A Short History of the Folk Ale

The Pig’s Ear Kentish Horse Folk Ale started in 2003 with a family celebration.

In 2003, Grant and Sue Rule celebrated their silver wedding anniversay; it was Grant’s 50th birthday; and their two daughters were 18 and 21 respectively. To mark these milestones, a giant party and barn dance was held in a marquee in the garden of the Kentish Horse pub at Markbeech, just outside Edenbridge in West Kent.

Since three of those celebrating comprised three-quarters of family folk group Pig’s Ear, many of the party-goers were musicians. Such a good time was had by all that the decision was made to make it an annual party, with the costs funded by ticket sales.

The Pig’s Ear Folk Ale has grown year by year as people tell their friends just what a fine little festival it is.

All ticket sales and camping fees go towards meeting the costs of running the festival. We keep prices as low as possible, but the fact of the matter is that if Folk Ale loses money, it cannot continue. The best things in life are not always free!

Pig’s Ear were introduced to the term “Ale”, meaning a festival, by Mark Lawson who ran a delightful little Folk Ale at the Red Lion, Badlesmere, for several years. We understand from Mark that it is a term traditionally used in Kent for a community celebration – such as May and harvest festivals.  It’s more widely used around England and beyond in the morris dancing community, where an ale is a private gathering where a number of Morris sides get together and perform dances for their own enjoyment rather than for an audience. Food is usually supplied, and sometimes this is a formal meal known as a feast or ale-feast.