanage Folk Festival 2024 are 6/7/8 September.

In 2025 the Swanage Folk Festival dates are 5/6/7 September.

Festival history.

The Swanage Folk Festival has come a long way since our first day of dance in 1992. It started as a festival of dance, the evening concerts were mainly to thank and entertain the dancers. Now it’s grown into a full and varied programme weekend of music, dance and crafts.

We are now big enough to invite some very big names in UK Folk music.

The whole idea was to extend the summer, so the Festival always takes place two weeks after August bank holiday; that’s after the schools go back, making it feel like a late summer.

Enjoy this old video from 2000 and a newer one from 2021.

Who arranges the Festival?

The Festival committee has been led for many years by Steve Parker. In 2022 he stood down from running the Festival, but still helped the rest of us put it together.

The committee consists of Jon Baker (Chair),  Matt Piper (Treasurer), Margaret Tyrer, Angela Bell, Christine Moore, Greg Bell, Linda Corlett, Martin Jardine, Sandi Williams, Steve Williams and Angie Phillips.

 

Supporting Local Charities

The Festival is self-funded and run solely by volunteers. If we manage to create a small surplus we donate it to local good causes, some of the more recent examples are below.

Dorset Air Ambulance

Dorset Air Ambulance

After 2022’s Swanage Folk Festival we had a surplus and were very pleased to donate £500 to the AIr Ambulance, as well as other local good causes.

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The Swanage Food bank

The Swanage Food bank

The Swanage Folk festival is well known for filling people’s heads with good music, but this year we’re also helping fill the Swanage food bank.

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Lewis-Manning Hospice care.

Lewis-Manning Hospice care.

Our Treasurer Matt Piper and chairperson Jon Baker, were recently handing over a cheque for £200 to Lewis Manning’s local manager Heidi Stearn.

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St Georges pre-school

St Georges pre-school

St George’s Pre-school Leader, Sabrina Moss, was delighted when she received an unexpected donation of £250 from Swanage Folk Festival.

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WillDoes

WillDoes is a local charitiy which help supports young people who may be finding life tough, struggling to cope with daily life. Their mission is to  promote any charitable purpose (including the promotion of education, physical health, mental health and social...

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Friends of Swanage Hospital

After 2022’s Swanage Folk Festival we had a surplus and were very pleased to donate £250 to the Friends of Swanage Hospital, as well as other local good causes.

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