Click on the names for more information about all our musicians and dancers! And keep checking out this page for news as more participants are announced...
Chris Green and Sophie Matthews are modern-day balladeers, specialising in telling stories through song. They are firm believers in the age-old power of narrative song to delight contemporary audiences. Taking their cue from ancient troubadour tradition, they are 21st-century wandering players – touring their self-created shows extensively throughout the UK and Europe. Although their music and tales are rooted in the past, the performance is entirely of the 21st century, immediate and accessible to modern audiences.
At Richmond MayFest, Chris and Sophie will be playing Tudor music at Richmond Castle on all three days, and presenting their concert 'A Brief History of Music' at St Mary's Church on Saturday evening. More information here.
The Ran Tanners are the virtuosic duo of Paul Martin (bagpipes, hurdy gurdy, fiddle, accordion) and Ian McKone (fiddle, guitar, drums). Based in Durham, they specialise in the folk tunes of the north east which they play with verve and style.
At Richmond MayFest, they will be variously roaming the Market Place and streets of the town, bobbing down to The Station, and hanging out at the session in The Castle Tavern. Don't worry - you won't miss them!
The Ran Tanners are generously sponsored at MayFest by The Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association.
Richmondshire Orchestra is a thriving community orchestra which performs to a high standard, giving three concerts a year. We draw players from the Dales, North Yorkshire and surrounding areas, and meet weekly on Thursday evenings during term time, in Richmond. Visit our website or our Facebook page for details of our concerts on 20th March and 26th June.
We are looking for new players, particularly string players. If you are interested in joining the Orchestra, please email the secretary or phone 07814118468.
At Richmond MayFest, come along to the Town Hall on Saunday and Monday afternoons to listen and relax to music of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries performed by groups drawn from members of Richmondshire Orchestra, including string quartets and recorder trios.
Scottish Country Dancing – a fun, sociable and fitness activity for adults of all ages and abilities danced to the lively rhythm of Scottish music. It ticks all the boxes and will not require expensive equipment!
Richmond Branch of the RSCDS is the local group, which organises classes for adults of all abilities from beginners to experienced in the Booth Hall, Catterick Village. You will learn how to dance the steps and patterns for Jigs, Reels and Strathspeys and then put them together in dances, which are numbered in their hundreds.
If this sounds like an activity you would like to be part of, then please contact Jan Robinson, Secretary on 01748 884786, or
At MayFest you can find the RSCDS in the Town Hall, on Sunday afternoon, where they will be showcasing a few dances.
Have Maypole Will Travel are based near Morpeth. They are a small collective that offer maypole and heritage dance workshops and activities from late Medieval to Georgian.
Their Maypole Workshops are great for all the family - young children and adults alike can participate in a relaxed atmosphere with the focus on everyone learning some basic dances and having fun.
At MayFest, you will find Have Maypole Will Travel at the Castle on Bank Holiday Monday - join them for music and dancing!
The Rhythm & Shoes Dance Academy is an award winning, hugely popular, family-run dance school with studios in Richmond North Yorkshire. The Dance Academy has become a firm favourite with many parents and pupils locally, and students are given a range of opportunities to take part in varying events throughout the year such as shows at the beautiful Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, pantomimes, exams , local displays and professional workshops. At Richmond MayFest, Rhythm & Shoes dancers will be offering up a couple of routines at the Castle at around 11am on Monday - before going on to have a go at maypole dancing!
Hautbois are Rick and Nellie Heavisides - a lively and talented duo that use music as a vehicle for historical entertainment. They excel in a unique style of performance which balances a detailed knowledge of the given period in history with the presentation of the music. All the music played is thoroughly researched as appropriate for the historical period; every attention to historical accuracy is observed in their vibrant, informative and entertaining shows.
At MayFest, Rick and Helen wll be performng music from the time of the Great War, from their wonderful reproduction hand cart!
Tritor perform pre-renaissance music and song with much medieval grooviness...
Regular favourites on the tavern stage at Medieval Music in the Dales, Tritor aim to engage with the ageless spirit of this wonderful resonant music, bring great tunes and songs forward in time to a modern audience. As one enthusiastic fan has said “I never knew dead old stuff could sound so good…”
At Richmond MayFest. Tritor will be popping into the folk session at the Castle Tavern on Monday afternoon, adding their sounds to the music-making. You might also spot them at the Castle at some point...
Richmondshire Choral Society, has origins going back to 1879 and in its time has sung most of the great choral works. . It is currently enjoying a particularly strong period thanks to a series of charismatic musical directors, even though these have only been with the choir for short periods.
We always welcome new members, and for information that is useful if you are interested in joining us take a look here and get in touch.
At Richmond MayFest, Richmondshire Choral Socety are providing a glorious closing concert on Monday, with choruses from The Messiah and Richmond's own Cantique 950. The concert is generously supported by the Rotary Club of Richmond.
Photo by Rhiannon Dalton.
Maypole Dancing has a long and varied history in Great Britain and across the world. Traditionally it is a celebration of the arrival of summer and today it is a year- round enjoyable activity which appeals to all ages and can use both traditional and contemporary dance and music styles to create colourful and interesting patterns. Fabulous fun to create and fascinating to watch!
Maypole Movers is the creation of Claire Butler, and she set the company up to share the enjoyment and tradition of Maypole Dancing with others.
At MayFest, Claire is leading school workshops (generously sponsored by McLuckie Projects Ltd) on the Friday and is then at The Castle on Saturday for more dancing open to all
Two sides - one a Morris and the other a Sword team - who basically operate as a single group with dancers shared across the two styles. Benfieldside Morris and the Durham Rams are based in County Durham, and if you feel like having a go, they welcome beginners and more seasoned dancers alike.
They are appearing at MayFest on the Monday when they will be putting in appearances in the Market Place, at the Castle and at The Station. Oh, and you might well spot a Ran Tanner or two amongst them!
Bisarr is a folk-duo formed by Nicholas Konradsen and James Noble, who first met at the Medieval Music in the Dales festival. The two of them play contemporary folk and traditional-styled music, primarily inspired by Scandinavian and other European folk traditions, featuring cittern, bagpipes, oud, hurdy gurdy and saz.
Bisarr are a really talented pair - catch them at the Castle on Monday at around noon, after which they will be heading over to the session at The Castle Tavern.
Jacob Heringman (lute) and Susanna Pell (viol), who are based here in Richmond, have been musical colleagues for almost 25 years and have both enjoyed distinguished careers; Jacob as a soloist and with many prominent period ensembles; Susanna as a freelance performer and with Fretwork and The Dufay Collective.
In 1999 they celebrated their marriage. Composer, Andrew Keeling, wrote a piece, Pellingmans' Saraband, to mark that occasion.
Now they take that title for their musical collaboration as they explore the unique sonority of a bowed fretted instrument with a plucked and bring some of the greatest music of the Renaissance and Early Baroque period to life.
For Richmond MayFest, Jacob and Susanna join with actor Mark Burghagen for a specially created concert in celebration of Spring: 'If Music & Sweet Poetry Agree'. More information here.
Medieval minstrels Trouvre are Gill Page and Paul Leigh, and are based in Richmond. Gill and Paul have been playing music together for nearly twenty years, and they particularly like the music of the high middle ages - the time of the crusades and courtly love. They enjoy researching and recreating the magnificent music of these times, and have an amazing array of medieval instruments. Gill and Paul are also the directors of Medieval Music in the Dales - the UK's only festival of medieval music - and Gill is one of the team behind Richmond MayFest.
At MayFest, Trouvere will be performing in the Market Place, at The Station, and in the Castle.
Richmond on Swale Morris Men, Richmond’s only traditional Cotswold style Morris side have been in existence since 1973. As Richmond's very own morris side, they are coordinating morris dancing over the weekend so watch this space for news of more sides...
And don't miss the RoSMM Day of Dance in Richmond on May 22nd!
The RoSMM will be dancing at MayFest on the Sunday.
It's Fourum's 50th anniversary year this year - they've been entertaining audiences since early 1972 with their own special brand of music and humour. Fourum are best known for their unique evocative songs, composed by group member Allen Miller, portraying the characters, history and legends of the North Yorkshire Dales, but their repertoire also includes traditional Scottish, Irish and Tyneside music.
At MayFest, catch Fourum in the Town Hall, 2pm on Sunday afternoon. Admission FREE but we never mind a donation...
The Leeds Waits are the official town musicians of Leeds, and were re-established by Alan Radford in 1983, receiving official recognition by Leeds City Council a few years later. The original Leeds Waits existed from at least as early as 1530-31 until they were disbanded in 1835.
The Waits perform for the Lord Mayor and Corporation, also at stately homes and heritage events around the region, and for organisations such as English Heritage and The National Trust. The Waits have performed on radio and television, and also have thirty years experience of playing for historical dance groups, initially Capriol Historical Dance Group of Oldham and more recently White Rose Early Dance of Huddersfield. They play authentic music on authentic instruments, always performing in appropriate historical dress, and are, as in the old days, available for hire for public and private events.
The Leeds Waits were due to play on Sunday but were unfortunately prevented by illness.
Redcar Sword Dancers are a long established longsword team who perform traditional English longsword dances from the North East of England. Although chiefly known for their revival of the Greatham dance and the associated mummers play, they perform Eston and California and other dances from the North East corner of Yorkshire.
Redcar Sword are coming to MayFest on Sunday May 1, to join with the Richmond on Swale Morris Men dancing in the Market Place, in the Castle and at The Station.