The historic town of Whitchurch is set to host the re-launch of its beloved Whitchurch Folk Festival on Saturday, May 11th. Tickets for this highly anticipated event are now available for purchase.
Celebrating a Resurgence of Tradition and Community Spirit
The Whitchurch Folk Festival marks a heart warming revival of a cherished local tradition, tracing its roots back to the original festivals of the 1980s and 90s. This year’s festival not only rekindles fond memories but also weaves a vibrant tapestry of community, art, and shared experiences.
Remembering Paul Sartin: The Inspiration Behind the Revival*
The festival’s relaunch owes its inspiration to local musicians Paul Sartin and Jon Wilks, who reinvigorated the Whitchurch Folk Club in 2017. Following Paul Sartin’s tragic passing in 2022, his friends, family, and admirers came together to honour his legacy, transforming the dream of a revived festival into reality. The project received significant support through donations to Paul’s Much Loved page, as well as contributions from the Andover Museum Loft Singers, Magpie Lane, and the Sarah Morgan Trust.
Whitchurch Folk Festival will be a town-based event, making use of the old buildings rather than the surrounding fields (which organisers hope to move into in years to come). While the ticketed festival will be ticketed, there will also be a free Children’s Folk Festival and a Fringe Festival that anybody will be able to take part in. Further details are on the website.
Jon Wilks reflects, “Paul’s vision and passion were the catalysts for this project. His legacy lives on in what we’ve created, a testament to the profound impact he had on our community and the folk music world. We spent many hours sat in Kudos Coffee Shop, at the centre of Whitchurch, hatching plans on how to make this happen. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to do it in his memory.”
A Stellar Line-up of Folk Music Talents
The festival boasts an impressive array of Britain’s finest folk artists, including:
Jackie Oates Trio
Nick Hart & Tom Moore
Sam Sweeney and Louis Campbell
James Delarre & Saul Rose
The Norfolk Broads
Miranda Rutter & Rob Harbron
Anna Tabbush Trio
Out of Hand
Additionally, the festival will feature performances by renowned Morris dance groups, such as Boss Morris (who danced with Wet Leg at the Brit Awards in 2023), Bampton Morris (who can trace their lineage back 450 years), Winchester Morris Men, and Mayfly Morris (a new Morris side that was founded in Whitchurch in the wake of Sartin’s death).
The festival organisers have promised to welcome everyone, far and wide, to Whitchurch for a day of music, dance, and community spirit. The festival promises to be a memorable event, paying homage to its rich heritage while looking forward to a new era of folk festivities.
For further details please visit: www.whitchurchfolk.com.
*Paul Sartin was a renowned English folk musician, known for his exceptional skills as a singer, oboist, violinist, composer, and arranger. As a member of Bellowhead, Faustus and Belshazzar’s Feast, not to mention the musical director of the Andover Museum Loft Singers, he was a key figure on the British folk music scene.
He lived in Whitchurch for two decades. He was not just a musician; he was a mentor, a friend, and a pillar of the local community.
Following his passing in 2022, the impact of his loss was deeply felt. His legacy, however, continues to inspire and resonate within the local Whitchurch community as well as the wider folk and music communities. Many many people have contributed to the relaunch of this festival via his Much Loved page. To which they are very grateful.
The revival of the Whitchurch Folk Festival, an event that Paul so eagerly wanted to happen, serves as a tribute to his memory and his enduring influence on the town’s cultural heritage.