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Broadstairs Folk Week brings more than 500 events and acts to the town

By Angela Cole

Broadstairs Folk Week begins today, as a stream of musicians and dancers descend on the otherwise sleepy seaside town. Here, Doug Hudson gives his expert tips on the line-up and things to do.

The festival has been running for 52 years and is now one of the major folk festivals in the country.

Some of the biggest names will be appearing including the home-grown talent of Tim Edey. The Broadstairs boy has played with the Chieftains, Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon and The Wolfetones.

Tim Edey
Tim Edey

In addition to a solo concert he also plays with Hothouse Flowers frontman Liam O Maonlai in what is one of the highlights of the 600-seater concert marquee programme in Pierremont Park.

The Pavilion on the Sands is the other major venue. The Demon Barbers dance party is one of the late night shows that run from 11pm to 12.30am, and early-evening shows include a cajun dance with Hotfoot Specials, African Gumboot and Zulu dancing, and a Eurodance.

The campsite is at the Charles Dickens School which also hosts concerts in the theatre.

Virtually all the pubs and other venues including the Sailing Club, the Holy Trinity and Baptist Churches, The Old Curiosity Shop and Crampton’s Museum have a full programme of performers throughout the week.


Other main headline acts to appear are Bob Fox (the singer from Warhorse), Faustus, Rod Clements (Lindisfarne) & Ian Thompson and Clive Gregson & Christine Collister. The Pavilion will see bands like Noble Jacks, Tautas Roks and Buffo’s Wake. Pubs host bands including the Hot Rats, Funke & The Two Tone Baby, Track Dogs and The Thumping Tommys.

Hundreds of Morris men will be descending on Broadstairs
Hundreds of Morris men will be descending on Broadstairs


Step Up & Play is aimed at younger folkies and is an opportunity to meet some professional artists in a Day of Dance, A Day of Music and A Day of Song. There are three or four different workshops each focusing on various aspect of these folk traditions. For older participants there are sessions on many musical themes such as harmonica playing, bodhran (Irish drum) basics, melodeon masterclasses and playing in a band.

The Hobby Horse Club has activities for kids at 10.45am each day at the bandstand in Victoria Gardens and magic and circus skills can be learnt at the campsite.

The Demon Barbers will be in Broadstairs
The Demon Barbers will be in Broadstairs


There are more than 500 events at Folk Week ranging from intimate folk club sessions in the Sailing Club to two major concerts each day in Pierremont Park. The Parade at 5.30pm on Saturday, August 12, morris sides – more than 30 sides will be in attendance this year – the Craft Fair, Bandstand and pub gigs all make up an event that takes over a year to plan with folk artists visiting from far and wide.


For me, Tim Edey & Laim O Manlai is the pick (on Wednesday, marquee, 7.30pm). The Demon Barbers – The Lock In Remixed is a breathtaking dance and music show (on Saturday, marquee, 7.30pm). Buffo’s Wake (Friday, August 18, Pavilion 11pm) should be a fitting Gogol Bordello-style finale.

The Singing Rail with the Kent Song Collective at Crampton Hall (on Saturday) and a Country Dance workshop with Frances Richardson and Mollie Koenigsberger presenting Jane Austen dances at the Campsite Dance Hall (Friday).


You can buy tickets for single events. Day, weekend and week long are also available, with or without camping. Visit broadstairsfolkweek.org.uk or call 01843 604080.
Information and box office is in the Albion Street Centre. Many events are free and spectators are encouraged to donate to collections. Parking is at a premium in Broadstairs so visitors are encouraged to use public transport.

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