Popular harbourside folk festival returns to town

Wessex Folk Festival <i>(Image: Supplied)</i>
Wessex Folk Festival (Image: Supplied)

One of Dorset’s favourite harbourside festivals is returning this summer.

The Wessex Folk Festival is returning to Weymouth over the weekend of June of 1-2.

The festival started in the early 2000’s and was organised by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, alongside the Weymouth Folk Club and held in the Weymouth Pavilion.

Peter Munz, chairman of the event said: "It really is a family event. It's a great day out and a nice event to meet your friends and family and enjoy a lovely part of Weymouth.

"One of our shanty groups is doing a show dedicated to the RNLI at 10.45pm on the Sunday. The lifeboat is going to come down the harbour and stand off the pier and be serenaded by the shanty group."

Some years later, the council stepped back and a group of volunteers carried on organising the festival which has run continuously until today.

In past years such folk greats as The Oyster Band, Dick Gaughan, Vin Garbutt and Martin Simpson have graced the stage.

This unique festival is free to attend and over the weekend, the south harbourside will be transformed into a bustling marketplace of street traders, Morris dancers and children’s entertainers with two stages providing the setting for both professional folk musicians and amateur musicians.

Local pubs will also hold thriving music sessions and workshops in local venues.

This year’s line-up includes renowned west country singer songwriter Steve Knightley, BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Kelly as part of the Sam Kelly Trio, Urban Folk Quartet, transatlantic folk band The Magpies, and many more.

Three of Dorset’s finest shanty groups will be appearing alongside the Wareham Whalers presenting some of ‘The Shout’ which is their paean to the RNLI in their 200-year celebration year, with a possible guest appearance from the Weymouth Lifeboat.

The festival also supports a long list of local talented musicians and singers – who will be performing on the Harbour Stage.

Everything starts in the pubs of Weymouth during the evening of Friday, May 31.

Stalls open for business at 10am on the Saturday morning, with music on stage starting at 11am-5.30pm.