Who We Help

Thank you for supporting Priddy Folk Festival! We are proud to be a Registered Charity run by volunteers with the stated aims of promoting music and improving the environs of Priddy.

The Festival is a major contributor to the local school and preschool, and without this critical funding these two crucial village facilities would find it difficult to operate.

Funds generated by the Festival have supported all manner of projects and activities in the village over the years. You will see plaques with our name in many different places.

Here’s a selection of projects which we have helped in previous years:

  • The Local History Club (support for speakers and exhibitions)
  • Dance Fusion Club (paying for dancing lessons, occasionally leading to dance exhibitions at the Festival!)
  • Monday Club (paying for speakers for some of the more experience-rich members of our community)
  • Priddy Toddlers and Pre School (equipment purchases)
  • St Laurence Church (helping with maintenance costs)
  • The Village Green (paid to solve a long standing drainage problem)
  • Art Exhibitions (two exhibitions for local professional and amateur artists)
  • Concerts (we have organised village hall concerts that would otherwise have been uneconomic)
  • Music tuition (paying for music tuition in our local primary school)
  • We have experimented with new ideas, working with the local Wells Blue School and Halsway Manor, focused on promoting young musicians in the folk tradition. Our initiative in 2012 was a great success and so popular that we have carried it on in the annual “Priddy Rising” project and the free showcase concert on Saturday during the Festival.
A group of young people dancing.
Young people learning traditional dancing.

We’re proud to feature some reports from our recipients below:

Halsway Young Folk

Halsway Manor has provided a home for people to enjoy, explore and learn about traditional music, song, dance, craft and more, since it was established as England’s National Centre for Folk Arts in 1965.

More recently, it has developed a thriving programme of residential courses for young people to discover their folk roots, develop their music and performance skills, and make lasting friendships too!

Funds raised by the Priddy Folk Festival have provided bursaries to support young people who might not otherwise be able to benefit from this opportunity.

Currently four courses are offered through the year:

  • Juniors for ages 8 – 12 in August
  • Intro for ages 12 – 16 in April
  • Intermediate for ages 13-18 in July (culminating in performances at Sidmouth Folk Week), and Advanced for ages 16+ in August.

Archaeological Research in Priddy

Dr Jodie Lewis of the University of Worcester writes:

Priddy parish contains a wealth of archaeological sites ranging from earlier prehistory to the 20th century, including nationally and internationally important funerary and ritual sites, settlements, agricultural structures and the remains of extractive activities.

However, our understanding of the typology, development and chronology of these sites, the relationships between them and their associated material culture is poor, limited by the lack of modern excavation. As a result, many of the archaeological sites are of uncertain date and function, making it difficult to generate interpretations. These interpretations are not only of academic value but can also be used to enhance community engagement with their local heritage and aid management and conservation strategies.

I have been researching the archaeological landscape of Priddy since 1995 and have been leading the popular archaeological guided walks at the Festival since 2001. I carry out annual research excavations on the Mendip Hills and for the last six years these have been in Priddy. The sites I have investigated range in date from the Neolithic to the Post-Medieval and are providing vital new insights into the origins and development of Priddy parish, from the prehistoric period to the present day.

The funding I have received from the Folk Festival has been invaluable. The funds have contributed to the costs of post-excavation analyses including radiocarbon dating, palaeoenvironmental studies and artefact illustration. These are essential – but expensive – specialist archaeological services and without this funding, my research would be impossible. Priddy is the only village on the high Mendip plateau and since the end of the last Ice Age, communities have settled here and recognised this as a very special place. My archaeological research is revealing how these successive communities played a part in shaping the landscape we experience and cherish today.

The Priddy Singers

A group of people standing on the grass in front of a church.
Members of our local community choir, the Priddy Singers.

Financial assistance from the Festival has been crucial in helping us to grow quickly from a fledgling group to the 40+ members we now comprise.  The choir is proud to be able to offer the first half term of singing free of charge to all new members, putting an outward-looking and welcoming philosophy at our core.

Funding from the Priddy Folk Festival has also allowed us to purchase branded folders for all singers and to purchase copies of copyrighted repertoire. This helps us in broadening our repertoire and raising the musical standards of the group by selecting songs which are ‘just right’ for us rather than simply those which are freely available to photocopy.

The range in our repertoire is a major attraction for our members and meshes together this diverse group of singers – some with no previous singing experience, some with a strong background of classical singing and some with a passion for 80s classics! Priddy Folk Festival funding has enabled us to pay a piano accompanist to play for some rehearsals and performances. As the choir grows and the songs become more complicated, this support for our professional musical director (who would otherwise play for her own rehearsals) becomes crucial.

The Priddy Singers are already well-known in the community and had a sell-out Christmas Concert in Priddy Village Hall last year. We regularly participate in the Priddy Church Carol Service, perform an annual summer concert in Westbury Village Hall and – the annual highlight! – features at the Priddy Folk Festival. We have collaborated with the school choir of Priddy and St Lawrence’s, have performed with ceilidh band Squeeze, Fiddle, Pluck and have helped with fundraising for the Priddy Preschool. This summer, we aim to assemble 100 local singers of all ages to raise the (marquee) roof in the finale of our set at the Priddy Folk Festival.

A great success story over the 40 months we have existed so far, the Priddy Singers is very grateful for the support of the Priddy Folk Festival, which has been key in making this possible.

Priddy preschool

Priddy preschool is an early years learning environment in the heart of the countryside. Funding from Priddy Folk Festival has been invaluable in supporting this small setting in developing its ethos and programme of delivery and working towards securing its future. Funds have enabled the Preschool to invest in quality equipment for learning and play, specialised music sessions and external visits, plus marketing materials to promote the setting and attract new children.

Priddy Preschool is extremely grateful to the Folk Festival for their on-going support and for enabling the children of Priddy to benefit from an enhanced musical dimension to their education.

St Laurence Church

A church.

Robin Maine writes:

St Lawrence Church are immensely grateful for the generous donations the Folk Festival have given us.

The main projects we have used funds for are:

  • Repairing the lead roof after vandals attempted to steal it
  • Pollarding the large sycamore trees adjacent to the main path
  • Helping to purchase a ride-on grass mower

Priddy School Choir

Thanks to the support of the Folk Festival, Priddy School children have had the amazing opportunity to sing during the Festival – which definitely brings a tear to most parents’ eyes!