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financial sponsor: Chippenham Borough Lands Charity (CBLC)
supporters: Cafe Grounded Brignall Opticians Chippenham Town Council Chippenham Connected Halogen UK - Borough Parade The Association of Festival Organisers
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The Living Tradition
Instruments Stalls at the Festival

Festival Artists Line Up (A-Z)

Here are the artists booked so fa for the 2017 festival.
They are all in sections for you to find easily. Use one of the links below to go directly to that section i.e. Social Dance or just scroll down and view all the acts that are with us this year. If you click on their individual links you will find most of the things you need to know about that band or performer. There are videos, sound samples and info on their web pages and photos.

Song & Music

"Welcome to the Concert and Song section."
This year sees a step up from the hugely successful festival last year, to yet another level.
With internationally renowned acts like Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, John Kirkpatrick heading up the re-vamped Home Service, the last performance in the Coope, Boyes & Simpson Farewell tour and the resurgence of Mick Ryan's 1980's super-group Crow5 (clever name there!) and 'Last Night's Fun' duo Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley with Emily Sanders, we think it's a knockout list.
Lots of regulars are back with Brian Peters heading up the SongShop workshop series after doing the very first one 22 years ago (He must have been young) and the ever popular Keith Donnelly coming at you from all angles.
Whatever your preference in music and song we think we will have it covered.
So, dive in to the weekend and enjoy some up-close and personal events that will, frankly, leave you astounded.
Huw Williams [ MON ]
Bob Walton


Welcome to the Chippenham Ceilidhs.

Every year we strive to find a set of bands and callers to give our dancers a stunning set of ceilidhs.

2017 sees the return of the popular Buttercross ceilidhs to the festival. These ceilidhs will be held held in the open, adjacent to an excellent pub. We expect these lunchtime ceilidhs should go with a swing.

Complemented by our evening ceilidhs, in the Olympiad, we think is a dance programme second to none.

Social Dance

This year’s Social Dance programme comprises over 60 events, with three dances every evening, including the first & last nights, which will each feature unmissable talent from the length & breadth of the UK – so don’t arrive late and don’t leave early! There will be the full range of English & American workshops & dances, including Zesty Contra, Zesty Playford, and The Playford Ball, plus Running Set, Scottish, Irish Set Dance, and Bal Folk.
Specials: John Sweeney will lead Running Set workshops; as well as highly-popular Waltz workshops with his wife Karen. The legendary Val Knight and daughter Maddy will lead the Irish Set Dance workshops & Ceili with The Perfect Cure Band, with Maddy leading an extra workshop on steps. There will also be a series of Callers workshops & Showcase Dance for new & existing callers, led by Mark Elvins & Rhodri Davies; who will also be sharing the stage with some previously-spotted new callers. Pat Shaw Welsh Dance workshops will be led by David & Kathryn Wright with Pendragon, to celebrate Pat Shaw’s Centenary. A Bal Folk workshop & dance led by Cat Dowle with Coldharbour Trio, sponsored by an anonymous donation from a long-term Chippfolk enthusiast.

Venue changes for 2017:
Floor space for Social Dancing has been enhanced yet again, in anticipation of 500+ dancers, with exclusive use of the Town Hall, The Neeld, and St Andrew’s Church (except Sunday morning), and the Sports Hall mornings & afternoons. This is a serious amount of good-quality floor-space, with up to four parallel workshops throughout the day, and three evening dances.

St Andrews Church will again feature the now legendary dance floor designed & built by our own craftsmen, and successfully trialled last year, providing a dance floor similar in size to The Neeld. The floor was so good that the church congregation wanted to keep it!

The increased availability of the Sports Hall for Social Dance is due mainly to the relocation of the Lunchtime Ceilidhs back to the open-air Buttercross, which was historically its most popular location.

All venues will be provided with good-quality Festival PA and dedicated sound-engineers.

Festival Orchestra:
As well as playing as a dance band, Stradivarious will be leading the Festival Orchestra this year, aided and abetted by the ever popular Pete Hendy, with whom they have devised a varied and interesting programme for the orchestra’s centre stage performance on Monday. Come and join in the fun, playing some excellent dance music in the setting of a big band. All welcome!
Brian Stanton [ SUN ]
Charlotte Rich [ SAT ]
Dan Frankland [ SAT | SUN ]
Jake Wood [ SUN ]
Paul Andrews [ SAT ]

Story Telling

"Welcome to the Story Telling section."

Family Events

A Tour of the Castle Grounds and Highlights of castle life!!

Every castle in history is a busy jumble of guilds, towers and halls. The Chippenham Folk Festival Family Castle is no different. Our castle walls may be ply wood and our towers and hall marquees, but we have everything from a blacksmiths workshop to stables.

Open from 9:30 to 5 the fun doesn’t even stop for lunch!! Don’t forget to bring a picnic, or check out the stalls around Island Park to enjoy with our lunch time shows.

Are you ready for the tour?

As you enter through the main tower, you will be greeted and signed in by our steward team who will decide if you are friend or foe. Under 8’s must be accompanied by an adult and all adults must be accompanied by a child!!

As always our outside courtyard space will have a dance floor used for circus skills and dance workshops when the sun is out.

Our main marquee, the Great Hall, is home to our shows and gives us cover to retreat inside if the rain invades!!

The Black Smith's Workshop, ok we don’t have hammer and anvil but children will be busy building and crafting to their hearts desire with the local Scrapstore Scrap Attack Sessions.
Our Court Jesters this year are Juggle Puppet. Bringing their traveling 'playhouse' to the castle Saturday and Sunday. Juggle puppet will be teaching circus skills, wowing us with a magic show and giving us a giggle during lunch with a traditional Punch and Judy show. You may also see them around the festival site creating balloon animals for passers-by.

Like watching the puppet show? We have Showman Gacko returning along with Story teller, Ian Douglas. Together they will be showing us how to get creative with workshops throughout the weekend where we will make up and perform our own stories and learn how to bring puppets to life, before putting it altogether for our final performance In Gacko’s life size puppet booth!

Our popular Castle Ceilidh with the Downfielders will be getting us all up and dancing on the Saturday, either in the Courtyard or the Great Hall depending on the weather.

On Sunday afternoon we are expecting the sides of the Great hall to be bulging at the seams as always for Keith Donnelly. Popular with the Kids, parents and stewards alike, Keith returns to ensure everyone has had their healthy dose of custard and leave everyone singing about wanting to be a bear.

What would castle life be like without the Bard's Guild to entertain? With Story tellers popping in to tell a tale, singers, musicians and dance workshops alike. The Bards guild is the place to be.

Let’s Dance are famous in the castle for teaching the traditional English May Pole dance and this proves very popular by all the children and parents. They have colourful ribbons and garlands and there may be the odd hanky, well it is a folk festival after all!

Our Singing Hats are very popular with toddlers to under 5's and combine movement, song and colourful costume hats to act out popular nursery songs. You will be singing about Alice the camel for weeks!

In between sessions why not check out The Stables, a play area for under 5’s will be open throughout the day. This is a small area with soft play equipment such as our ball pit and soft play blocks kindly loaned to us by The Rise Children’s Centre Group. This is strictly a ‘stay and play’ area where parents are asked to remain with their child.

Every year without fail at 2pm on Bank Holiday Monday, the Family Castle takes part in the parade though Chippenham town centre showing off our amazing costumes and crafting as we parade down the high-street with the dance display teams. Anyone who has watched the parade before will remember the fantastic creations by the Family Castle. From a huge pirate ship to a fire breathing dragon hand crafted by everyone over the weekend we never fail to get everyone clapping and smiling as we walk past. As well as making as much noise as we can!

We would love all the children who have enjoyed their time with us to join and show Chippenham exactly what we’ve been up to. The castle will be closed during this time to allow all children and stewards to take part.

Returning to the castle festivities will end with a display of the folky talent and skills learnt over the weekend with our very own castle puppet show. Who knows you might find our star performers on the Big Top stage in a few years’ time!!


An integral part of Chippenham Folk Festival, particularly for those who live in the town. Primary school children from local schools are invited to attend the festival on the Friday, to experience a range of different aspects of traditional music and dance. Each attending child takes part in two separate workshops in the morning, then displays the work of the second of these in the afternoon in front of the other schools at a mass ceilidh or "barn dance".
Although the event is not attendable by the general public, it is a vital and exciting part of the festival, and the attending children gain a great deal from the experience.

Big Top Concerts

"Welcome to the Specials section."
Here you will get to see some of the extra special events that is in the programme. These will include our "Big Top" concerts. This year we have made a few changes to explore the option larger style concerts so this year we are pleased to present Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Chris Sherburn, Denny Bartley and Emily Sanders on the Saturday. Sunday you can see Coope Boyes & Simpson and Home Service and Monday we have a We;sh themed concert with Calan, Typin O Bopeth, Gareth Wilkins and others.
Tickets for these events, which all start at 6.30pm are just £12 each!
If you have a season ticket then entry is included (space permitting)

Other special events include some shows that are to be performed in the Cause.
Check back soon to see what's coming.


Chippenham Folk Festival is renowned for the atmosphere from the huge variety of display teams that can be found showcasing up and down the high street. Throughout the town, dancers from all traditions can be found for your delight and entertainment! Browse this section to see which wonderful teams will be joining us this year.