Wiltshire Publications

Issue 500 – Major folk festival to move to Westbury

The cream of the British folk music world are all set to appear at a major festival in Westbury next summer, when the re-born Village Pump Folk Festival moves from its former site at Stowford Manor Farm near Trowbridge to the White Horse Country Park.

Acts including Radio 2 Folk Awards stars Cara Dillon, Seth Lakeman and Karine Polwart will perform at the three-day event on 20th – 22nd July 2012. Multiple award-winning band ‘Show of Hands’ have agreed to continue as patrons of the festival and will be stars of the show on the Saturday evening.
Steve Knightley from ‘Show of Hands’ interrupted his busy touring schedule recently to view the site with festival organiser John Alderslade. Steve said, “It’s ideal. It’s amazing, to be honest. It’s going to be iconic with the White Horse up on the hill overlooking the site. I think people are going to want to come and play here. I think this will become an essential part of the summer festival circuit.
John said, “The festival site is flat, well-drained and even boasts a dance hall, lake, bars and restaurant. The dance hall will allow us to run ceilidhs with a good dance floor away from the sound of the other stages. It will also act as stage two for concerts and special events.
“The main stage will be a large marquee with good quality sound and lights and even raked seating at the back. Add to this a family tent and club tent and there should be something for everyone over the weekend.
“We ran a festival at Stowford for many years. It’s not possible to do it there any more, but this site is even better, and we’re going back to our roots to provide what we know people want; a small focused festival with high quality music in a marquee as the main feature.
“The support from artists, agents, stall-holders and suppliers of festival infra-structure has been encouraging and we’ve got a team of enthusiasts, some of whom are highly experienced festival-goers and organisers.”
John emphasized that although the festival features acts with national and international reputation, and the audience is expected to come from all over the country, wherever possible there will be a big local emphasis with many of the star performers hailing from the West Country.
John said, “We’ll be bringing a whole lot of new people to the country club and using local hotels and guest-houses for our performers, recommending them for those who don’t want to camp. Shops, petrol stations, and taxi companies should benefit from increased trade and we’ll be using local businesses to provide facilities and services as much as possible. There will be opportunities for traders on the site and we’re sure all the local singers and musicians will want to come along and join in both organised and impromptu sessions.
“We’re expecting a big demand for tickets as so many people have already expressed an interest on our Facebook page in coming to this wonderful new site. All of our acts have a huge following, so it’s a good idea to book early.”
A further major headlining act will be announced on 1st December. Tickets for the event are now on sale and will cost £95.00 before 1st April and £110 after that. Full details of the festival, including a list of performers booked so far, are available at the web-site www.village pumpfolkfestival.co.uk
Below: Steve Knightley from the band ‘Show of Hands’ on a recent visit to the White Horse Country Park with John Alderslade, chairman of the Village Pump Folk Club and Festival. Photo by David Betteridge.