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15th June 2021

Tenterden Folk Festival, back with a song and a dance!

It was a very sad day back in June 2020 when we had to take the decision to postpone the 28th Tenterden Folk Festival. Now, one year on, plans are going well advanced for Tenterden Folk Festival 2021 which will run for four days from Thursday 30th September to Sunday 3rd October.

This was only made possible thanks to the support we received during the 2020 from Tenterden Town Council (TTC), Ashford Borough Council (ABC) and Kent Community Foundation over the period when we had very little income but still had to pay out for rent of our storage unit, insurance, subscriptions and many of the usual standing costs of running a charity. We were not idle during the lockdowns and still managed to run some Zoom workshops for a group of the students with special needs at Wyvern School and also built a new website for the festival and the Trust’s other activities. We also managed to continue to publish Around Kent Folk with support from folk clubs across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

Now with further grants and sponsorship from TTC, ABC, Kent County Council Arts Development Fund, The Brissenden Trust, The Postcode Lottery, GMP Accountants and festival venues, as well as donations from friends of the festivals we are working hard to make Tenterden Folk Festival 2021 Covid safe while remaining as near to normal as possible and also extra special. Most of the guests we originally had booked for 2020 have agreed to roll their bookings forward to this year. Sadly, Jeff Warner from the USA, a regular guests at the festival, has had to postpone his UK tour to 2022. For personal reasons the Wilson Family from North East England have also had to postpone their booking to 2022 but we are thrilled to be able to confirm a rear appearance of Chris and Steve Wilson as a duo. We have also added several guests to the bill including multi-instrumentalist Steve Turner and Dora Darling who will be making her first visit to Tenterden. The full guest list can now be found at www.tenterdenfolkfestival.org.uk. Morris sides and dance display teams are now able to get out and start practicing again after a break of over 12 months and we are already getting a good number of them signed up to dance at the festival. So far we have around 25 Morris sides, Bulgarian dancers, Slovakian dancers and Appalachian dancers and aim to recruits more over the next few months. Plans for the free events on the Recreation Ground including the crafts and stalls marquee and free music stage are at an advanced stage. We have booked an extra wide marquee for the stalls to cater for a one way system and allow social distancing, making it safe for our stallholders and the public. We already have an exciting selection of stalls booked in ranging from hand made jewelry, woodturning, garden plants, leather work and other artisan crafts to musical instruments and artwork. More stalls will be added through to late September.

Venues for this year’s festival will include most, if not all, of our usual venues, but we will be making more use of the larger halls such as the Tenterden Club and Town Hall as we can allow the audience and artists more space. We also hope to move some events to St Mildred’s Church which is a lovely venue and will allow more space for social distancing if needed. We are planning to include a mix of events including concerts, barn dance, workshops, meet the guests, sing-a-rounds, music sessions, crafts and stalls, dance displays, procession, etc. all subject to whatever the Government advise is at the time. The festival campsite will be in a field near the Town Centre Railway Station.

Tickets are already on sale via our website and will be on sale from the festival box office over the long weekend, where we will be able to accept payment by card to avoid unnecessary handing of cash. For the latest information visit our website at www.tenterdenfolkfestival.org.uk or check out our Twitter feed @TenterdenFolk.

Alan Castle

Trustee and Festival Director

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Tenterden Folk Festival

Tenterden Folk Festival, the independant folk festival in the Weald of Kent