Swanage Folk Festival

🗓️ Friday 8th – Sunday 10th September 2023

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.

  • Morris musicians outside Swanage Tourist Information Centre
  • Folk dancers and live band on Swanage prom
  • Morris representatives from Armaleggan at Swanage Folk Festival
  • Morris dancers performing on on Shore Road in Swanage
  • Man with jester hat at the Swanage Folk Festival
  • Ladies' folk dance group with hoops and bells

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.

Line-up

There’s a packed programme of live music and dance workshops across the weekend:

Friday 8th

  • Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
  • Melrose Quartet
  • Honey & the Bear

Saturday 9th

  • Morris Dance sides procession – 3pm
  • Workshops & singalongs – Throughout the day from 9.30am
  • Festival Comedy Club – At Swanage Conservative Club, 1pm – 3.30pm
  • Free Concert – With Keith Slater, Krelys, the Purbeck Ukulele Band & Buffalo Gals, Sandpit Field, 12pm – 5pm
  • Saturday night Ceilidh – At The Swanage School, with Krelys 7.30pm – 10.30pm
  • Sandpit Field Concert – Featuring Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening, Magpie Lane & Keith Slater, 7.30pm – 11pm

Sunday 10th

  • Morris Dance sides – Various locations throughout the day
  • Workshops & singalongs – Throughout the day
  • Concert at the Con Club – With duo Intarsia and harmony group Thorn & Roses, 1pm – 3.30pm
  • Free Concert – Featuring The Carrivick Sisters, The Salts, and duo Janice Burns & Jon Doran
  • Sandpit Field Concert – With Merry Hell, Merry Hell, Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman and Den Miller

For a full list of 2023’s line-up, visit the festival website.

Festival fair

The annual craft fair is one of the highlights of Swanage Folk Festival, with over sixty 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, apparel and even musical instruments.

Entry to the craft fair is free.

Tickets

A weekend ticket is £79 (early bird price £69).

Festival Information tent at the Swanage Folk Festival
Swanage Folk Festival information tent

Discounted prices are available for kids and children under the age of six go free.

Concerts are individually priced.

Workshops are £4 cash on the door.

Buy tickets online: swanagefolkfestival.com/tickets/

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

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: swanagefolkfestival.com/information/can-you-help-us/