WIMBORNE welcomed a host of musicians and colourfully-dressed dancers for its annual Folk Festival at the weekend.

In all, some 55 dance groups – performing traditional Morris dancing alongside Appalachian, Slovakian and Welsh dancing – took to the streets around the town, particularly for the parade from Park Lane to the Square on Saturday.

Meanwhile folk-rockers Little Johnny England, rising star Gavin Davenport and Fairport Convention’s Chris Leslie were among the many performers who got toes tapping at the Allendale Centre.

One new feature this year was Music on the Green, based at Willow Walk and funded via a grant from the John Lewis Partnership, which saw youngsters from schools dancing and performing on an open air stage.

Mike Carhart-Harris, chairman of the festival organising committee, said he was delighted at the atmosphere over the weekend.

“It has been a great festival this year, we have been lucky to have good weather as last year, and I think the numbers attending are the same,” he said.

“We had a sell-out concert on Saturday night, and the ceilidh was very popular.

“Also the new stage at Willow Walk has created a lovely atmosphere with people having picnics while watching the children’s performances – at a family festival it is just what we wanted.

“We are all set for next year and we are hoping to attract more private sponsorship.”

The festival, which was cancelled in 2012 but restored last year to much acclaim, saw sets from George Papavgeris, The Jigantics and Ivor Novello-winning singer-songwriter Catherine Howe among others, as well as 13 up-and-coming folk and country music performers chosen through Folk21.

There were daytime sessions from Fiveways, Sunray and Wimborne folk clubs and a wide range of music, dance and craft workshops for youngsters and adults alike.

This year’s sponsors also include East Dorset District Council, Wimborne BID, Wimborne Town Council and Hall & Woodhouse pub The Olive Branch.

The festival organising committee are seeking volunteers to help organise next year. Email mike@wimbornefolk.co.uk to get involved.