Morris dancers dancing at Sidmouth Folk Festival
Image via Sidmouth Folk Festival website

Sidmouth Folk Festival 2022 – a mini guide for newbies

Want to know what to expect from Sidmouth Folk Festival, 2022? We'll keep this page updated so that you stay in the know.

The Sidmouth Folk Festival, 2022, is the 68th in the event's history. It runs from July 29th to August 5th. Tickets are on sale now and can be bought from the link below.

Sidmouth Folk Festival plans to return in 2022 with a few changes up its sleeve. Naturally, the welfare of the audience is uppermost in organisers’ minds, but so, it seems, is the need to freshen the lineup. They’re, “keeping an ear to the past and an eye on the future”, and offering up, “a fresh-faced programme”, that promises first-time performers and a determination to explore the folk arts in much greater depth.

We’ll keep this page updated with as much information as we can regarding Sidmouth Folk Festival 2022. Pre-pandemic, it was one of the best tradfolk events we’d had the pleasure of attending, so we have all our fingers and toes crossed that it’ll make a triumphant return.

In this article you’ll find…

What is the Sidmouth Folk Festival?

Sidmouth Folk Festival began in 1955, organised by EFDSS. Initially a celebration of folk dance, it has grown to include many more of the folk arts, and is now known for its diverse programme, including some of the big names from folk music (traditional and non-traditional) that perform across several stages over the course of the first week in August.

Along the way, Sidmouth Folk Festival has been known as Sidmouth International Festival, The Sidmouth Festival, and Sidmouth Folk Week. Visitors can expect over 700 events, stretching out across the length and breadth of the picturesque Devon seaside town, ranging from folk art workshops to Morris Dancing championships.

Border Morris dancers at Sidmouth Folk Festival
Wreckers Border Morris, Sidmouth Folk Festival, 2018

Where are the venues?

Sidmouth is what’s known as a town festival, meaning that everything is spread around, rather than being stationed in one location. Although things are subject to change, here’s a Google Map showing where you’ll usually find the action.

What is the lineup for Sidmouth Folk Festival 2022?

The first announcements were made on December 10th, and the festival organisers have been spilling more and more beans ever since. For the full lineup, head to the Sidmouth FF website. In the meantime, here are a few that have caught our eye.

Fisherman’s Friends
Kate Rusby
Steeleye Span
Eddie Reader
Spooky Men’s Chorale
Spiers & Boden
Peatbog Fairies
Martin Simpson
Grace Petrie
Daoiri Farrell
Melrose Quartet
Brighde Chaimbeul
John Spiers & Jackie Oates
Will Pound & Jenn Butterworth
John Kirkpatrick
Granny’s Attic
Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne
Jack Rutter
Rosie Hood
Christina Alden & Alex Patterson
George Sansome
Angeline Morrison
Frankie Armstrong
Rowan Godel
Jack Hogsden
Gemma Khawaja
Belshazzar’s Feast
Paul Sartin
Boss Morris

Is the Sidmouth Folk Festival purely traditional music?

No, it isn’t. While the traditional arts are clearly the main focus, there are plenty of things going on that will appeal to non-tradfolkies. This year’s line-up includes a good number of performers who may have been inspired by the tradition, but tend to perform more contemporary music. Show of Hands and Grace Petrie, in particular, will draw large crowds.

Of course, it’s not all music, either. As we’ve already mentioned, dance is a large part of the programme, and you could quite easily fill out your entire week attending workshops on everything from storytelling to mumming.

Is Sidmouth Folk Festival family-friendly?

It certainly is. In fact, there’s even an area dedicated specifically to families. If you have littleuns with you, head to Blackmore Gardens, where the Children’s Festival takes place. You can expect to find children’s theatres, maypole lessons, arts and crafts workshops, one-man bands, and a stage for younger performers. Jackie Oates and Bryony Griffiths are just two well-known names that will be running events for kids in 2022.

A photo of the beach at Sidmouth in Devon, taken by Jon Wilks.

Is Sidmouth Folk Festival free?

No, Sidmouth Folk Festival is not free. A variety of ticket types are available, including season tickets, all-in-one weekend tickets, week tickets, weekend tickets, day tickets, and more. More info can be found on the ticketing site.

Can I combine it with my beach holiday?

Nobody is stopping you! It’s the height of summer, and the beach – although quite rocky – attracts plenty of bathers. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find that the person you’re swimming next to was the star attraction the night before.

It’s also a good spot for walking, wonderfully situated on the Jurassic Coast with the clifftops stretching out in either direction from the edges of the town. The views across Jacob’s Ladder from Connaught Gardens are breathtaking.

That said, if you’re turning up to Sidmouth for a beach holiday during the first week in August, and folk culture isn’t your thing, you’re in for a bit of a surprise. The promenade is rammed with street performers, stalls, Morris sides and throngs of festival-goers. If folk’s your thing, it’s quite the party.

Where can I stay?

The festival is extremely popular, so hotels and AirBnBs tend to get booked out months in advance. However, it does have its own camping ground – the Bulverton Campsite – which is linked to the town by a festival bus, free to use for wristband holders.

A useful tactic is to enquire at the Sidmouth Rugby Club, which puts up people with campervans and motorhomes. Alternatively, many people stay inland in nearby towns such as Ottery St Mary and drive into the festival for the day.

Is there much to eat?

The festival invites stallholders to trade around the various stages, so there’s plenty of food on offer. A collection of international food stands can often be found opposite Jacob’s Ladder Beach, and there is a wonderful Indian street food stall in the grounds of Kennaway House. You’ll also find a range of cuisines around Blackmore Gardens.

The town also has its fair share of pubs and restaurants. Prospect Plaice is an excellent fish’n’chips restaurant.

Got any other Sidmouth Folk Festival questions you’d like us to answer? Get in touch via our contact page and we’ll see what we can do.