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Whitby Folk Week 2024, All You Need To Know

Whitby Folk Week is a significant date in the UK folk calendar, with performances across 50 venues. Let us tell you more about Whitby Folk Week.

With fun activities, superb concerts, and exciting events throughout the town, Whitby Folk Week will indeed have something for everyone.

This year, Whitby Folk Week will occur from 17th – 23rd August 2024.

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What is Whitby Folk Week?

Music festivals of all sorts end up in the town of Whitby, and one of the largest is the week-long Whitby Folk Week. The festival is a celebration of the folk music of the British Isles with singers, callers, and dancing events. The folk gathering started as a small, dance-inspired festival in 1965 and has grown into one of the largest folk music and dance festivals in the northern UK. 

Whitby Folk Week

British folk dancing, Whitby Folk Week’s inspiration, includes a variety of dances from many eras in the UK. Dances from ancient Babylon to the modern era are performed at the festival. The Maypole dance, dating back to Babylon, developed into a popular folk dance with two unique segments. The circle dance and the ribbon dance portions make up the Maypole dance.

Whitby Folk Week has over 600 scheduled events, and there are almost always street performers, either singing or dancing, on the town’s corners during the festival.

A variety of songs and styles can be heard during Whitby Folk Week

Clogging is another popular dance variation often performed at the festival. The dance style is popular and originated in Wales and England. It evolved from dancers who wore wooden clogs as they danced. In the 16th century, cloggers changed to leather shoes with wooden pieces on the bottom to help them clog. The clog dances of Wales and England are pretty distinctive for each region.

Whitby Folk Dancing

Another form of folk dancing you may see during Whitby Folk Week is the English country dance, a social folk dance popular in the country that originated during the Renaissance. The garland dance and sword dances, such as the long sword, a dance with Yorkshire roots, and rapper sword dances, are some other styles you may witness at the festival.

History of Folk music

Folk music has been a part of the British landscape since the arrival of people in Britain in 400 CE. Playing the harp and singing was common at feasts during the Medieval period, and some of the songs heard now go back to that period. Some of the oldest printed copies of written music that have survived are the ballads of Robin Hood, which began to be sung in the 14th century, dating to 1495.

The British aristocracy and those from the lower societies each had their own folk music styles. The upper elite knew little about the music of the lower classes. During the mid-17th century, there was a revival of the music, folklore, and festivals that originated with the middle and lower classes in society. The revivals led to some of the earliest printed collections of music and poetry.

Whitby Folk Week

Folk music themes have evolved continuously from rural agrarian life to industrial work songs, which became popular during the Industrial Revolution, to sea shanties and new forms of folk music like progressive and electric folk. Folk has undergone many revivals in the UK from 1890 to the present, and many songs and styles can be heard during Whitby’s folk festival.

Whitby Folk Week Booking your tickets

You can book a season ticket for entry to all Folk Week events, weekend or day tickets. A few events are restricted to Season/Day ticket-holders (marked in the programme). At all others, you can pay at the door. 

Children and Junior tickets

Children aged 11 and under are admitted free to main events when accompanied by an adult season ticket holder. However, there is a small charge for Children’s events to cover the cost of materials. Junior tickets can be purchased for young people between 12 and 16.

Student tickets

Students can purchase their tickets at a reduced rate (as per the senior rate) if they produce a valid Student Union Card when collecting tickets. 

You can purchase tickets and find more information here. If you have any further queries, please email [email protected].

If you are on social media, you can keep up with all the news by liking their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/whitbyfolkweek. For more information about this year’s Whitby Folk Week, visit www.whitbyfolk.co.uk

6 thoughts on “Whitby Folk Week 2024, All You Need To Know”

  1. Stewarding? Haven’t heard from you yet. Have sent several emails.

    Looking forward ti the festival.

    All the best

    Alma Beattie

    • Hi Alma

      We haven’t received any emails from you here at The Whitby Guide. Can I ask which email address you sent your enquiry to?

  2. Are volunteers needed for tomorrow. I have given my details to whitby stewarding.
    Will call in site office tonight.

    Eileen Hanley

  3. A message for the Director of Whitby Folk Festival:-

    I attended the Tai-chi Workshops at the festival this year. It was a wonderful way to start my days – time to set myself up for the busy and noisy day ahead at the festival. Although I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the festival the Tai-chi workshop gave me some quiet relaxing time to prepare for the day. I also learned a lot about self defence which will be very useful for me. I also came away from the last workshop with thoughts of continuing to practise Tai-chi in the future. Melvin Samuel and Howard Gibbons were extremely good teachers – and they made the lessons fun to do. I really hope that you will offer Tai-chi workshops next year.


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