Hundreds attend Chippenham Folk Festival events


Hundreds of people turned out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to welcome the return of the Chippenham Folk Festival – now in its 49th year.

The festival featured top-notch artists including Belshazzar’s Feast, and Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, as well as other artists from local and further afield.

The organisers, Chippenham Folk Festival, a community benefit society, were delighted to be back after a break for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dave Webber, one of the board members, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting a festival again and are delighted with the turnout.

“The island park was full of people watching the free community and family stage events.

“And Chippenham High Street was packed for the parade of Morris dance teams.

“It was great to see the park and the streets of Chippenham come back to life after two years away.

“It was so good to see the local community involved and to see so many young people involved in traditional arts, dance, storytelling and circus arts.”

Mr Webber said organizers sold around 1,000 tickets for the events and hundreds for the free events.

This year’s folk festival, May 27-29, featured live music concerts, ceilidhs, folk dancing, a family festival and morris dancing.

The main act on Sunday was Belshazzar’s Feast, who performed at St Andrew’s Church.

Festival audiences also had the chance to hear the tales of Taffy Thomas, national storytelling winner.

Local performers included husband-wife duo Bob and Gill Berry, former organizers of the Chippenham Folk Festival, who have been performing for over 30 years, and Calne’s Clare’s Circus.

Three bands who perform at The Cause Theater in Chippenham were also on stage at the festival. These were Cause Chorus, Gospel Rocks and Lingmara World Music Choir.

Participating local Morris dancing teams included Bell’s Angels of Holt, Chippenham Morris, Devizes Jubilee Morris, Malmesbury Morris, Somerset Morris and Northgate Rapper, Bath’s only men’s sword dancing team.

This year’s festival has been cut short due to the May bank holiday being moved to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

It has been supported by Chippenham Borough Lands Chasrity, Chippenham Town Council, The Rise Children’s Center Group, Arts Council England, PPL PRS (United for Music) and The Association of Festival Organisers.

Next year the 50th anniversary of the Chippenham Folk Festival will take place during the Bank Holiday from 26-28 May.

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