There will be dancing in the streets of Holmfirth, as the town hosts the annual Festival of Folk during the weekend of May 5, 6 and 7.

But unless more volunteers come forward, there are warnings that this festival might well be the last.

As chairman Alex Bywaters says: “The festival in its current form started 12 years ago and has gone from strength to strength, but the people who have been running it are now long in the tooth and it needs some fresh blood and a serious injection of enthusiasm and youth in order to continue. The festival is very much at risk and won’t happen next year if we don’t get new people coming forward.”

However, this year will see more than 50 live music acts in pubs and major venues in the Holmfirth, as well as displays by traditional – and not-so-traditional – dance troupes, including Morris, maypole, clog, tribal and belly dancers.

Video Loading

On both Saturday (10.30am until 3.30pm) and Sunday (10am until 3pm) dancers will give colourful street performances and lead workshops. A procession is also planned for Saturday afternoon from 3.30pm until 4.30pm, starting at the Memorial Gardens, going along Hollowgate, over the Toll House Bridge and to Huddersfield Road, and up Cooper Lane to Victoria Park. Watch out for the Sheffield City Giants, a pair of four-metre-high processional giants that perform four specially-choreographed dances, and a mummers’ troupe of actors presenting both traditional and contemporary drama.

Headlining this year’s festival is Geordie singer/songwriter Keith Donnelly, who is known for his stand-up humour and guitar playing. He’ll be in concert at Holmfirth Masonic Hall on Sunday, May 7, with the Georgia Shackleton Trio. Other top folk artists coming to Holmfirth include Alabama 3, Scott Doonican, King King, Ben Bateman and Jaywalkers. The emphasis this year is on local bands and new talent. A ceilidh is planned for Saturday evening at Holmfirth Civic Hall.

Most events at the festival are free and suitable for families, but there are a few ticketed shows, including the Keith Donnelly gig. However, organisers have kept ticket prices low, at between £5 and £8.

Many pubs in the area are hosting free performances and the festival is also running activities for children and families in the Market Hall and Memorial Gardens. Businesses supporting the events will be displaying a yellow folk festival sticker.

The only major road closure during the festival is Hollowgate, between 10.30am and 4pm, although there will be a rolling road closure during the Saturday procession. Those attending the festival are being encouraged to use public transport.

For more information and tickets visit

Anyone wishing to join the organising committee or volunteer can also contact Alex through the website.