Folk Camps August Weekend Events Cancelled for 2021

With reluctance, Folk Camps Council has decided that with the sudden rise in Covid infections and the continuing uncertainty of government policy, it would not be wise to continue with the August Bank holiday weekends this year (2021).

Folk Camps Council (the trustees and directors) met on 4 July to review the position and unanimously agreed that this was the safest course of action.

Council and the majority of FCS members have been clear that we would only want to run a ‘normal’ Folk Camp, i.e without face masks or social distancing and with the freedom to sing, dance and play music without restriction. The current English Regulations make this impossible. It is not clear this will be permitted without further changes by the end of August.

We are also mindful of the danger of excluding those who are too young to be fully vaccinated by August.

Plans for 2022

In 2022, we very much hope that we will be able to resume our full programme, with many of the sites, people and events we all love. The broad programme will be similar to that planned for 2020 but we are also looking at some exciting new potential locations for the marquee camp.

Online Events

We are planning a week of online Lockerdown events in October, along the lines of previous successful events.

In the meantime may we wish you and your friends and families an enjoyable summer, hopefully in a tent somewhere!

Folk Camps Council

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    Research published into English Social Folk Dance

    “Barn Dances, Ceilidhs, and Country Dancing in England 1945-2020: An Examination of Non-Specialist English Social Folk Dance” by Chloe Elizabeth Middleton-Metcalfe

    This is a PhD thesis that may be of interest to Folk Campers and the wider Folk community. Chloe has attended Folk Camps in the past, and has carried out extensive research into the experience of occasional or novice dancers, at social events, rather than more formal or performance led events.

    It attempts to answer: ‘why do people hold English social folk dances?’. It also covers how dances were taught at 30 recent dance events.

    For those of us that enjoy dancing for its own sake, or play music or call at such events, this is an interesting read.

    You can read the whole PhD Thesis here.

    Extent Newsletter Spring 2021

    The Spring issue of the Folk Camps Extent newsletter has been published here.

    Slimmer than usual due to lack of face to face events, but it includes updates on the virtual craft break, information about why we cancelled the summer catered camps, plans for meeting you later in the year, and an obituary of a prominent Folk Camper.

    All 2021 Summer Catered Camps Cancelled

    With reluctance, Folk Camps Council has decided that for reasons of safety and financial prudence, we cannot run the programme of summer catered week camps in July and August 2021.

    This decision was taken after looking at the safety risks, the costs, availability of staff and demand. The survey (sent to anyone who has camped with FCS since 2018) drew 196 responses from which we learned that 28% of campers had already decided not to attend a folk camp this year and/or had decided to book a different type of holiday. Equally we were very gratified to learn that 99% of you are planning to return in 2022!

    Many thanks to all those who took part in our survey, which was very helpful in helping Council to gain a fuller picture of campers’ views.

    The other key reasons for Council’s decision were:

    • 57% of staff could not commit to staffing on a camp this summer.
    • The mask, distancing, sanitation, covid testing and food hygiene requirements that will apply in July or August remain unknown.
    • Council and the majority of FCS members have been clear that we would only want to run a ‘normal’ Folk Camp, i.e without facemasks or social distancing and with the freedom to sing, dance and play music without restriction.

    We considered running a smaller programme, but we were mindful of the danger of it being ‘exclusive’ to those who are lucky enough to be vaccinated or able to book at the drop of a hat. This could exclude those who are too young to be fully vaccinated by August and those whose holiday dates are controlled by their employers.

    From the health and safety point of view there are still too many uncertainties, and by the time the position is clearer it would be too late for us to carry out the necessary pre-event preparations.

    August Bank Holiday – no decision yet
    We are keeping open the possibility of the August Bank holiday weekends because these will be later, incur much less financial risk and are self-catered, thereby removing one of the principal health issues. Council will review the position in the first week of July and email you very soon after that.

    Plans for 2022
    In 2022, we very much hope that we will be able to resume our full programme, with many of the sites, people and events we all love. The broad programme will be similar to the one we had to cancel in 2020, but we may need to change some sites due to changes in availability.

    We hope you will have a good summer 2021 with whatever holidays we are able to have – with friends or family, self-catered camping or any other type of holiday.

    Folk Camps Council

    Outreach Working Group Update

    Following the AGM, we have set up a working group for Outreach projects and now wish to identify proposals which may be suitable for an Arts Council Funding Application from Folk Camps. If successful this bid would allow us to learn more about how Arts body funding could benefit Folk Camps and help further our aims via Outreach.

    We are therefore appealing to members to submit potential projects for Folk Outreach activities that would benefit from funding.  The total value of the bid for up to 3 sub projects will be in the region of £15,000 and these funds could cover costs or expenses of the projects as well as project management of them. 

    Projects should meet some of our objectives (listed below) and be able to be delivered in the current environment of Covid-Safe Arts activities before the end of 2021.  Projects are expected to be led by Folk Campers and sponsored by Council through the bid.  Please see the proposal form below for more information.

    Key dates (2021)

    • April 9 – deadline for initial proposals
    • April 16 – Shortlist of projects for 1st bid for Council approval. Up to 3 selected. Successful and unsuccessful proposals notified. (Unsuccessful proposals may also be held in reserve for future bids)
    • April 19 – Further work with projects working with proposers and Cat McGill to pull together detailed information for Arts Council bid
    • May 7 – Council review bid submissions
    • May 14 – Bid submission to Arts Council
    • June 28 – Expected Arts Council decision

    This opportunity is open to Governing Members or Folk Campers who have attended 2 or more camps in the last 5 years. We invite those interested to send a brief outline of their idea to the Outreach Working Group at using the proposal form as guidance or drop us an email for informal advice. (We also welcome projects that do not require funding – please email the Outreach group if you wish Council to sponsor or recognise an unfunded project you would like to lead).

    The objectives of Folk Camps Society Outreach:

    • Support the Society’s aim of promoting and supporting traditional music dance and song
    • Showcase and champion folk music (and in particular Folk Camps Society) as a vehicle for truly multi-generational, inclusive arts activity
    • Reach out to potential new folk campers of all ages through participatory music-making, song and dance opportunities
    • Create a more formal scheme for the mentoring of young musicians, dance instructors and workshop leaders
    • Create opportunities for young musicians to perform, play, participate and share their skills at a variety of events
    • Increase the pool of skilled volunteer staff for camps, and ensure that a consistent (might evolve) musical and dance offer runs through each individual camp

    This is a really exciting new initiative for Folk Camps and we do look forward to receiving your applications and your ideas. Please use the attached short proposal form which will give us an understanding of your idea or get in touch for an informal chat.

    Application form:

    Please email to

    Kind regards

    Outreach Working Group

    Covid Impact on 2021 Season

    Weekend Camps (May and June 2021)

    In the light of the Government’s latest Covid ‘road map’ we are not allowed to run these events and have therefore decided to cancel them for 2021. It will be our hope to roll these camps forward to 2022 with broadly the same locations, dates and staff (subject to availability).

    Craft Break (February 2022)

    The Paddocks Hotel is under new management and we have agreed a booking with them for next year. We are emailing all the regulars and we will add it to the online programme soon, available for bookings.

    Summer Weeks and August Weekends (2021)

    In the light of current uncertainties, we will keep these summer events under review and plan to make a decision in early May. If things become clearer before then and we are able to make an informed decision, we will do so and let you know straight away.

    These are some of the issues that affect our decision to run Summer Folk Camps:

    • Can we run a ‘normal’ week without masks and social distancing? We want to be able to sing, dance and play – anything else is a compromise.
    • What the government’s safety advice will be for July/August
    • Has the impact of vaccines changed so much that we can confidently go ahead?
    • How many campers have already made other holiday plans for their own mini camping holidays etc?
    • Do we need to produce a scaled back programme or a scaled up one to match the demand?

    Virtual Events In February 2021

    We cannot run our usual Folk Camps Craft Break this February, so instead we have a programme of virtual events online instead, running in the February half term Mon 15th to Sat 20th February.

    The table below shows the programme of activities.

    All sessions and workshops will be held using Zoom. Further details of each event are available on the Lockerdown Facebook group – see the “Events” tab. If you don’t engage with Facebook then please email to get the Zoom events link.

    Scroll down to see full details of each event below the table.

    Monday 15th February

    10.30 am
    Coffee and Chat with Sue Malleson
    – The traditional start of camp meeting where we’ll instruct you on how to use the pump up showers and explain Rolling Home. Seriously though, this will be the place to meet and chat to old friends before the start of the event. We’ll outline the programme, try to answer any questions and offer to help to anyone struggling with Zoom.

    2.30 pm
    Chicken Scratch / Broderie Suisse with Diane Kingston
    – Create an optical illusion with a piece of gingham/checked fabric and some basic stitches. This technique is known as Chicken Scratch or Broderie Suisse, If you don’t have any gingham/checked fabric or thread then please email Diane via the office – by the end of Monday 8th Feb, so she can send you some for £1.50 to cover postage & packing. At the end of the week you’ll have a chance to show everyone what you’ve created.
    You can see some examples (including samples of what you should be able to achieve in the workshop.and over the following days) here.

    4 pm
    Children’s Ceilidh with Paul Weir MC & Chris Jewell’s Band in the Cupboard

    You’re sure of ridiculously contagious fun, dancing with your real or imaginary companions. There will be guest callers and musicians as well as entertainment slots. Or why not play along to the music as part of the virtual band?

    Tuesday 16th February

    10.30 am
    Music session with Richard & Belinda Jones

    Richard & Belinda will develop simple arrangements, with harmonies and counterpoints. Tunes will be in keys which are suitable for all instruments. Sheet music will be provided with written parts for all standards of play. Transposed versions can be supplied on request.
    Richard and Belinda have been giving weekly online workshops with SelFolk (The South East London Orchestra). Participants will not be able to hear each other playing (because of synchronisation problems), but they will be able to hear Richard & Belinda so it will be as if they are playing in a trio.

    2.30 pm
    Make a paper picture frame with Sally Foster

    Create a Picture Frame with Sally Foster from double-sided paper and matching card. Materials and equipment needed to make the picture frame in this workshop:

    • 1 Sheet double-sided paper with a different pattern on each side (but not a striped pattern) 12-inch (30cm) square is ideal (a smaller square is possible but more fiddly), or 3 or 4 sheets 6 inch x 6 all matching will also suffice.
    • 1 sheet of card of the same size in a matching colour (plain no pattern)
    • Guillotine (or failing that scissors)
    • Ruler
    • Pencil
    • Double-sided tape (or failing that a roller or tape mouse

    Simple Puppets with Carolyn Page

    Make simple puppets with a sock, mitten, lollipop stick, wooden kitchen spoon or just your fingers. Have felt-tip pens, scissors glue, card, and maybe, some wool or scraps of fabric to decorate with. This craft can be suitable for even small children (under supervision) as well as adults.

    Slower Tunes Session with Frank Park

    A tunes session for “improvers” with dance tunes a little slower. Frank aims to lead you through some Playford dance tunes with sheet music provided. You may then wish to play along with the Playford Dance Workshop later in the week. This will be led by Frank’s wife Clare with Frank himself playing. Frank will cover some of the music for the 6pm Thursday Playford workshop so you might like to attend that as well and put your hard work into practice.

    8 pm
    Folk Dancing With Madeleine Smith

    Trip the light fantastic to recorded music under the expert guidance of Madeleine, with familiar dances being adjusted for the current environment. Other callers may well pick up some useful tips!

    Wednesday 17th

    10.30 am
    Music Session with David Pattenden

    Join David Pattenden for the morning Music Session. Download the play-list from the link on Lockerdown before the event.
    Pages 10 – 15 of this pack comprise 3 pages copied by permission from ‘Play In The Band’ and the corresponding 3 pages from the website ‘‘ where you will find second parts for these pages. If you have your own copy of ‘Play In The Band’, and/or you’ve already downloaded these second-part pages, of course you don’t need to print out these pages again. The same website contains second parts for all the other tunes in Play In The Band, Band Swing and Band Time, available for free download. The same tunes are also presented in .ABC, .MID and .NWC formats (not all yet available) at… and If you need copies for transposing instruments please contact David via the office.

    2.30 pm
    Sew & Natter with Jenny Walton

    Bring your sewing or knitting to the table and share an hour or so of nattering with your folk camp friends. You don’t have to be doing anything actually, you can just turn up for a chat.

    4 pm
    Poetry Reading with Sally Hawksworth
    Come along and read your favourite animal poem or just join and simply listen.

    8 pm
    Sing-around led by Peter Tomlyn

    Pull up a chair for the evening and Peter Tomlyn will pass the token round so you can take a turn to sing, play, recite a poem or short story or just listen and sing along at home.

    Thursday 18th

    Rhythm with Bruce Knapp
    Explore rhythm and how to make accompaniment a more expressive area, creating dynamics when playing behind melody. All instruments can take on this roll, so bring yours to the workshop.

    Make a Suffolk Puff tree with Christine Corkett

    Christine Corkett will guide you through the workshop. Here is what is required. Suffolk Puff trees. Google it, there are photos. You will need some small pieces of cotton fabric can be all the same or a mixture, needle, thread and scissors, a pencil and an old cotton reel or one which still has thread on will do. Before the workshop please cut out you circles of fabric one of each size: 22cms 19 cms 17,15, 13, 11, 9, 8, 61/2 and 5cms

    Animal Magic with Carla Woods

    Bring along any puppets you made earlier in the week, or your favourite soft toy. Dress up as an animal if you wish. Bring along a percussion instrument – something to hit, like a drum or empty milk bottle and stick, or shake like bells or seeds in a bottle or a couple of spoons or saucepan lids (basically something that you can make a noise with) Finally bring along your voice as an instrument as well and Carla will weave some magic to encompass your participation in various ways during this session. Suitable for children as well as adults.

    Playford Dance Workshop with Clare Park

    Clare invites you to join her for one hour at Thursday’s Zoom dance workshop to enjoy a selection of some of her favourite English Country Dances from the 17th century to the present day. Clare will carefully guide you through the dances on Zoom to live music from her husband, Frank, some of which will have been taught at his improvers musicians workshop.

    Friday 19th

    10:30 am
    Music Session with Moira & Peter Gutteridge

    Moira and Peter will be leading a session of tunes they like. You’re invited to play the tunes along with them, or play the second part, or harmony line, if that’s what you choose to do. A file of the music is posted on Lockerdown. There will also be opportunities for participants to lead one of the tunes, if they would like to. If you need a part for a transposing instrument, please let them know as soon as possible, preferably by February 12th, so they have time to prepare it – please email Moira and Peter via the office.

    2.30 pm
    Collage Workshop with Dorothy Seedhouse

    Have a stiff piece of card for backing, pieces of paper, this could be any sort of paper or pictures you could cut off old Christmas or birthday cards or magazines. some PVA glue and small scissors. A ruler may come in handy as well.

    4.30 pm
    Show & Tell with Sue Malleson

    A chance to show and tell what you’ve achieved during the week. Make a nice cup of tea, settle down in front of the Zoom screen and bring with you to show others, whatever it is you have achieved craft-wise during the week. Or maybe you’ve learnt a tune or written a poem. Share it with us.

    Saturday 20th

    Children’s Painting with Joy Locton

    Join Joy and her grandchildren in an hour’s painting.

    All Events

    See table of events in the week.

    Council Election 2020 Results

    In the election for Folk Camps Council, Clare Mycock has been newly elected and Anthony Keen has been re-elected to serve a second 3 year term on Council.

    At the subsequent Council Meeting the following officers were appointed unanimously:

    • Marcus de Frettes as Chair, proposed by Patrick Self, seconded by Paul Weir.
    • Patrick Self as Vice Chair, proposed by Marcus de Frettes, seconded by Anne Guthrie.
    • Anne Guthrie as Companies Secretary, proposed by Marcus de Frettes, seconded by Mel Horton.

    The full list of current Council members can be found on the Council page.