Swanage Folk Festival

Friday 10 September – Sunday 12 September 2021

The annual folk festival in Swanage takes place each September, bringing the town alive with traditional music and colourful dance displays, along with a range of activities to get involved in.

It’s a weekend of folk concerts, street performances, music and dance workshops, all topped off with a Saturday night ceilidh – a chance for you to dust off those dancing shoes and get ready to strip the willow and swing your partner.

The weather’s usually still nice and warm at this time of year, so it’s the perfect time to enjoy some good old-fashioned fun at the seaside with the family.

There’s something for everyone, old and young – as well as all the musical and dance displays you’ll find a great range of food stalls, children’s activities and a fantastic arts & crafts fair at the festival’s hub up on Sandpit Field.

Check out this video of a previous Swanage Folk Festival parade:

Line-up

The full line-up for this year’s festival will be available in July, but here are some of the confirmed acts for 2021:

Advertisement poster for the 2021 Swanage Folk Festival

Swanage Folk Festival 2021 poster

  • Jon Boden – “One of the most venerated of the younger Brit folk generation” (The Guardian)
  • The Churchfitters – Bringing an energy to folk music with a unique approach and often unusual instruments
  • Granny’s Attic – Lively folk trio with a fresh take on traditional music
  • Harbottle & Jonas – Devon-based music & life partners, with exquisite vocal harmonies
  • Hicks & Goulbourn – This duo are the perfect mix of soulful lyrics and spellbinding acoustic instrumental guitar
  • Hot Rats – A foot-stomping folk-rock group
  • Sam Kelly & the Lost Boys – Award-winning singer & multi-instrumentalist and band
  • The Longest Johns – An a cappella folk band who perform a mixture of traditional folk songs and sea shanties
  • Ninebarrow – Award-winning Dorset folk duo, named after the famous barrow on the Purbeck Hills
  • Bram Taylor – Folk singer and guitarist
  • Threepenny Bit – An eight-piece ceilidh band from Hampshire playing a fresh take on traditional music for concerts and barn dances
  • Winter Mountain – Singer/songwriter from Cornwall playing indie folk rock, supporting famous names on stage
Musician Jon Boden playing the fiddle and singing
Jon Boden (Picture credit: PD Cawley)
The band The Churchfitters performing on stage
The Churchfitters (picture credit: Robbo Man)
Sam Kelly & the Lost Boys (credit: GrubbyPix)

Tickets & calendar of events

Folk dancers at the Swanage Folk Festival

Picture credit: Andy Jempson

Ticket prices

Weekend tickets are available for adults and children, with discounted prices if you book in advance:

  • Adult £70 (£60 if you buy in advance before 1 June 2021)
  • Child (six – 16) £35 (£30 if you buy before 1 June)

Children under the age of six go free.

Special event tickets

As well as the weekender tickets, which give you access to the whole weekend of folk-related fun, there are special concerts, gigs and barn dances, too.

These have separate tickets at an extra cost as follows (ticket prices are for adults; children pay half prices for all the below events):

  • Marquee Concerts on Sandpit Field – Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7.30pm, £20
  • Folk Concerts at the Swanage Conservative Club – Saturday and Sunday at 1pm, £10
  • Ceilidh at the Swanage School – Saturday at 7.30pm, £12
  • Folk Concert, Methodist Church – Sunday at 3pm, £10

Folk group on stage at the Swanage Folk Festival

Booking

Festival information tent at the Swanage Folk Festival

Swanage Folk Festival information tent

You can book tickets directly with the festival team by emailing tickets@swanagefolkfestival.com or via the booking form on their website: www.swanagefolkfestival.com/tickets-2021/ 

Alternatively you can buy tickets on Eventbrite.

There may also be tickets for sale on the day at the festival information tent.

Festival fair

The annual craft fair is one of the highlights of Swanage Folk Festival, with over seventy stalls taking over Sandpit Field.

Held right next to the main festival marquee, it’s a great way to extend your enjoyment of the day by browsing the market stalls and sampling some great street food fair before your concert starts, or to fuel up before a night of dancing at the ceilidh.

There’s typically a range of good food, hot & cold drinks, and unique gifts on offer, from local makers to treasures from abroad, including pottery, artworks, handmade soaps, and even musical instruments.

Dried fruit garlands and dried flower wreaths. Swanage Folk Festival
Dried flower wreaths and decorations
Pottery for sale at the Swanage Folk Festival craft fair
Handmade ceramic homeware
People at the beer tent in Sandpit Field for the Swanage Folk Festival
Beer tent with bay views
People browsing stalls at the Swanage Folk Festival craft fair
Covered craft fair
Clothes for sale at a stall at the Swanage Folk Festival
Ethical and sustainable clothing
Handmade children's toys and cushions at the Swanage Folk Festival craft fair
Handmade gifts
Naturally dyed cotton and fabric for sale, Swanage Folk Festival
Naturally-dyed cotton and fabrics
Small dog in Sandpit Field, Swanage by a seller's tent
Sandpit Field is dog-friendly
African drums for sale at the Swanage Folk Festival
Drums for sale in Sandpit Field
Felted slippers and wool rugs for sale at the Swanage Folk Festival
Wool and felted items in earthy hues
The craft tent on Sandpit Field at the Swanage Folk Festival
Browse the many makers' stalls
Dried flower arrangements in the craft tent at Swanage Folk Festival
Handmade dried flower wreaths

Volunteer at the festival

If you’re local, why not get involved in the folk festival by becoming a steward? It’s a great way to meet like-minded locals, have a bit of fun – and a bonus is it means you can attend events for free!

Duties include helping out with checking tickets, managing road closures and giving collection tins a friendly shake as you go around.

You’ll probably be paired up with another volunteer – or, if you have a friend who wants to join you, you can steward as a ready-made pair. Don’t worry about having prior volunteering experience – you’ll be shown what to do well in advance.

There’s no minimum amount of time that you’re expected to volunteer for, however a minimum of five hours gives you the following benefits:

  • Five – eight hours – Receive a wristband giving you free entry into all venues except the evening concerts and main ceilidh (these will be half price for you)
  • Eight hours+ Access all areas/events

Note that the above benefits are both subject to there being space after full-paying ticket-holders have taken their places.

If you’d like to volunteer at Swanage Folk Festival, pop over to their website and fill in a simple form: www.swanagefolkfestival.com/information/stewarding/ 

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