Todmorden is situated in the stunning Calder Valley, in West Yorkshire. It’s easy to get here on public transport from Manchester, Leeds, Burnley and Bradford.

Todmorden Folk Festival takes place every year over the May Day bank holiday weekend.

The core of our music happens at concerts in beautiful locations around the town (please see our programme for more details of the schedule); there are also free events, dancing and outdoor entertainments throughout the weekend:

  • Festival cafe – Central Methodist Church, 10 – 5 Saturday
  • Craft fair – Central Methodist Church, 10 – 5 Saturday
  • Morris dancing – various locations, Saturday and Sunday
  • Free outdoor music stage with pop-up local food/drink vendors – Oxford Street car park, 12 – 5.30 Sunday
  • Music/singing sessions – see programme for details


The Songs of Cyril Tawney (Saturday, 11.30 – 12.30, Masonic Hall – just turn up – donations on the door) A concert and sing-along featuring The Muthers, She Shanties, Kimbers Men and Roger Kennington. Tawney joined the Royal Navy at 16 and became one of England’s most renowned folk songwriters, drawing from his sea-faring experiences. Grey Funnel Line, Sammy’s Bar, Chicken on a Raft and more. You’ll know many of his compositions and if you don’t, we’ll have words to help you join in. Start your Saturday right with this joyful celebration of great songs.

Morris dancing with Black Gate Morris (Saturday, 1 – 2.30, Masonic Hall – just turn up – donations on the door) Ever fancied trying out Morris dancing? Join the fabulous Black Gate Morris to learn Cotswold Morris dancing at the Masonic Hall. All ages, no experience necessary. Please wear comfy clothing and shoes.

Learn guitar with Kevin and Kat from The Pennine Guitar Centre (Sunday, 10 – 12, Creative with Nature) No experience or equipment necessary. These half hour sessions will be run by Kevin, a classically trained, experienced teacher and performer, and Kat who specialises in teaching beginners. Places are limited so please book your place here (suggested donation on door).

Kids activities

10.30 – 3.30 on Saturday at Pollination Street (see schedule below):

  • Crafts and games
  • Workshops
  • Face painting
  • Maypole dancing
  • Special guest appearances!

Hands on Skin: Traditional Guinean Drumming Workshop Moussa and Chris Sylla, will provide you will an opportunity to have a go at West African djembe drumming. Moussa is from Guinea and we will be learning a little bit about this most amazing instrument and playing some simple and fun traditional rhythms. Anyone can have a go, it’s not necessary to have any musical experience or ability. We can explore all the different sounds the drum can make and create a BIG noise as well as having a great time with musical conversations. All you need is your hands. Wear ear defenders if you’re sensitive to noise. Caution – drumming can cause outbursts of happiness and excessive smiling!

Watch out for Plucky, a very big, very friendly and possibly over curious chicken. Accompanied by her hen-pecked sidekick, Plucky guarantees to bring fun, farmyard frolics, music and song to everyone throughout the day! Brought to you by Thingumajig Theatre.

Jiggerie Folkerie are Calderdale’s own youth folk group, playing traditional and modern folk tunes from the British Isles and all over Europe. This talented group of young musicians love playing together and have been wowing audiences at a variety of local events. They combine instrumental talent with the energy and enthusiasm of youth – you’ll be sure to leave with a smile on your face!


Please see below for access information for our venues:

Septimus the Giant patrolling Pollination Street, 2022
The Oxford Street outdoor stage, 2022
Granny’s Attic playing in the beautiful St Mary’s Church, 2022
The Frank Burkitt Band playing in the breathtaking Unitarian Church, 2022

Contact info

[please be aware that we are a volunteer-run festival and cannot reply to all the emails we receive – sincere apologies for this]