Dartmoor Folk Festival attracted record crowds despite prediction of bad weather.

RECORD crowds enjoyed three days of music, song, dance and crafts at the 37th Dartmoor Folk Festival held from August 8 to 10.

Local and national artists entertained audiences at the event held at South Zeal, near Okehampton.

The festival included concerts, dances, a Dartmoor Fayre, a ceilidh, folk service, craft displays, music hall, pub sessions, a ramble on Dartmoor and music, song and dance workshops.

The packed programme of events also included a dedicated children’s festival.

Hotly-contested competitions included the Dartmoor Broom Dance championships and Dartmoor Step Dance championships.

The festival chairman, Jason Rice, from Exeter, formerly of Crediton and Copplestone, was judged the winner of the adult step dance competition.  Jason works for Haines Watts, chartered accountants, of Crediton and Exeter.  He previously won the title in 2001 and 2010.

Junior step dance competition winner was Matthew Stoner (15), from South Zeal.

He previously won the title in 2010 and 2011.

Broom dance champion was Izzy Rowland (11), from Sticklepath, near Okehampton.  Eleanor Marvin (11) was second and Evelyn Hansell (9) was third.

The festival was founded by the late Bob Cann, from South Zeal, who wanted to revive and preserve the traditions of Dartmoor.

The festival association includes many descendants of Mr Cann, and his widow, Joyce, is president.

“We have had record crowds and all of the events have gone very well,” said Alan Quick, press officer, who added “Everything has gone swimmingly.”

Jason Rice thanked the public for ignoring the weather forecasts and for travelling to Dartmoor for the event.

He extended thanks to all those involved, including an army of volunteers.

He said: “The weather didn’t put a dampener on the weekend and played no significant part, however the Sunday afternoon main arena events moved into one of the marquees.

“I would like to thank the villagers for putting up with the increase in traffic and all the artists who performed.”

He added: “The success of the festival is due to the many helpers.  There are a growing amount of young people from the village and further afield involved and it is them who play a valuable role, some as performers in their own right.”

Mrs Cann said: “It was a brilliant weekend – a ‘proper job’.

“Everything went ‘tickety-boo!”

Mr Quick added that the family-friendly festival, was not only something everyone could enjoy but said it also provided a huge economic boost to the area with shops, pubs and bed and breakfast establishments, local suppliers and exhibitors generating thousands of pounds into the local economy.

He added: “The festival has grown over the years and attracts some of the best folk artists around, whilst maintaining its reputation for being a relaxed, friendly and traditional festival.

“It is deeply rooted in the heart of the Dartmoor community and is keeping customs and traditions alive.”