The Full English May Fayre

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Colston Hall throws its doors open for a day of folk based fun for families with a variety of performances, workshops, dancing and singing events, a maypole and some of the best folk artists from around the country.

May Fayre is part of the Full English, a programme run by the English Folk Dance and Song Society and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The programme has created a huge digital archive of early 20th century English Folk Arts, and developed a national programme of workshops, lectures and creative projects aimed at connecting English Folk with new audiences. May Fayre is delivered in partnership with Bristol Plays Music and Colston Hall.

Starting from 10am come and watch or join in – the event is free and children of all ages are welcome! See the links below for full details of what’s in store…

Also taking place over the same weekend is the Bristol Folk Festival, one of the UK’s best known and loved May-Day-Weekend Festivals.  Being held at St George’s and Bristol Folk House – just up the hill from Colston Hall.

For more information about the 2014 Bristol Folk Festival, including this years headliners, full line up, running times, workshops and much more see the website

Get involved with our #FolkFriday on Twitter and let us know who you’re looking forward to seeing at May Fayre !


More information

The Full English May Fayre

From 10 am Colston Hall will be alive with activity, there will be something for all the family to get involved in. More details and a timetable of the day will be confirmed soon.

Maypole Dancing

Have a go at Maypole dancing! A fun challenge for all ages with live music in the foyer.

Barn Dance with Ceilidh Band

Join in a family ‘Barn Dance’ come and listen or join in the dance, our family friendly ceilidh band will teach you the steps and have you skipping and stephopping in no time.

Morris Dancing

The Bristol Morris Men join us to perform in and around the hall.


Sit down and be enthralled by mysterious and magical tales from English folklore.

Singing Showcase

See the spectacular Gurt Lush Choir and young singers from around Bristol perform songs from the local area unearthed and preserved by the Full English Digital Archive.

Music Workshops

Nick Janaway and Sarah Owen from Solarference lead a creative music session for adults and children, with help from Bristol Plays Music’s Get Inspired team.



Award-winning electronic musicians and singers Solarference perform a live soundtrack to accompany the classic 1920 silent film Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde. Drawing on traditional folk songs and found sounds, the duo uses cutting-edge live sound manipulation to improvise and respond to the film as it unfolds.

See the award winning folktronica duo play live in The Lantern. Tickets are free and available from the box office. For more information, go to the event page.

The Full English Project Digital Archive Demonstration

Prior to An Evening with Dave Swarbrick, come along to this free pre-concert talk from Malcolm Taylor OBE, the director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Malcolm will be highlighting The Full English project, including a demonstration of the digital archive at work as well as information about the collections and processes involved in bringing together the archive partners and manuscripts for this flagship project. For full info go to the event page

An Evening with Dave Swarbrick

Following the day’s free activities, Ex-Fairport Convention fiddle player Dave ‘Swarb’ Swarbrick will be sharing stories and playing in his trademark style, as “The most influential [British] fiddle player bar none” (Ashley Hutchings, Fairport Convention). ‘Swarb’ will be supported by all girl English trad folk trio, Said the Maiden.

Please note this is not part of the day’s free programme. Tickets £13.44 incl. booking fee. For more information and to book, go to the event page.

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Part of

The Full English
Unlocking hidden treasures of England’s cultural heritage
A ground-breaking nationwide digital archive and learning project