Virtually Shrewsbury Folk Festival

Shrewsbury Folk Festival has released the full programme for its two-day virtual festival later this month as it launches a fundraising drive to recover the losses sustained from its postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Festival organisers are laying on two days of music, workshops and dance for free on August 29 and 30 to mark the event that can’t take place and is urging people to support its fundraising campaign in return. They have also pledged to donate 10% of everything raised to its charity partner Hope House.

The line-up for Virtually Shrewsbury Folk Festival includes four exclusive music concerts being broadcast over the weekend featuring UK folk, world and Americana artists including Seth Lakeman, Seckou Keita, Steve Knightley, Chris While and Julie Matthews and shanty band The Longest Johns.

Dance will include a live ceilidh, a specially recorded morris party, dance displays and a dance show. Workshops for all ages include American and English clogging, flamenco, body percussion, singing, yoga and ukulele as well as the festival’s popular Tuneworks music sessions for different standards for players.

The festival has curated a special edition of its children’s festival online with a wealth of crafts to try, music workshops and storytelling as well as lullabies with Jackie Oakes and a Makaton concert.

It is also inviting people to join its virtual Big Band with the chance to appear in a special performance led by John Spiers (Bellowhead/Spiers & Boden/Peter Knight’s Gigspanner) that will be premiered during Virtually Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

The full programme is now available at www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk/virtually-sff-2020/. Donations can be made at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/support-shrewsbury-folk-festival.

Festival director Sandra Surtees said: “We are delighted with the line-up for Virtually Shrewsbury Folk Festival and there really is something for everyone to get involved, whatever their interests.

“Our regular festivalgoers will be making a weekend of it and hosting their own mini festivals at home but it’s also a great opportunity for anyone who wants to know more about our amazing festival to get a taste of what it’s like.

“There’s a mix of scheduled events and live workshops with other content that’s been specially recorded available all the time so people can make a festival to suit their own interests.”

Sandra added: “We were desperately sad when we postponed this year’s festival knowing that Hope House would miss out on the thousands we raise every year for its music therapy service so we would urge people to donate if they enjoy the superb programme we’ve put together with Virtually Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

“We know times are tough but anything people can give will be gratefully received by us and Hope House.”

Virtually Shrewsbury Folk Festival has been funded thanks to grants from the National Lottery via the Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund and Shropshire Council’s Emergency Arts Fund.

Updates and other information about the virtual festival will also be shared on the festival’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms.

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