New Singers

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New singers  are always welcome to join us – read more

Event Organisers  – want us to sing for you? – read more
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Notes For Event Organisers Inviting The SDFS to Perform

If you’re organising an event where you would like to invite the South Downs Folk Singers to sing, here are some guidance notes to help.

About Us

The “South Downs Folk Singers” – SDFS – began life following a Heritage Lottery Funded project, in partnership with the South Downs Society, about the heritage and songs of the South Downs. This finished in 2013 and the SDFS was formed to enable us to continue singing together, since when we have continued to add songs, harmonies and singers.

For those who do not know us, we must point out that the SDFS. are not a formal choir but a joyful group who sing traditional South Downs songs unaccompanied, as they may very well have been sung in the past in homes and pubs.

Since 2013 we have been invited to sing at various events in the South Downs area and a few beyond. In keeping with our own origins, the events we support are usually for charitable, educational or community based causes, and as far as possible we try and theme our choice of songs to reflect the event.

We do not charge a fee for our appearances, but if hospitality or gratuities ‘in kind’ are provided (e.g. refreshments, parking space, free entry to the event or complimentary tickets for partners) they are always appreciated.

On this website you can find examples of the songs we sing and reports on some of the events we’ve attended. Photos of our performances can also be found on our Facebook page.

Planning our Programme of Events

We try to plan our event programme as early as possible each year to secure dates in our singers’ diaries. Therefore, to enable us to approach our singers in good time we ask anyone inviting us to sing to give us as much notice of their event as possible, ideally two or three months. However, because we know this is not always possible, we don’t rule out accommodating events at shorter notice if we can – subject of course to enough singers being available. Our current bookings are listed on our Diary Page. We are sometimes able to support concurrent events, but again, this will depend upon the number of singers available for each one.

Our performance groups are not the same every time. When we receive an invitation we canvas all our singers for their support (this can take three to four weeks to complete) and those able to attend form a group for the event. This can vary from 30 or more singers at larger events, to around a dozen at smaller venues. We do not normally perform with smaller groups than this, unless specifically requested.

Hence our initial acceptance of an invitation is provisional until we are sure we have enough singers available to go ahead. We will let you know as soon as possible and certainly by any agreed deadline. (Since we began our public performances in 2013, when given sufficient notice we have rarely been short of singers and unable to confirm our attendance.)

When we commit to an event we would appreciate it if you’d mention us in your advertising or programme literature, and if we regularly support your events and you have a website, please consider adding us as a link.

What We Need to Know from You

Here’s a checklist for details to accompany your invitation please or, if not all are available, to follow or to negotiate as soon as possible thereafter.

  • The name of the event, also who is holding it and for what cause or purpose. If you have a website, please tell us where to find it.
  • The venue and address of the event.
  • The date or dates of the event. If your event is over two or more days please state the day you’d prefer us to attend.
  • The time or times you would like us to sing, and the length of set required. We usually perform sets of up to 30 minutes (40 minutes maximum) and we are happy to perform several sets with breaks between.
  • The SDFS performance setting: indoors or outdoors; if outdoors, what provision if bad weather.
  • Limits (maximum or minimum), if any, on the number of singers who should attend. We try to tailor the size of group attending to the size and nature of the performance setting and the requirements of the occasion.
  • What, if any, staging or amplification will be in situ? We usually sing without amplification and staging, but the range of our sound may be affected for example by noisy surroundings or by windy weather if outdoors.
  • Admission process for our Singers e.g. individual passes, a list of singers’ names to check in, or perhaps an SDFS member with your staff at the entrance to verify.
  • Parking: on-site or in the locality. Although we make efforts to car share or to use public transport when practical, some parking is usually needed.
  • Other facilities on site at the event e.g. refreshments, toilets.

If you’d like to send us an invitation, or if you need more information about us, or want to discuss arrangements in more detail – please contact our Main Events Organiser at:

For Your Information

Song Workshops with Emily Longhurst

Apart from her musical leadership of the South Downs Folk Singers, Emily Longhurst has developed a range of Tudor, Traditional Folk and Sea Shanty Song Workshops – the freemen’s songs of the ordinary people. (These workshops are supported by either grants or entry fees.)

She has researched and performed songs from all of these periods at dedicated heritage projects, museums and festivals, and she has had many opportunities to teach them to groups of adults, families and children.

Any inquiries about “Emily’s Song Workshops” should be sent to the SDFS email: