The 30th Tenterden Folk Festival
The first “Tenterden Folk Day” took place on Saturday 2nd October 1993 and, according to the programme, there were 15 billed guests, 13 Morris sides and 18 events. The guests included some familiar names such as Band of Two, Pete Castle, Lucy Castle, Keith Kendrick, Jez Lowe, Bing Lyle and Tonbridge Mummers, as well as some less familiar names including “Lo! & Behold” which was a one off collaboration between Jez, Pete, Lucy and Bing especially for the event. The dance sides listed are all well known teams who we mainly still see at Tenterden, including Bishop Gundulf, East Kent Morris, Kits Coty Morris, Maenads and of course the host side Woodchurch Morris. The craft fair was an important part of the programme from the beginning and in 1993 it took place in the Junior and Infant School Halls and was organised by Linda Robards from Ashford Library. The other Committee members are listed in the programme as Alan Castle who is still there 30 years on, Christina Bax (now Fuller) from Ashford Borough Council, Keith Rundell from Kent Arts and Libraries, Dave Grabham founder of Woodchurch Morris was the dance co-ordinator and the late Anne Thomas who remained closely involved until her sad death in 2011. Sponsors of that first folk day are listed as Ashford Borough Council, Kent County Council, Tenterden Chamber of Commerce and Folk Spots and the support of Tenterden Town Council and Woodchurch Morris is also noted. The venues for sing-a-rounds were the Vine and the Eight Bells with the evening concert taking place in the upstairs room of the Eight Bells, which we still miss.
Now 30 years on, Tenterden Folk Festival runs for four days from Thursday to Sunday and includes over 50 events, 15 venues, up to 40 Morris sides, a huge marquee containing the craft fair and stalls, a free music stage, dance stage, over 50 guests, campsite and events for all the family.
Ticketed events include:
Thursday evening concert, concerts, barn dance, special shows, workshops, meet the guests, folk clubs, Sea songs and shanties session and much more
Free events include:
Craft & street stalls, free music stage, dance stage, Morris dancers, dance displays, procession, song & music sessions, street theatre, etc.