An army of 280 volunteers are working to set the scene for Chippenham’s 43rd folk festival this bank holiday weekend.

The festival runs from tomorrow to Monday and offers a mix of free and ticketed events.

There are 237 events to choose from, including performances from over 50 traditional dance sides showcasing Appalachian, border, sword, clog and Cotswold dance styles.

The first day of the festival is schools’ day and 10 local primary schools will send over 250 children to spend the day learning dance and song skills.

Organisers have booked popular ceilidh bands Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Glorystrokes and Tickled Pink to perform.

They are particularly keen to push ticket sales for three key events, held at the big top on River Island Park on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

On Saturday evening Pewsey-based folk group The Yirdbards will be at the big top.

On Sunday the big top will be transformed into an Irish bar for Irish night, and on Monday The Demon Barbers will mix traditional dance styles with hip hop and street dance.

Festival organiser Bob Berry spoke out against plans for a skate park on River Island Park last year and said Saturday night’s event had been commissioned with this in mind.

He said: “We wanted to celebrate that piece of land that we have used for 43 years. They have written songs especially for the show. It’s important that people understand what it is we do and how important the park is.

“All the free events everyone goes to, those are actually paid for by all the people who have bought tickets.

“Buying tickets at the festival is of the utmost importance because otherwise we cannot run it. Support it or lose it, it’s as simple as that.”

Tickets to the big top events are £12. You can also donate money to the festival by putting money in collection buckets.

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