For many Dorset people, the start of summer isn’t heralded by the first crop of sweet strawberries, nor the thunderous applause from Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
It’s when a minster town stages an uplifting weekend of costume and music.
The Wimborne Folk Festival has been a staple of the local calendar for 33 years.
In 2012, due to lack of financial support, the event was declared cancelled, but was revived last year with a new committee and a new name: The Wimborne Minster Folk Festival.
It means that this year, the public can expect another family-friendly festival which runs from Friday through until Sunday.
The town will once again be filled with the colours and sounds of folk music and dance from around the UK and beyond.
Mike Carhart-Harris, chair of the festival organising committee, told Seven Days: “We’ll have around 55 dance groups including Appalachian, Morris, Slovakian and local schools, as well as street entertainment, ceilidhs, paid-for concerts and children’s workshops.
“New for 2014, following a grant from the John Lewis Partnership, we will have Music on the Green, near Waitrose. It’s a family area. It’s a first for us to have a stage here at the festival and it will feature local schools with dance and music.”
This year, a raft of up-and-coming folk artists will be showcased through Folk21 – a voluntary group developing a thriving ‘guest booking’ folk club scene in the UK.
A selection panel chose 13 performers from a wide range of quality artists.
The festival will officially open on Friday June 13 with folk-rockers Little Johnny England alongside Greece-born George Papavgeris and The Jigantics, who include members of ColvinQuarmby and Sons of the Delta.
Saturday sees the festival’s popular ceilidh in the Allendale’s main hall, led by the Simon Care Trio. Meanwhile, the Quarterjack Suite will play host to Fairport Convention’s Chris Leslie, Ivor Novello-winning singer-songwriter Catherine Howe alongside Fairport violinist Ric Sanders and guitarist Vo Fletcher, and Little Johnny England’s PJ Wright in collaboration with US singer-songwriter Brooks Williams.
Bringing the festival to a rousing finale on Sunday June 15 will be the Gavin Davenport Band, the acclaimed singer and multi-instrumentalist returning after a barnstorming set with the Albion Band at Wimborne last year.
Fiveways, Sunray and Wimborne folk clubs will host ever-popular daytime sessions, while the Folk21 talent will perform on Saturday afternoon at the Allendale Centre.
Dance groups from all over the country will perform in the town’s streets and open spaces. There will be a range of dance, music and craft workshops for all ages, a wide variety of activities on the Willow Walk family area and quality food, drink and trade stalls around the town.
Mike Carhart-Harris added: “Last year, the Wimborne community came together to ensure our annual folk festival found a new lease of life. We now want to establish the event with solid foundations so that it will continue for many years to come.
“The grant funding we receive from councils is set to decline, so we are looking for future sponsors who can support us and, in return, reach up to 35,000 people over the weekend.
“This year’s festival is lining up to be another fantastic three days”
- Weekend and concert tickets for the festival are on sale from the Allendale Centre, Wimborne Tourist Information Centre, Square Records and online at wimbornefolk.co.uk.
- For updates, visit wimbornefolk.co.uk, search for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival on Facebook or follow @wimbornefolk on Twitter