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Location: Alderford Lake, Tilstock Road, Whitchurch, Shropshire, SY13 3JQ
A weekend of fantastic storytelling, tall tales, terrific tellers, music and more… surrounded by breathtaking views of the Shropshire countryside
Festival at the Edge is an annual international storytelling festival and the oldest one of its kind in England. Taking place in July, nestled alongside the magnificent and magical Wenlock Edge.
International storytellers in performance, music, comedy and related arts. There are practical workshops, story rounds and informal music sessions for you to join in. At night the bonfire sessions continue until late (or dawn!). There is a craft fair, on-site catering and a CAMRA real-ale bar. They are working towards making the festival as accessible as possible to people with disabilities – both as performers and audience. Please contact the organisers for more information.
What about the kids? It’s a family-friendly event and there’s a children’s festival that runs throughout the festival weekend, mixing specially booked children’s performers with performers from the main festival.
Since 1999, the Festival has commissioned major new storytelling performances to premiere at the festival each year. An eclectic mix of artists from around the globe bring their art to the ears of visitors from all over the UK. Storytelling is the most accessible of all art forms both at an audience and at a participatory level. Storytelling at the Edge draws upon the heritage of the British Isles and reflects the multicultural nature of Britain today.
Camping? There is on-site camping for Weekend, Sat/Sun and All Day Saturday ticket holders. The site is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest – unfortunately this means that the only fires allowed on site are the storytelling bonfires.
Festival at the Edge has grown to become one of the high points in the UK’s storytelling calendar. Its reputation for the best performers, the most beautiful setting and experienced site-management makes FatE a sell-out event year on year. Download a booking for for tickets from the festival website.
Chris Panic (aka Professor Panic) has attended the festival with Panic Circus every year since its inception. He shares his thoughts on the unique event:
Kids: Lots of kids stuff… it’s a storytelling festival! There is a dedicated children’s performance and workshop marquee….. with making and always with excellent guest performers and workshoppers.
Panic Circus have been at this festival as regular guests since it began and we work our usual full programme of Circus/puppets/games/stories/bubbles and fun. We look forward to this one as many of the children have been coming there for 10 years or more and have grown up with us. Mostly I enjoy the finale “Kidz-show-off-your-Circus-talent” SHOW which ends the weekend and where the kidz make us look SO good…!
Site and Facilities: The site is small enough to get around easily, with loads of interesting walks. And there’s no need for security fences as everyone who wants to be there is responsible and wants to be there.
As it is on Wenlock Edge it can sometimes get “weather” but you can see it coming for miles. I have been there in all sorts of weather. If it is windy it is REALLY windy! It can get misty – It can get rain… but there was only one disastrously wet and muddy one and that was in the summer of 2007 when the whole of Britain was flooded that weekend.
Access is up a long quite rough track but all participants are able to drive on and take vehicle to their camp site which is extensive and with plenty of room for everyone. We could do with a flatter place to put up the bigtop…… we can never use the “walking globe” because it just runs away down the hill!
The toilets are always perfectly clean and maintained and adequate for the numbers….. however they ALWAYS seem to be being emptied and cleaned at the early morning “I need a POO!” time!
Security: It’s so safe there seems no need for security fences. Stewards are there to help. I’ve never heard of a kid getting lost or a parent misplaced (tho I did once lose my wicked stepmother)
At one point it was so dog-friendly that dogs had their own tickets and collartags!
Top Tip: For some reason they always like the festival-goers to leave on Sunday evening so don’t let your driver have too much fun (or go to the Beer Tent on the Sunday afternoon). I have no idea why this is the policy of the festival but it has always been so.
Favourite memories: The ring of families and kids watching us put up the Bigtop and itching to get at the equipment and start playing with it. The shouts of welcome, and all the wee Alberts and Mabels expecting me to remember all their names from previous years!
A very non commercial festival with very little demands from the kids for money for xtras or treats. One of the most family friendly festivals on the circuit and on the first weekend of the summer school holidays too 🙂