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Boss Morris dancing in Whitchurch, Hampshire, with Hooty. Photo credit - Jon Wilks
Boss Morris dancing in Whitchurch, Hampshire, with Hooty. Photo credit: Jon Wilks

The Revival of a Historic Hampshire Folk Festival

The Whitchurch Folk Festival returns to Hampshire on May 11, after a break of 34 years.

Nestled in the heart of the Hampshire town of Whitchurch, the Whitchurch Folk Festival is poised for a grand re-launch on Saturday, May 11th. This much-anticipated event marks a significant moment in the town’s cultural calendar, promising a day filled with music, dance, and the warm spirit of community. Tickets for the festival are now available, inviting enthusiasts and newcomers alike to partake in a celebration deeply rooted in tradition.

The Whitchurch Folk Festival heralds a revival of the storied festivities that captivated local folkies between 1977 and 1990 (Cyril Tawney and the kissing gate… now there’s a tale). But this year’s edition is more than a mere reminiscence; it’s a vibrant reweaving of the community’s fabric, blending art, history, and collective experience into a lively tapestry. The festival is a tribute to the enduring allure of folk traditions and the unbreakable bonds they forge within the community.

Remembering Paul Sartin: The Inspiration Behind the Revival

Paul Sartin filming a Christmas special in Whitchurch, 2020. Photo credit: Jon Wilks
Paul Sartin filming a Christmas special in Whitchurch, 2020. Photo credit: Jon Wilks

The festival’s resurgence is, in part, a heartfelt homage to the late Paul Sartin, a beloved local musician whose vision breathed new life into the Whitchurch Folk Club in 2017. In the wake of Sartin’s passing in 2022, the community rallied to honor his memory, transforming the dream of a festival revival into reality. Supported by contributions from Paul’s Much Loved page, the Andover Museum Loft Singers, Magpie Lane, and the Sarah Morgan Trust, the festival is a testament to Sartin’s lasting impact on folk music and the local community.

The Whitchurch Folk Festival will encompass the town’s historic edifices, offering a unique urban backdrop to the festivities. In addition to ticketed events, the festival will include a free Children’s Folk Festival and a Fringe Festival, ensuring that everyone has a chance to partake in the celebrations.

Jon Wilks reflects on the journey, stating, “Paul’s vision and passion were the catalysts for this project. His legacy lives on in what we’ve created, a testament to the profound impact he had on our community and the folk music world.”

A Stellar Line-up of Folk Music Talents

The festival boasts an impressive lineup, featuring some of Britain’s finest folk talents, including the Jackie Oates Trio, Nick Hart & Tom Moore, Magpie Lane, and many more. The event will also showcase performances by renowned Morris dance groups, such as Boss Morris and Bampton Morris, celebrating the rich tradition of folk dance.

The full lineup is as follows:

The Whitchurch Folk Festival invites one and all to join in a day of celebration, showcasing the best of folk heritage. It’s an opportunity to honor the past while embracing the future of folk traditions. With a rich program of music, dance, and community activities, the festival is set to be a memorable event for all who attend. Visit www.whitchurchfolk.com for more details and to secure your tickets to this landmark event.