Folk charity's festival celebrates the pioneering spirit of a music-loving reverend
The 15th Baring-Gould Folk Weekend boasts a line-up of some of the best folk performers from England and further afield.
The festival, at venues in the Dartmoor town of Okehampton from October 25 to 27, keeps alive the spirit of Lewtrenchard parson, the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924), who collected hundreds of folk songs from Devon and Cornwall and wrote novels, poems and hymns – most famously, Onward Christian Soldiers.
The event mixes music, song and dance and is organised by Okehampton-based charity Wren Music, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary.
To mark the milestone, the Wren Band will be performing some of their favourite songs from the past three decades at the festival's opening concert.
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Artistic director Marilyn Tucker and musical director Paul Wilson have been busy selecting the set-list.
"Paul and I are having a great time reminiscing about the past 30 years and we'll put some of these memories into the opening concert," says Marilyn.
Among those appearing at the festival are US folk legend and Wren patron Peggy Seeger (see above), and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer of Show of Hands (see left), who is hosting an informal chat with musical interludes on the Sunday.
"Phil is a patron of the Baring-Gould Folk Weekend, so it's lovely that he is able to appear at the festival," says Marilyn.
The line-up also includes Icelandic duo Funi, Vicky Swan and Jonny Dyer, Julie Murphy, Bill Crawford, Bill Murray, Malcolm Woods, Martin and Shan Graebe, and Wren's own musicians.
"There will be lots to join in with as well as being able to sit back and listen, and not all music," says Marilyn.
"We try as much as we can to be a real Westcountry autumn festival, with the fun conker competition and the Festival Feast, which is like an old fashioned harvest supper."
A special Festival Weekend ticket, with admission to all events, is just £30. For Okehampton residents there is also a group discount on weekend tickets – buy three and get one free. For details of all events and prices, visit baring-gould.co.uk, wrenmusic.co.uk or call 01837 53754.