One of the figureheads of English folk, Eliza Carthy opens the Festival at the Ham Marquee on July 31. Eliza has no less than seven BBC Radio Two Folk Awards to her credit as well as two Mercury Prize nominations. With her new band, she will be showcasing self-penned songs from her latest album 'Dreams of Breathing Underwater' inspired by her travels around the globe.
On Friday 1st August you could listen to England's most popular acoustic roots duo Show of Hands in the Ham Marquee or dance to English tunes infused with the rhythms of Africa and Asia from Boka Halat at the Festival Clubhouse at the Bulverton Marquee.
Saturday night at the Ham features brilliant songwriter John Tams, perhaps better known as Rifleman Daniel Hagman from the Sharpe TV series, or you can hear the sublime piano music of Finland's Timo Alakotila accompanied by one of the finest exponents of the piano accordion, Karen Tweed at the Manor Pavilion.
Virtuoso Irish fiddle player Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahil take the Ham stage on Sunday night with their beautiful rousing music or you could join Dalla at the Clubhouse for a Cornish 'Noze Looan' – an evening of dances easy enough to pick up as you go along by watching everyone else. On Monday afternoon young innovative Scottish band Breabach blend double bagpipes, flute, fiddle and stepdancing in the Ham Marquee. Follow that dancing to Quinteto Mambo Jambo's mix of Afro-Cuban-Salsa-Samba music at the Clubhouse.
And so the week goes on, with other guests including world-famous Nothumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell, Irish music from Last Night's Fun, a five-hour mega-dance to the bagpipes, saxophones, accordion, brass and hurdy-gurdy of Blowzabella, finishing as usual with the torchlight procession and fireworks on Friday 8th August. Eddie Upton, FolkWeek's Artistic Director said 'I am delighted with the range of artists and events we've put together. I know it's an often misused phrase, but there really is something for everyone at Sidmouth Festival this year'.
A free programme with details of all these events and many more is available from the box office at Sidmouth Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01395 578627 or you can download it from the Festival's website www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk