About the Festival

The Swanage Folk Festival is two days of dance and music around the town.  It’s self-funded and run solely volunteers. We don’t make a profit and if we have a surplus we donate a small amount to local good causes.

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.

We’ve been going since 1992 and it’s been getting bigger every year. In 2022 we had our 30th anniversary and it was the biggest (more dance sides, more visitors and more bands) than ever before.



Some Festival history.

The folk festival has come a long way since our first day of dance in 1992. It has grown into a full and varied weekend of music and dance.

The Festival started out as a festival of dance and the evening concerts were mainly to thank and entertain the dancers.

Over the period it’s grown, and grown. We are now big enough to invite some very big names in UK Folk music.

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

An 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 Margaret Tyrer (Chair),  Angela Bell, Christine Moore, Greg Bell, Linda Corlett, Martin Jardine, Sandie Williams, Steve Williams, Angie Phillips, Jon Baker


Supporting Local Charities

SFF donating to St George's preschoolThe Swanage Folk Festival is a non profit group and when there’s an excess we donate to local good causes.

In 2022 St George’s Pre-school Leader, Sabrina Moss, was delighted when she received an unexpected donation of £250 from Swanage Folk Festival. As she accepted the cheque, Sabrina said: “The money is very welcome as the Pre-school had been unable to do much fundraising over the last couple of years
because of Covid. We are hugely grateful to Swanage Folk Festival for thinking of us!”

Two other local charities are also benefiting from Swanage Folk Festival donations. Willdoes and The Friends of Swanage Hospital are also receiving donations of £250.

Margaret Tyrer, Chair of Swanage Folk Festival said: “We are really pleased to be helping these worthwhile local charities, particularly in this our 30th Anniversary year. We hope to have a bumper Festival in 2022 and have already booked two of the most popular acts on the folk scene, Seth Lakeman and the Oysterband. “If we have a successful Festival, we will have more to give this time next year.”