There is a thriving folk scene within Wantage, Grove and surrounding villages.

Wantage Folk Dancing

The effervescent Icknield Way Morris Men, who celebrated 60 years in 2019, practice every Wednesday night throughout the winter. They dance at pubs around the Vale during the summer and their favourite pub is the King Alfred’s Head in Wantage.

The energetic Cornucopia perform Appalachian Step Clogging and British Clog dancing and meet at Grove Methodist Church Hall every Monday night, than afterwards at The Bell in Grove.

The light-heartedly dignified Vale Islanders perform 17th century Playford dances in the costume of the period. They meet most Tuesdays at Charney Bassett village hall.

The Wantage Folk Dance Club is a friendly group who meet at the Charlton Centre and dance a variety of dances (traditional, modern, Playford, Amercian square dances and contras). It’s a fun way to exercise!

Wantage Ceilidh (barn dance) Bands

These bands play for ceilidhs (barn dances) and can be hired to play at weddings and other events.

Bathshebas Wedding – ceilidh band

Jigworks – Irish ceilidh band

Larkrise Ranters – ceilidh band

Mad Hatters – ceilidhs plus Thomas Hardy inspired music

Melobo Ceilidh Band – English folk/rock barn dance band

Pandemonium – ceilidh and folk music band

Tumbledown Dick – traditional barn dance band

Background music in your own garden

If you just want two or three musicians to make fine acoustic music in your garden for a family party, BBQ or maybe a neighbourhood get together, then get in touch with Howard who is in contact with many of the musicians above.

The sound of real acoustic music is a wonderful backdrop for a garden party; relax, eat food, drink wine and chat to your friends long into the evening.

White Horse Ceilidhs

Stomping barn dances in Grove. White Horse Ceilidhs organise a dance every months with live bands and good ale.

Local display teams are invited to perform during the half time interval, with Cotswold, North West, Border, Rapper, 17th Century English dance, Appalachian and English Step Clog groups all based within the Vale of White Horse, so you’ll be well entertained whilst you catch your breath!

Folk Music Sessions

The Kings Arms has a session on the 1st Wednesday of each month from 7.00pm.

The Bell in Grove has a Slow Session for beginners and the not so confident players on the 2nd Sunday of each month from 2.30pm.

Folk Festivals

The White Horse Folk Festival is usually the third weekend in August and gives you the opportunity to watch, listen to and dance to some of the best folk and traditional artists in the country.

A little further afield are Bunkfest and the Oxford Folk Weekend – quite a few musicians from Wantage, Grove and villages perform at these.


Christmas is a particularly busy time with Carols in the King Alfred’s Head the last Wednesday before Christmas and the Wantage Mummers annual rendition on Boxing Day in Faringdon, Wantage (12noon) and Childrey (1pm).

Graham Hubbard and Howard Hill
Updated September 2019

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