Media Release: UK’s longest-running folk festival returns to Edinburgh

IVFDF 2013 photo - from New Scotland

Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival (IVFDF) 2014: February 28th – March 2nd 2014

THE Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival is the UK’s national student folk festival, and the country’s longest-running folk festival.

IVFDF has been held at a different university each year since the first one in Leeds in 1951.

On Friday February 28th until Sunday March 2nd, IVFDF 2014 will come back to Edinburgh.

IVFDF is a non-stop weekend based (fairly broadly) around traditional forms of music and dance. The festival is open to students and non-students, former students, never-been-a students, dancers, folkies, ceilidh monsters, beginners, regulars, anyone and everyone. The weekend holds a number of sessions, music and dancing, ceilidhs, workshops, dance displays and more.

The keyword is FESTIVAL: hundreds of people attending for three days and two nights of intense dancing, playing music and singing, until they are unbelievably exhausted; a non-stop weekend of music and dance from the British Isles and beyond. The festival will be based at the University of Edinburgh, around central campus. The festival is being organised by Members of Edinburgh University New Scotland Country Dance Society (EUNSCDS), with the support of the Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA).

Highlights of the weekend will include the following events:

On Friday 28th February:

  • Scottish Ceilidh with Norman Mackay’s Ceilidh Experience: Edinburgh-based sensation, the ceilidh band of choice for Rock stars, soap stars and famous politicians, they have gone on to perform at ceilidhs all over Scotland as well as making regular trips to England, Ireland and Europe. The Ceilidh Experience are renowned for their rock style & high energy performances and did, in June 2005 break the world record for the biggest ever Eightsome Reel when they played for 5000 dancers on Edinburgh’s Meadows!. Called by Neil Wignall and Xavier Oliver.
  • English Ceilidh with Climax Ceilidh Band: one of the top English ceilidh bands, playing the Ceilidh circuit and folk festivals in the UK and Europe. The driving rhythms of the accordion and guitar, the sweet sounds of the fiddle, the swift trill of the flute and the power of the pipes makes them a truly unforgettable experience!. Called by Chris Shaw.

On Saturday 1st March:

  • Display Mixed Ceilidh on Saturday afternoon with The Night Before: a lively three piece folk dance band, they enjoy playing tunes from an eclectic mix of backgrounds for ceilidh and contra dancing and will have you dancing to a different musical traditions.
  • Morris Tour: a chance to be amazed at different Morris and rapper traditions on the streets and pubs of Edinburgh.
  • Open Stage Concert: a showcase of the finest local young folk musician talents.
  • Scottish Country Dance with Iain MacPhail SCD Band: a Scottish Dance music referent, a life behind an accordion, described as the Wizard and a band who has played everywhere, including for the Queen. A friendly dance where all the dances will be called.
  • Contra with Vertical Expression: Vertical Expression are the UK’s most high-energy contra band, this is what happens when you take two English ceilidh musicians on fiddle and melodeon and put them with a guitar and double bass rhythm section with a love of bluegrass and gypsy jazz. Called by Rhodri Davies.
  • French Bal with Parasol: our guest Bal Folk band, all the way from France. A highly regarded and influential Bal Folk band, known by their smooth and delicate melodies and performance intensity make their first appearance in Scotland to spread the love.
  • French Bal with Angles: our homegrown Bal Folk band, expect original and quirky music for concerts and dancing drawing on the diverse influences of three pedigree players.
  • English Ceilidh with Climax Ceilidh Band: a second round to show the band’s full power. Called by Bob Morgan.
  • Scottish Ceilidh with Ceilidh Me Softly: be prepared to be ceilidh-ed sometimes not so softly by this local duo and their energy. Called by Jenny MacDonald.

All over the weekend, there will be workshops to discover or re-discover: Scottish Dancing, Contra, Morris, French Bal Folk, Blues Dance, Story Telling, etc.

On Sunday 2nd March:

More Workshops!

To finish off, there will be a:

  • Sunday afternoon Survivors’ Ceilidh with a live band, dances from all around the country and lots of tired dancers.

There is more! For up-to-date information about the festival in Edinburgh visit For general information on the festival and its history, visit


Weekend festival passes will be available to purchase online from the first week of December, costing £19 for unwaged and concession, or £29 for waged visitors. There is a £2 early bird discount available until mid January. Day, evening and event tickets are also available. More information is available at

More information

To find out more and to purchase tickets, visit:
Event location: University of Edinburgh, Central campus. Festival base: Pleasance, EH8 9TJ.

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Contact: Fiona Campbell
Phone: 0795 191 8366