The Tenterden Folk Festival runs from Thursday October 2nd to Sunday 5th and 5,000 visitors are expected to enjoy a unique blend of events …and a thousand of these will be performing – either by singing, dancing or playing. The festival, now in its 22nd year, is a family friendly occasion with an international reputation, drawing in visitors and performers from all over the world. And on the High Street it will be well worth checking out the Woolpack, the White Lion, the Vine and the William Caxton pubs, as well as the Indulgence Café, which will all be hosting numerous drop-in sessions over the weekend. Be prepared to participate, for instance in a sing-a-round.
The festival formally opens with a fund raising concert on Thursday featuring Ashley Hutchings and Ken Nicol. Hutchings was the founder of English folk legends Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and the Albion Band, and on Friday night the Tenterden Club will host an English barn dance featuring local five piece ceilidh band Wyatts Cat, with their unusual combination of melodeon and flute with the rhythm and driving beats of drums and bass.
The free Saturday procession along the High Street always attracts a huge crowd. This year more than 40 Morris sides, two giants and numerous clog and garland dance groups will take part. Retail therapy is available at the marquee just off the High Street, as well as numerous stalls and shops throughout the town from 10am-6pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Sea songs and shanties are also popular and there is a shanties taster on Friday at the Town Hall and, for those who want to be fully immersed, the Cinque Ports sea songs and shanties session is in the Tenterden Club on Saturday afternoon. The Old Dairy Brewery is also throwing open its doors on Friday and Saturday and visitors can either just drop in or attend one of the tours at 11.30am and 4.15pm on Saturday.
The full programme is available at the website. Tickets for the weekend are £49 or £24 for the under 16s. Hotels in the area are close to full but, thanks to a local farmer, camping is available. There is no running water at the field, so visitors putting up a tent in Tenterden are advised to stick to beer. Happy camping!