Friday, 14 April 2017

Newsletter 14/04/17

Chippenham Folk Festival Friday 26th - Monday 29th May 2017

Happy Easter
(or whatever you are doing this weekend!)

Hi all and a very Happy Easter to you all. We are spending much of it finalising plans and putting together all the exciting things that are happening in this year's festival.
We will be bringing you a news item, each week to update you with some of these and more.
We start with...


We are looking for some really great people to get on board to help us run the festival running up to and on the weekend itself. In the run up we need people that can do physical stuff like set up fencing, move boxes and equipment about and help build and shape the festival. The option of working in the week and having the weekend off with a free pass to the festival is a nice idea but we also need stewards on the weekend too.
However the most pressing need at the moment is traffic management. We need another 6-8 people to put on a high viz jacket on and look after vehicles coming into the site. Give us a call or email in and let's get you on board. Other jobs are also available!

Big Tops

If you have been following the news so far, you will know of some of the concerts in the Big Top. We have a stunning stage set up this year and even more stunning line up. If you have a ticket already then you get access to these great concerts but if you just fancy a dip into the festival without the overall price tag then why not come along to these concerts. A one off concert is for the measly sum of just £12 each.
The Line-up is stellar with Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley on Saturday, Home Service and Coope Boyes & Simpson on Sunday and Calan and a Welsh themed evening on Monday.
The concerts are early so that they don't break into the Festival's evening entertainment and start at 6.30pm.
Please let everyone you know about these concerts - they will be really, really special!
The Big Top Tickets available on our web site now.

Getting here

There is always something to hamper you and this year it is the Rail works. However we have been reliably informed by British Rail that every effort will be made to ensure you get to Chippenham even if it's by bus for the last few miles.
If you are coming by car why not give another folkie a lift.
We work closely with Liftshare that is easy to do and could save you a load of money (it could even start up a lasting friendship - who knows?).
Go to our web site and click in the Liftshare logo on the front page and follow it through. A few people did this last year and found it a realty great way to get to the festival.
More news in a week
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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Big Top Concert tickets now on sale

The Big Top Concerts

The Big TopWelcome to the Big Top Concert series

As always we have an exciting series of concerts for you. This year, after numerous requests we are bringing you some great top Folk artists to this fabulous venue. This is a slight change away from the themed concerts of the last 3 years but don't worry, we will still have one on the Monday.
What is really great about the Big Top is that even though it will easily seat 500 people it still feels intimate. We try to pay particular attention to the atmosphere that is created in this venue and we spend a lot on the PA, Lights and stage setting. Hopefully, you will notice improvements this year.
Ticketing is, as always, available in two streams. We put up for sale, in advance, 200 tickets at £12 for just the concert only and the remainder of the venue is filled with Season Ticket holders (including relevant evening and day tickets). This allows up to 300 season ticket holders to gain access to these concerts which is twice the number than any of our other concert venues at the festival.
Some artists appearing in the Big Top Concerts will also be performing in other venues over the weekend or that day.
So, if you want to see some fabulous performances in a larger space then this is the place to get to over the weekend
Tickets are individually priced at just £12 each. (200 available).
Festival Season, Day and Evening ticket holders have free entry (space permitting).
Big Top Concerts: Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Chris Sherburn, Denny Bartley & Emily Sanders

Saturday, 27th May

Every so often the Chippenham Folk Festival has the opportunity of putting together a concert so stunning that it takes your breath away. This year we have two dream concerts for the discerning aficionado of powerful, committed and beautiful folk music. Four of our best and most influential groups of the last 30 years on one stage in two evening concerts.
Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley with Emily Sanders.
It is always a joy to welcome the quality performers Nancy and James to the festival. One of the most respected and established duos of the folk scene they play a scintillating mix of traditional and contemporary music. They are renowned for their wonderful instrumentals, clear and captivating solo voices and strong harmony singing. Consistently brilliant live performance and an instant rapport with audiences, they approach their music with charm, energy and infectious smiles.
The alchemical pairing of Chris and Denny joined by the wonderful Emily. The elements of guitar, anglo concertina, violin and vocals are transmuted into a wonderful glow. Known for their soul stirring songs, exquisite harmonies, highest quality of musicianship, exhilarating tunes and a love of the craic, they ensure that no two concerts are ever the same. Enjoying their performances almost as much as their audiences, this masterful and inspired trio are definitively at the top of their game.
Big Top Concerts: Home Service - Coope Boyes & Simpson

Sunday, 28th May

Home Service and Coope Boyes & Simpson
Home Service is considered by many the greatest ever folk-rock ensemble. With the new front man, John Kirkpatrick it has evolve into a mighty eight piece while retaining the essential character. There is simply nothing remotely comparable to Home Service in full flow - it is a truly glorious, all-embracing noise.
And from the other end of the folk spectrum, they are joined by the finest 'a capella' trio of matched male voices - Coope, Boyes and Simpson are marking their farewell to touring at their sharp and resonant best. Sensational harmony voices with decades of fabulous material on the tips of their tongues.
Big Top Concerts: In Like a Dragon

Monday, 29th May

In Like a Dragon
Into our sleepy Wiltshire town of Chippenham there enters the Red Dragon.
Over the past 6 years we have introduced themed concerts into our Big Top venue on Island Park and have covered subjects as varied as Scotland, Sea Shanties, Mining, Young Folk, emigration to Ireland, choirs and much more.
Now it's the turn of the Welsh!
Folk music has previously been a relatively quiet affair in Wales. There has been plenty of it in Wales but it was not promoted widely outside the country but that has all changed. With a drive towards independence of their culture and a surprisingly speedy growth interest in the Welsh language this small, singing nation is coming in like wild fire!
With young super-group CALAN heading up the cast you will be transported to the hills, valleys and music of the country.
An extract from Trac, Wales's Folk Development organisation, explains it well. "We have... a shared belief in the unique qualities of traditional cultures, an awareness of their continuing relevance to the present, and a passion for sharing what music traditions have to offer"
In this concert we will present some of the music, the traditions, the dance, the modern and the beautiful. A unique opportunity to see a bit of everything of what Wales can offer.
Performers include Calan, Dawnswyr Tipyn o Bopeth traditional dancers, Gareth Wilkins and the wonderful Huw Williams.
Tickets are individually priced at just £12 each. (200 available).
Festival Season, Day and Evening ticket holders have free entry (space permitting).

click here for tickets

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Newsletter 26/02/17

Last few days to buy super early bird tickets!

You can still save £10 per ticket by either going online via our automated ticket service or if you want to just send us a cheque we can do all that for you. Either way, have a look at our web site for more details on how to get tickets to your favourite festival.
Order Your Tickets Today

What's in this email? (Sorry quite a bit it seems)

The Best Line up?

We don't always realise how good the line-up is whilst we are putting it together but once we see all the names of artists put together we are always really pleased what we have assembled. All we can say is this year is WOW!
Some of the biggest and most respected names in the folk scene have been booked just for your pleasure over the weekend and performing in the most intimate of venues.
So who have we got? Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Home Service, Belshazzar's Feast, Calan, Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley with Emily Sanders, Coope, Boyes & Simpson and Mick Ryan's Crow5. Not a bad start.
Add to that Blackbeard's Tea Party, Bursledon Village Band and Banter plus a whole host of Social dance callers and bands, an army of Display Dance sides, the very best in children's entertainment and much, much more besides. You don't need to go anywhere else to get your early year folk fix.
View the full line-up

The Big Top

We are making a change this year to the style of performance in the Big Top. Our desire to put context based shows on the stage has taken a slightly different turn. Many people have asked us to put on larger concert based event so we have asked Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley and Nancy Kerr & James Fagan to put on a show on Saturday that'll blow your socks off.
If that's not enough we have also secured the services of Coope Boyes & Simpson and Home Service to blow away any cobwebs that may linger in Island Park on the Sunday evening and on the Monday we have a Welsh themed concert showing us what is coming out of Wales including the exhilarating Calan, and some amazing dancers and musicians. Tickets for all these concerts can be bought separately but if you have a season ticket then you stand a very good chance of getting in.
See who is booked for The Big Top Concerts

Enough to shake a stick at?

Can we have too much Morris? Certainly not! Morris, and other display dancing is the backbone of what the people of Chippenham expect and understand what the festival is about. We have two new people on the team driving forward the display side of the festival and they are on Fire! Becky Perry and Laura Southcoat, (bringing the average age of the committee down to at least 55 !) are presenting a new and welcome style into the festival which we oldies think is just fabulous. They have already booked 60 sides to perform at the festival and it's not looking at stopping yet. If you like display dancing and a host of workshops this has to be one year not to miss.
View all the displays side so far coming this year


We are regularly asked how we manage to make this pay. The simple answer is "with difficulty". We have an element of support from local authority but it is miniscule in comparison to the overall cost of the festival. What we need is to encourage at least another 50 -100 people to buy a ticket for the weekend and that would start plugging the gap. We are still an entirely volunteer festival with no pay going to the people that run it. We are working hard to get local traders and the authorities to put something in to attempt a balance what the festival provides the community. However we are not seeing a huge swing in that area yet but time will tell.

Work for us

Fancy a weekend for free? There are lots of opportunities to get to the festival without paying for it. Sure you will have to do a few hours each day but if you do, you will be joining a great team that are all working hard to make the festival work. Stewarding, Campsite team, Task Force, Admin and sales are all needing good, organised and dedicated people to help us make this the best festival in the UK.
For more details check out the volunteering section

Food and drink

There is some limitation about what we can have on the main site on Island park because of size and not wanting to take away business for the Town traders. But what we do is quality. Some of the best coffee you will taste, Fish & Chips direct from Whitby, local wood fired Pizzas, Crepes, Ice Creams and some great vegetarian options all help the festival to survive and provide you with great refreshments too. Don't forget the Folk Festival bar in the Olympiad. We serve some great beer and it's great value too.

Where it all happens

Most of our venues are just 150 seats and that means that you get up close to the artists. (No huge 1000 seaters here). Even our Big Top venue seems small in comparison to some festivals out there.
Venues, in our view, are equally as important as our artists. The success of an event is really down to how you, as a member of the audience, is comfortable. One of the prime examples of someone that is making that happen is Fred & Norma at the Cause. Gone are the hard uncomfortable pews and in comes comfortable, stylish seating that can be set in any format. We look forward to some amazing comfortable things in there. Add to that the Masonic Hall, a real hit from last year, the return of the Yelde Hall and all the other regular venues. The Consti, The Olympiad, Town Hall & The Neeld and many smaller venues you will leave you spoilt for choice. Look out for something special happening in The Studio Hall ... but more about this in the next news.
View our interactive map of the venues around the town

Dancing in the Square

After an absence of at least 5 years, the Ceilidh in the Market Square is back. So many have said how important it is to engage with the people of Chippenham that we have fought to bring back this great event.
With a permanent stage at the top end of the square we are bringing 3 great bands and callers to encourage you to dance in the street.
We have always aware of wet weather so have come up with a solution - bring wellies and brollies just in case. The show must go on after all!!!
See the ceilidh info for more

That's it for now ... more next month.

More info and "What do you want to see at the festival?"
Visit our facebook page and blogs.
The Festival Team

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


We are promoting this concert as a joint venture with Wiltshire Folk Arts.
Proceeds will be shared between the organisations.
The band is absolutely fab and you would be supporting two great organisations in Wiltshire too.
Tickets can be purchased on the door, reserved by phone or by Paypal (call first)

Please contact Bob on 07714 550990 or the Cause Music & Arts centre on 01249 658719
email is

We urge you to come to this event
It'll be a great night!.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Festival News June 2016

What a festival!
Firstly we would like to thank all those who participated in the festival, the atmosphere and the weather was just brilliant.
After a shaky set up with lots of additional extra items to put into place and some difficulties in a few areas in the actuation we think that we managed to pull off a pretty good festival.
The Big Top Concerts were a success with us being shown just where Folk is going into the future with the Newcastle Students from the Folk Degree Course and thank you to Newcastle University for supporting this event!
Scotland was, for many of you, an opportunity to link back to home with a fabulous array of music, song and dance from the Scottish Highlands. Isla St Clair, Mrs Bruce's Boys and all that dancing? What more could you want ... other than a plate of Haggis and a whiskey to top it off, (Next time perhaps)
Finally a great, great performance by the Pitmen Poets. Stirring stuff and some great images along with the music and poetry. Nice to see Benny Graham back on one of our stages! Other concerts and song session were also well attended especially the SongShops which were reported as "just brilliant".
The Social Dance attendees revelled in our new floor in St Andrews Church and this worked a real treat. Thanks to St Andrews Church for the opportunity and thanks to the flooring crew that made it happen. All other dances were packed.
The Ceilidh scene was as good as ever and some exhilarating dance were had each night of the weekend.
Although the turnout for teams on the Monday were, as always, low the Morris excelled themselves with dancing going on just about everywhere in the town.
All the other elements of the weekend were good too including the Children's area with record numbers. Not forgetting the sessions and ad hoc happenings around the town. All in all a great festival.
It was great to see the new Mayor of Chippenham, Terry Gibson, getting so involved in so many events at the festival. His attempt at the Children's maze was quite hilarious. Good on ya sir!
Sadly, however, the enjoyment and revelry was brought to a sad halt as one of the popular members of the team, Neil Roberts, suffered a fatal heart attack whilst driving on his way home and sadly passed away at the scene of the accident. His wife Tracey and friend Mark were in the vehicle at the time. They survived the crash but are devastated at the loss of such a good man. More info can be found about this and funeral arrangements via the web site, blog and social media. We will miss him. 
RIP Neil 
Neil is on the far left on this pic from a few years ago

Finally thanks must go to the management team and all their workers and regular staff. Their contribution to the festival is immeasurable and is quite humbling. Thanks to you all.
Please go to the Festival website regularly for updates on the next festival and lots of pictures and videos from this one.
Thanks again for your company and let's do it all again next May
Cheers for Now
The Festival Team

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Both sides of the Tweed

"BOTH SIDES OF THE TWEED" is a brand new album beinhg officially launched at the Festival.
It will have already had an airing at a special concert in aid of the Sarah Morgan Foundation.
The albim is featiring the wonderful duo Moira Craig and Carolyn Robson, singing partners of the much lamented  Sarah Morgan who passed away in recent times.
This is a fabulous album and contains two tracks with Sarah singing .
Albums will be on sale and some of the proceeds will go toward to Foundation that Sarah set up and inspired others to join.
Do get along to the concert featuring Moira and Carolyn singing songs from the album and more.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

updated google map of Chippfolk festival

Hi All

Here is a link to put into your smart phone or tablet so you can find it easier to get to the various venues at the festival
Just put this link into your phone and it should (!) also give you some info of the venue.
Give it a try and let us know if t works for you. If you know of a better way of showing this please let us know as we are always looking for ways to make it easier for you to get around town.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Newsletter April 2016

Latest news about the festival

Tickets | Big Top Concerts | Crafts & Traders | New People | Help | The Survey! | Album Launch


Good news! - We have noticed at the last minute that there is a mistake in the printed booking forms that we sent out stating full price tickets start on the 1st April. This, of course, is not correct, as mid price tickets are still available until the 1st May.
Sorry about that. However, we still think it's the best value festival in the country.
View all festival ticket options today

Big Top Concerts

We now have all our Big Top concerts in place and we think they are the best yet. Saturday sees a turn towards the youngsters in our folk world. A combination of support from The Folk Degree at Newcastle University, Chippenham Town Council, The Chippenham BID and the festival is supporting this brilliant opportunity to put on a concert by recent and current graduates of the course.
Pons Aelius, 2015 Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Award Winners, and The Rachel Hamer band plus another 5 performers from the current course are heading our way to show us how they see folk and it's going to be exciting! The concert will be presented by none other than Catriona MacDonald and Sandra Kerr!
If that's not enough for you, we have a Scottish Extravaganza on the Sunday with Isla St Clair, The Pipes and Drums of the Scots Guards association and accompanying dancers. The concert will also include Mrs Bruce's Boys, (Ian and Fraser Bruce), Hector Gilchrist and Moira Craig and Chippenham's own Scottish dance troupe Hopscotch.
If you like a wee dram of Scottish then this will be for you!
Monday sees a move down the coast from Scotland to Durham and Northumberland where THE PITMEN POETS will take you on a musical and visual journey through the hard times of coal mining in those communities. Bob Fox (War Horse), Jez Lowe, Billy Mitchell and Benny Graham star in this wonderful journey through the world of coal.
Tickets for these shows are just £10 which is almost 25% cheaper than last year. (Season tickets free-space allowing).
Order My Big Top Concert Tickets

Crafts & Traders

The layout of the craft and music tent was a great success last year and we are adding to that second village green effect by a couple more food outlets. The Italian Job coffee trailer will be in this area alongside Spilt-screen Ice cream, Flaming Pizzas and others.
We are also introducing another Coffee supplier near the ticket offices with The Little Coffee Box looking after your drink requirements.
Don't forget also that the festival runs it's own bar in the Olympiad with a great range of traditional local beers and cider and much more besides. Drop in and say hello to Ginny and her all girl team and get a drop of decent beer at just £3 a pint!
There is much more on the site that can be mentioned her so drop by the website and follow links to Traders, Crafts and Street Fair.
View all the Traders details

New People

We always seem to have either new people on the team or people with new jobs and this year is no exception.
Our Box office team is now headed up by Sasha Berry, the Big Top is being overseen by Ron Hawkins and the Island Park team is under the leadership of Iain Spence. Welcome all and thanks for your assistance. It's really appreciated.


We are still looking for more assistance in the week running up to the festival, particularly task force helping to build the festival and people to manage the traffic onto the River Island Park. If you can help call Bob on 07714 550990 and we'll see where you can help us. Thank you.

Survey coming soon

Every now and again we like to find out what you think and so we have devised a simple email survey to help us to plan for the future. Its called 'Future Festivals' and will; appear in your email inbox shortly.
If you decide that you don't want to take part just simply let us know or even just delete the email.

Album Launch

At least one album is launched at the festival each year and this year it's an album called "Both Sides of the Tweed" with Moira Craig and Carolyn Robson. A celebration of some wonderful songs from these North Country lassies includes a couple of tracks with the late much lamented Sarah Morgan.
Some profits of the album will be donated to the Sarah Morgan Foundation. See Moira and Carolyn's artist info and the Souvenir programme for all the details.
That's it for now, another update at the beginning of May.
See you at the festival!
The news team

Adult (16+ yrs old)
Full Weekend

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Youth (10-15 yrs old)
Full Weekend

from £53.00*
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Children (0-9 yrs old)
Full Weekend

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* up until 30th April 2016