Broadstairs Folk Week
The highlight of Broadstairs social calendar, Broadstairs Folk Week, attracts musicians, performers and holiday-makers from all over the UK, Europe and further afield. There is something to satisfy all ages and tastes, from the daily morning music, games and entertainments for the children to late night folk singing sessions in the many pubs for the adults. Most of the activities and performances are free, often taking place at the bandstand and along the promenade overlooking the bay.
Folk week opens with a torchlight procession down Broadstairs High Street towards Viking Bay. Musicians play whilst the Morris dancers perform and the ‘Hooden Horses’ surprise the children by snapping at their ears. Clarence the dragon (a firm favourite with the children at the morning ‘Hobby Horse Club’) dances through the parade whilst the children sing his song:
“I know a friendly dragon, Clarence is his name, he lives by the sea at the Broadstairs and now he’s back again…..”
The procession winds it’s way past many of the venues used during Broadstairs Folk Week including the 600 seater marquee in Pierremont Park, which also has a beer tent and a snack shack, past numerous pubs and cafes offering diverse entertainment right through the day into the early hours of the morning.
Broadstairs Folk Week attracts both professional and amateur musicians. Some professionals offer tuition at workshops where you can learn how to play the cello, flute, drums and even the didgeridoo! Song writing, gypsy music and dance music also featured in the many workshops offered in 2011, as well as voice coaching for Scottish songs, harmony singing and sea shanties. African drum and dance, Appalachian dance, Bollywood dancing, Celidh steps and Morris dancing are also taught to all ages.
Ceilidhs, Scottish and Welsh dancing take place in the Pavilion (a large licensed venue) situated on the garden on the sands at Viking Bay. Further up the road, The Neptune pub offer ‘singarounds’ and the Lord Nelson pub has ‘playarounds’ for the budding singer/musician to the seasoned professional. Ye Old Crown also offers ‘Open Mic’ sessions which are led by the festivals guests.
The local primary school is also a popular venue hosting ‘Panic Attack’, who teach all sorts of circus skills, to the calmer early morning Tai Chi classes. The school also hosts tea-time events for children and interesting late night events for adults.
A large craft fair is another draw for many visitors, offering spare violin strings and harmonicas for the musicians to jewellery, clothes and garden architecture for the casual visitor. There is always something for the children to make in the large craft marquee – which covers most of Victoria Gardens.
A weeklong festival crammed with live music and family fun, Broadstairs Folk Week is not to be missed.
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