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More About Our Special Events & Workshops

Special events

Over the Seas and Far Away
(Saturday 4.30 pm)

A recorded concert featuring performers from all over the world, curated by Andy Stafford.  All performers have made these recordings for the festival at no cost, merely as a helping gesture in these difficult times.

Acts include: Hong Kong Morris - English traditions alive and well in Hong Kong;

British musicians meshing our traditions with other cultures in Hong Kong and Singapore and Australia – Jennie Page with Nazar and with Arbory – Isla Hughes in Sydney and Scott Hughes in Singapore;

Marrilla Homes – usually resident in Sheffield, currently ‘stuck’ at home in Australia and Mandy Connell -  who has lived in UK but is now back in her native land and doing some really good things.

As well as the superlative music look out for some sounds and sights to set the heart a flutter.

Appalachian Hour
4.30 pm)

“REAL” Appalachian Clogging hosted by Julie Young.

This session is a showcase of Appalachian clogging and flatfooting from America, including team-style dancing as well as solo, unchoreographed “free styling.”

Created specially for the 2021 Chester and Chippenham Folk Festival, performances feature well-known teams and harder-to-find individual dancers who may or may not have a reputation outside America, or even outside their own communities.

From all around the United States, “together” for the first time, here’s your chance to see: Rodney Sutton, Charmaine Slaven, Forest Doyle, Marsha Todd, Sam Timmreck, The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, The Greengrass Cloggers

New Roots
(Saturday 6.30 pm)

New Roots is a competition focussed on under 25 year old folk & roots musicians. It was started over 20 years ago as a local event in the St Albans area. Since then it has grown to be a national competition with entries from North Scotland to Cornwall.

The big difference is there is no winner! All entrants submit tracks for judging, finalists are selected for a day of performance and judging. All finalists get performance opportunities at supporting folk clubs and festivals. Those not selected for the finals are given ‘notes’ that may help them in their aspirations for the future.

Previous entrants include, Jackie Oates, The Young ‘uns & The Askew Sisters to name but 3. Judges from the folk community include folk club & festival organisers, alongside performers within the folk music industry.

This weekend are featuring some of the young performers who have not been able to full fill any bookings this year due the pandemic.

The Youth Room
(every day at 11.45 am)

A series of daily events aimed at the 10-20 age group, which take the form of a workshop for participants to exchange idea, questions, experiences and make music together. The Youth Room is open to all comers under 21 who want to bring an instrument along, whatever their skill level, under the guidance of Fluff Smith, with occasional help from Festival guests.

Having Fun in ‘21 (Monday
6 pm)

The antidote to 2020! A collection of songs all about having a good time and being happy, performed by a selection of friends both old and new, who really do know what they’re talking about! 

The Raven Online Folk Club (Saturday
9 pm & Sunday
8.30 pm)

The Raven is a Chester Folk Club - still going strong as it enters its 44th year! They have been producing an online show every Sunday since April 2020. So sit back and enjoy tunes and songs from regulars (and non-regulars!) from the club, guided by your amiable host, Nick Mitchell. 

On Saturday night, to celebrate his Bob-ness’s significant birthday this year, the Raven Folk Club presents a selection from the Bob Dylan songbook, performed by regulars from the Raven Online Folk Club. Grab yourself a drink, don your long black coat, lay across your big brass bed and enjoy the music of Duluth’s finest! 

Good Morning Lords & Ladies - 
Gill & Barry Goodman (Monday
11.45 am)

Good morning Lords and Ladies is an illustrated talk on some of the more unusual English customs with pictures and songs, many of which have choruses to join in with.


Gill and Barry have been involved in the folk scene since 1971 and have experienced or been involved in many of the customs featured in the presentation including: Jack-in-the-Green festivals at Rochester and Hastings.

Season of Change - Tom Kitching (Sunday
2.30 pm)

Music and stories from 18 months of busking around England. When Tom set off to busk around England, a little over two years ago, he couldn't have known he was documenting the end of an era: from being angrily summoned to return to a County Durham coalmining village to halcyon days amongst fellow buskers on the Cornish Riviera; from the heart of the Black Country to the square mile of the City of London.


It was a quest to get to know his own country better, through its native music, a quest completed just in time for the high street to close and the country to head into a state of profound change.

It's become a moment in time- the ‘before’. What will we find when we all finally emerge and take stock of the worst recession on record and the inevitable consequences of our agonising, slow-motion rupture with the EU?

Rondez Vous
2.15 pm)

Rondez Vous is a group of musicians and dancers who, in normal times, meet every month in Chester to learn to play and dance to tunes from France and Brittany. Musicians and dancers of all abilities are welcome to join the workshop, then put what you have learned into practice at the Bal/Session afterwards. No previous experience necessary and you don’t need a partner. Printed music is available if required – contact Helen at


Taking Care of your Voice – Carolyn Robson (Monday
10 am)

Carolyn runs three community choirs and a chamber choir in Hampshire. She has also worked extensively with other community choirs and has led workshops at numerous folk festivals including Sidmouth, Whitby and Chippenham.

She gives advice on technique, voice production, breath control, posture, projection,  interpretation and how to sing with confidence!

Songs from the Collectors – Carolyn Robson & Moira Craig (Saturday 3.30 pm)

Carolyn & Moira will present, through words and song, a selection of the Gardeners collection from Hampshire.

Bringing Old Manuscripts to Life – Dave Ball 
10 am)

Dave has spent over 40 years bringing tunes to life which have languished for centuries in old manuscripts and printed collections. The workshop will look at some hidden gems, discuss their origins briefly and investigate ways of playing and reinterpreting them. Bring instruments, a recording device and a pencil!

Music can be provided in advance if necessary (sound files or written music) - contact Dave at to obtain these.

Introducing the Date-Tune Collection – The Cabinet of Monkies (Sunday
10 am)

An introduction to some of the 1,750+ folk tunes from our archive, all which have a link to a particular day in the calendar year. The titles of these tunes tell tales of birth, marriage, battle, theatre, commemoration, history and death. Subjects range from circuses to sex clinics and from balloonists to bridges. Begins with a brief history of the project and concludes with the chance to play through a couple of these bizarre and wonderful melodies.

Introduced and performed by Dave Ball and Neil Brookes - aka The Cabinet of Monkies.

Fiddles & their Fettling – Ben Ross
10 am)

Ross Violins (Ben & his wife Kate) are well respected makers and repairers of bowed string instruments, based in the Wirral.  The workshop covers all aspects of setting up and maintaining fiddles – so bring your fiddle and your questions.

Clog Workshop – After Dinner Clog (Sunday 11.30am)

The team 'After Dinner Clog' formed to show how lyrical and joyful traditional English step clog can be. Although they only began a few years ago they have quickly achieved a varied and entertaining repertoire of dances. The team thrives on freedom of expression and this is best shown through music choices which often shy away from more traditional tunes to allow for a playful vibe rarely found in British clog dancing


 The workshop will be run by the competition winning Vikki Lewis, whose experience blends highly technical forms of Lancashire clog with her more expressive and passionate background of Latin Ballroom and Latin dancing. It will be an improvers/intermediate workshop, learning a dance called "Marley soft shoe shuffle" deceptively titled because it is danced in clogs not soft shoes!

C guitar – Martin Vogwell (Sunday
10 am)

An introduction to open C tuning for the guitar for tunes and song accompaniment. Participants should bring a steel-string guitar and a capo.