The Boys (And Girls) Are Back In Town!
By Andy Fawthrop
Yes – we know it’s not in Devizes, but it’s just up the road in Chippers – a quick trip in the car or on the exciting ride that is the 33 bus. And Chippenham is one of the biggest (and oldest) folk festivals on the national circuit, and it’s right here in Wiltshire.
Well, it’s been two years since the last proper Chippenham Folk Festival (due to You-Know-What), but at last it’s back again this year. This time it’s been shortened from its traditional three and a half days to just two and a half days, starting on Friday night, a necessary and prudent economic step to keep the event on a sound financial footing for the future, as the traditional audience begin to peek their heads out of their tents and caravans. So we’ve lost the traditional Bank Holiday Monday big parade and street market, so the rest of the programme has been carefully pruned and trimmed to try and fit everything in. Nevertheless there’s still plenty going on.
The festival, if you’ve not been before, runs right across the town and features over 20 venues (from the large Constitutional Hall, the Neeld Hall, the Olympiad, The Town Hall and The Cause through to various pubs and cafes), over a hundred timetabled events, and several streams of entertainment (concerts, ceilidhs, dance, Morris, displays, children’s entertainment, workshops and tutorials, meet-the-artist) – so there really is something for everyone. All the formal events and concerts are entry by ticket (available online or at the Box Office), but there’s plenty of events that are via “the hat” on the day, and many free fringe events too. There’s poetry, there’s story-telling, there’s music of many types. The streets will be filled with Morris Dancers, display teams, musicians and other performers.
Headliners are Belshazzar’s Feast, 3 Daft Monkeys, Sean Fitzpatrick and Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, ably supported by folk veterans such as Tom McConville, Keith Donnelly, Si Barron, Bob & Gill Berry and many, many others.
With so much going on, it’s definitely worth the trip up the road from D-Town – you’re bound to find something you like! It’s great value for money – whether a day ticket, or the whole weekend. So go on – get your inner Morris on, and get up the road!
The full timetabled programme, together with plenty of other information, and tickets are all available on the Festival’s website at www.chippfolk.co.uk
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