Family fun galore at the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival

You may have noticed the road signs that have sprung up along the A35, advertising the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival that takes place this weekend near Corfe Castle.

Bursting at the seams with headline acts and family fun galore, the event is set to be a final flourish of the summer festival season.

Gates open this afternoon and will see legendary acts rub shoulders with upcoming talent amidst the beautiful hillside surroundings of the Dorset countryside.

The glittering line-up includes Badly Drawn Boy, Turin Brakes, Ben Ottewell (from Gomez), Michele Stodart (from The Magic Numbers), This Is The Kit, Martha Tilston, Kathryn Williams and Dorset favourites, The Ben Waters Band. Not to mention exciting stars of the folk scene such as Gabby Young and John Smith.

Running over the Bank Holiday weekend, revellers can expect the very best folk, roots and world music. The organisers have carefully chosen an exciting line-up that reflects the diversity of the current folk scene, with plenty to keep music lovers and families entertained.

Organiser Catherine Burke told Celebrating Poundbury that she is extremely excited to be bringing so many well-loved artists together: “We have a broad definition of folk music at Purbeck Valley. As promoters we listen to the feedback our audience gives us. We always ask festival-goers to tell us who they’d like to see at the festival and, as well as introducing them to new music that we think they’ll like.”

The Friday night will see headliners Turin Brakes make a welcome return to the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival. Having sold over one million albums across the world and with a dedicated fanbase, Turin Brakes last played at the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival in 2014.

Turin Brakes at Purbeck Valley Folk Festival 2017
Turin Brakes at Purbeck Valley Folk Festival 2017

Catherine is thrilled to have them back on stage: “It’s so good that Turin Brakes are coming back to play this year. They played for us at Purbeck when we were on the old site and it was absolutely brilliant. They were the highlight of the festival. They seemed to really enjoy it too, I guess that’s why they want to come back!”

Catherine added: “We had so much excitement beforehand and positive feedback afterwards that we had to invite them to come back. They’re just brilliant.”

The Saturday will see the major acts coming thick and fast with a headlining turn from Michele Stodart of The Magic Numbers, Gabby Young and Kathryn Williams to name but a few.

The Sunday night promises to be extra special and features Badly Drawn Boy, aka singer-songwriter Damon Gough who shot to fame in 2000 with his Mercury Music Award winning debut, The Hour Of Bewilderbeast.

Badly Drawn Boy at Purbeck Valley Folk Festival 2017
Badly Drawn Boy at Purbeck Valley Folk Festival 2017

A shining light for British indie and folk music, Catherine Burke is over the moon that Badly Drawn Boy is making his Purbeck Valley Folk Festival debut: “It’s a real coup for us to get Damon on the bill. We always thought he’d be perfect for the Sunday solo slot.”

“He brings his raw lyrical power to Purbeck Valley, coupled with his Mancunian humour and charm. It also doubles the amount of Mercury Music Award Winners performing this year, as Ben Ottewell from Gomez won in 1998. It should be something special.”

Music fans are also in for a special treat, as Saturday’s Songwriting Circle will see headline acts Kathryn Williams, Michele Stodart and Ross Wilson (Blue Rose Code) all taking part. This is an intimate opportunity to hear the stories behind the songs from the musicians themselves.

“The Songwriters’ Circle was mentioned in lots of your feedback as one of the favourite features at the festival. Last year it was just brilliant, and this year is shaping up to be even better with Kathryn Williams, Michele Stodart and Ross Wilson (Blue Rose Code).”

Kathryn Williams at Purbeck Valley Folk Festival 2017
Kathryn Williams at Purbeck Valley Folk Festival 2017

“The songwriters circle is a unique way of hearing these songwriters’ song in an intimate, less formal way, hearing a little bit about the song and how they came up with it, and the writing process.”

Of course it’s not just about the music, as the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival also features a host of other popular attractions including comperes, stage crew, kids entertainers, storytellers, craft workshops, music workshops, song sessions, poetry, Purbeck Rising, open mics and the very best folk, roots and world music surrounded by stunning views of Corfe Castle, accessible camping and some truly delicious food.

Weekend tickets (Thurs-Sun) include free camping and are on sale now for £120 (youth £60, children age 4-11 £30). A limited number of festival day tickets are also now on sale at £51 per day (£25 youth, £15 child).

For tickets and information please visit


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