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. There are free concerts and others you need to buy tickets for (we have to pay artists and for the equipment hire).

Honey and the bear

Top class bands

Over 22 top bands from across UK and Europe in 9 different concertsl

Swanage Folk Festivla handing over a cheque for £1000 to the Swanage Food bank.

Not for profit

The organisers are volunteers, the income covers the costs and if there’s a small surplus it’s donated to local good causes.

Swanage Folk Festival procession led by the Swanage Mayor

Biggest UK festival of dance sides.

The dancers are the most colourful part of the festival. They perform throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday; stop and watch them for free.

Swanage Folk Festival procession led by the Swanage Mayor

Craft, food and beer tent.

There’s nothing better than browsing, relaxing, eating, drinking and soaking up the vibe on Sandpit field.

Couple dancing together in a dance workshop

Workshops

Dance and music workshops running through the two days, learn new techniques or polish up old ones.

Stewards at road closure

Please help

The festival can only run, because of our wonderful volunteers. Click here and learn more about how you could help.

Festival history.

The Swanage Folk Festival has come a long way since 1992, when it was a day of dance. Evening concerts were later added to thank and entertain the dancers. Now it’s grown into a full and varied programme weekend of music, dance and crafts, big enough to invite very big names in UK & European Folk music.

The original idea was to extend the summer, so it takes place once the schools have gone back, two weekends after August bank holiday.

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

Other snippets of festival background.

Swanage Folk festival committee 2023

Who arranges the Festival?

The committee consists of unpaid volunteers who love Swanage and love folk. 2023’s committee were seen on main stage, showing off their Tshirts (and in one case a matching hairstyle).

The 2024 committee (who are hoping that this year’s T shirts are not pink) comprises: Jon Baker (Chair),  Matt Piper (Treasurer), Virginia Payne, Claire Norman, Christine Moore, Linda Corlett, Martin Jardine, Sandi Williams, Steve Williams and Angie Phillips.

Swanage Folk festival committee 2023

Swanage Folk Festival dates

Swanage Folk Festival 2024 6th to 8th September.

Swanage Folk Festival 2025 5th to 7th September.

Swanage Folk Festival 2026 11th to 13th September.

It’s always on the second weekend after the summer Bank Holiday.

Supporting Local Charities

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

Swanage Foodbank

Swanage Foodbank

Handing over a £1,000 to the Swanage Foodbank are Swanage Folk Festival’s Matt Piper and chair Jon Baker, with Lucy Cocke and Ian Bandy of the foodbank

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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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