Organisers of the 2019 Southdowns Folk & Ukulele Festival are looking forward with confidence to their seventh festival this September.
The festival now incorporates the word ukulele in its title, reflecting the way it has developed since its debut.
Professional concerts at the Regis Centre in Bognor still remain central to the event, but the community, participatory element of the festival has progressed hugely in received years.
Earlier this year, the festival received an award of £5,000 from the Sussex Community Foundation towards Making Your Mark, a ukulele community outreach project linked to the festival – a reflection of the festival’s all-inclusive approach.
“We are now very well established,” says festival chairman Roger Nash. “People recognise the name and we get people coming back year after year, but we do keep trying to refresh the festival, and that’s why it is much more of a community festival now.
“Last year we started the ukulele festival and that has brought in more groups and a lot more people. We incorporate a lot more venues, and we have also got a real ale festival.”
There will be a special ukulele concert on Friday, September 20.
“Over four days between September 19 and 22, there will be no fewer than 117 different performances and events covering the Bognor Regis town centre, seafront, promenade bandstand and Norfolk Street with loads of great free events in venues such as the Regis Centre, Place St Maur, RAFA Club in Waterloo Square, the Claremont in Scott Street, The Lamb (Steyne Street) plus the Hothampton Arms in London Road.”
Roger added: “The 2019 ticketed line-up for South Downs Folk Festival is probably one of the best ever, featuring the brilliant folk-rock legends Lindisfarne, the hugely popular Oysterband and BBC folk multi-award winners The Young ‘Uns with a very special evening at Bognor’s Alexandra Theatre
“Oysterband have been with us twice before, and they enjoy coming down here. They have got a big following, and we always try to get them. Oysterband have been going since the 70s. They started off as a punk band and then they got into folk rock. They write their own stuff and they tour extensively. They are brilliant.
“Lindisfarne have been going for 40 odd years and have had hit after hit. It is the first time we have had Lindisfarne and that is reflected in the ticket sales. We have been trying to get them for a while, but couldn’t make it work, but now luckily we have got them and we are delighted to have them here. They have a fantastic stage show and they really reach out to the audience. That’s why they have had such an enduring popularity.
“The Young ‘Uns are very much a big name now in the folk roots world. We had them at the festival about four years ago and they were just starting out. They are twice BBC Folk Award winners.
“They do The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff, the story of one man’s adventure from begging on the streets in the north of England to fighting against fascism in the Spanish Civil War.
“They have toured it up and down the country and it has been very successful. They are musically fantastic. It is unique for us and it should be a fantastic evening.”
More details on http://www.southdownsfolkfest.co.uk