Thursday, 18 May 2017

Crafts, Traders and Food


The Craft tent at the festival has been a strong point of interest to people both attending the festival and local people too. We always have a huge range of items for you ranging from intricate woodwork to silver-smithery and from wrought iron to delectable Chocolate. See the full list here.

Traders and Food in the Park.

This year sees an explosion of different foods and traders on the park.

All our regulars are there, Sandra with her amazing Crepes, Glen serving fresh Whitby Fish and Chips, The Pizzas are there too alongside the Churro wagon with the lovely Fernando. Our Little Coffee Box and Roy’s Italian Job hot drinks are on site as is the delicious range of Ice Creams.

New this year to the park is Pete & Sue’s new venture with bowls of stew and dumplings, a new smoothies supplier, a vegetarian unit and a Caribbean stall too. Yum!

Alongside these are our regulars doing the boat trips and the National Trust and The Wildlife trusts.

Street Fair As usual we will be holding the annual Festival street fair along the high street. It’s always a bit tight but the atmosphere in the day is just fantastic. 

We are still keeping our food stalls away from the high street so we can support our catering and drink outlets in the town. So if you are looking for that special present of just need a hat or a new outfit, this is the place to be on the Spring Bank Holiday. See who's coming here

Big Top entry explained

There have recently been some queries as to why we have a two ticket structure to these popular events so here is a brief explanation.  

The song and concert venues at Chippenham have always been small in number of seats and until we brought the Big Top in line, for this type of event, the venues were no bigger than 150 people.

So with a tent set up as a concert for more than 500 we felt that it would need to have a bigger act in to fill it. 

This is what we have done the last 4 years and in order to do that we need to find extra funds to cover the cost. 

The simplest way, was to offer up to 200 tickets at £12 and leave all the rest of the seats for the season ticket holders. 

This brings in, or at least we hope, enough additional monies to help pay for the acts and provide a venue twice the size as any other at the festival. So if you see another queue , don’t worry there is a good chance you will get in anyway but unlike them you can still go on to the rest of the evening as well.

Order you Big Top Concert Tickets here.

Other festival ticket options available, including Full Weekend, Day & Evening Tickets.

Family Festival

All year, Cat and Lyndsey, our Family Festival managers has been beavering away dreaming up new dastardly plots on things to do with the young people in the Family Castle.

What they have come up with, is a whole shed load of things to keep our younger folks happy and busy. 

Covering a range of ages there is lots for the youngsters to do, singing, dancing, making stuff, storytelling and more. 

See the Family Festival programme for full details.

Day tickets

This is the one ticket fits all ticket that gives access to the whole festival for one day.*  

Right from 9.30 in the morning till dropping time at midnight and beyond it offers the best value if you don’t want to spend the whole weekend with us. 

Each day there are over 65 events so you should not be short of things to go for (* entry is always space permitting) Day tickets are just  £45.

Buy your day ticket here.

Camp sites

There are two sites for you to be able to stay and these are reserved for our season ticket holders only

We have been looking for a way to allow people t stay just one or two nights but we just do not have the space and volunteers to make it fair and safe for all. 

This year we have Fresco Catering on site 2, offering a range of food items at various times in the day so please do support them as they are also supporting the festival.


There are lots of maps of Chippenham and everyone has their favourite. 

We have chosen Google Maps for our online maps and we have for indicators on the map showing all the venues and site of the festival. There are even tools on their for finding your way here, back home or even walking to a venue. You can even measure just how far you have to walk. Check here for our maps

Parking in Chippenham

Always an issue, there are a couple of things to be aware of. 

One is the Angel Hotel with a new and robust parking camera scheme which unfortunately will catch a few out. Make sure you are able to park there by registering with the hotel reception. 

Also a few of our attendees get caught out each year and get their car locked in to the Emery Gate car park. These close at 8pm and there is a charge for releasing your car.

The best option to find out about parking is to check out 
Parkopedia  or

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Buttercross Ceilidhs are back and with a vengeance!

Each day the Market square fills with colour, sound and dancing. 

Top bands from around the country have been drafted in with some of the best dance callers to get you up on your feet. 

The market square is really the very best place to be between 12 and 2pm each day of the festival. 

Grab your partners and come and join in. No experience necessary just a good sense of fun.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Newsletter 20/04/2017

Chippenham Folk Festival

Chippenham Folk Festival





Still time to save on tickets!

Hi all, so that you don't miss out on the option of making a £10 saving on your weekend tickets we urge you to get them booked in now as the price goes up from the 1st May.
Not yet bought your tickets, order them today!

Enjoy a weekend away from the General Election!

As we hurtle toward another round of election fever we know that you will want to get some time away from it all. What better way than to come to an election free event.
We want to provide you with a calm, fun and worry free event that will lift your heart and soothe your brow all at the same time.
We can't promise that some of our artists won't talk about politics but we will do what we can to create that little oasis of calm before it all kicks off!


What to do with the Studio Hall?
Since it's been made smaller by the multi-use facilities it's not been the same as our old Concert venue.
So let's give this idea a go!
Each day the venue will be the centre for the Folk Orchestra workshops until 11.30am. From 12.30 the room will be transformed into a speakeasy, café style room with small tables & chairs, your own bar called "Chips Bar", sumptuous decoration and lighting and a range of different things happening in a continuous mode right through till 5.30pm.
At 9pm the room will then become a relaxing easy style concert with just a couple of acts through till around 11pm.
There will be opportunities to sing, play and perform in the continuous events and we hope that it will become one of your favourite venues again.

A new venue.

We have been talking with the new Café/Bistro in town, Grounded, and they are keen to have artists play in their venue. So we have negotiated a small amount of support from them in return for some of our artists to play. They are providing the space and the audience and we will put a few acts in to make it all go wonderfully. Their food is really good and the coffee and drinks are pretty OK too.
Please do drop in and say hello to the team that will be running the venue and give them your support.

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
Adult (16+ yrs old)
Full Weekend

from £110.00*
Order Now
Youth (10-15 yrs old)
Full Weekend

from £55.00*
Order Now
Children (0-9 yrs old)
Full Weekend

Order Now
* up until 30th April 2017

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