Tolpuddle Festival cancelled
Although it will disappoint many, no one will be surprised that we have decided to cancel this year’s Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival. We particularly want to reassure the local community at this difficult time.
All bookings will be refunded.
We are planning some form of online event and will announce more on this soon. We are sorry for all the performers, contractors, suppliers, caterers, stall holders and volunteers and wish them well for this very difficult period. We hope to see you in 2021.
We shall find other ways to honour the memory of the Tolpuddle Martyrs and celebrate the role of trade unions which are working so hard right now to support and protect people.
Tolpuddle also represents the value of solidarity, of joining together for the common good, something we all need to see us through this crisis.
These are some frequently asked questions about the festival
If your question(s) is not answered, you can email [email protected] or visit our Facebook Group. Please note that in the run up to the Festival and especially over the weekend, we may not be able to answer your question in time.
What is the Tolpuddle Festival?
There has been an annual gathering to mark the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs since 1930s. It began as a Sunday afternoon event with wreaths laid on the grave of James Hammett, followed by a procession of banners and speeches. Nowadays it is a weekend-long, family-friendly festival, bursting with topical discussions and lectures from a wide variety of speakers, plenty of music to suit all tastes, food stalls and campaign groups, trade union activities, a delightful children's area, a programme of radical films in a vintage mobile cinema, comedy, drama, and much more! See link here
I don’t want to camp – is there anywhere to stay nearby?
Try the Dorset Tourist Office at https://www.visit-dorset.com/
During the festival weekend, attendees can bring their tents, campervans or trailer tents. You will need to buy the relevant campervan or camping tag in addition to your ticket. Please remember the festival is on a slope.
For more information on camping at the festival, download our Camping Guide here
How do I book a tent or campervan pass?
What are the opening/closing times of Festival camping site?
The festival site is open from 12 noon on the Friday of the Festival until 10 a.m. on the Monday after the festival (please note facilities will be limited on Sunday evening/Monday morning as campaign and catering stalls will start to be taken down the night before and in the morning).
Are the toilets replenished with toilet paper and hand sanisters?
Hot showers and toilets are in operation during the opening times of the campsite with toilets being pumped out every morning at approx. 0630-0700 hours.
There are three sets of toilets – the main cluster is located near the 'Martyrs' Marquee (main tent); some are positioned behind the Kid's Area; and the third set are opposite the Tolpuddle museum and cottages on the road lay-by.
Toilet paper and hand sanitiser will be up during the hours of 0800-2300 hours each day. There is also a disabled shower and toilets on site. If paper runs empty, please notify a volunteer or the information tents.
When do the toilets and showers get removed?
Toilets and showers will be removed from site on the Monday morning after the Festival weekend. As the festival will have ended on Sunday, we cannot guarantee facilities for the following day.
Are there chemical disposal facilities?
There are no facilities for chemical disposal for campervan toilets (or otherwise).
Can I park my vehicle next to my tent?
Vehicles are not allowed in the camping area at any time during the Festival, including during set up. Trailer tents can be set up in the camper-van area under the direction of the stewards.
Do you offer parking for blue badge holders?
We offer blue badge parking as close to the disabled toilet/shower facilities and main festival activities as possible. Parking charges still apply.
Are there camping facilities for people with disabilities?
We do our best to make the event as accessible as possible, including providing toilets and a disabled-access shower.
I’m bringing a campervan. Can I use my awning?
Campervans may have use of their awning, or alternatively, position a two-person tent (maximum) next to their campervan. You are not allowed both.
Can I bring a trailer tent?
Yes, these will be placed within the campervan area.
I want to camp with my friends. Can I save them a spot?
We do not allow spots to be saved or reserved. If you wish to camp together, please arrive together.
Can I have a BBQ or open fire?
We take the safety of our festival very seriously. There is a risk with any fire/open flame or BBQ that is located near combustible tents, dry hay and/or grass. Open fires are banned from the festival but we will allow the use of small, self-contained BBQs where possible. Please ensure these are kept off the ground as much as possible.
However, where the weather and ground is too dry and the fire services recommend a ban, our stewards and security team may ask you to stop using it. Please respect our team and the safety of the festival in these instances.
Camping equipment and tent hire
We do not stock or sell any camping equipment on site but if you turn up without anything, or something breaks, the nearest shop for all your camping needs is: Great Western Camping, 28 High East Street, Dorchester DT1 1HF Mon-Sat 9.am- 5.30 pm t: 01305 266800 E: [email protected]
We do not provide tents for hire or purchase.
Is there electricity on site for tents/trailer tents/campervans?
Electricity hook-up is not available for tents or campervans unless you require it for a CPAP machine or electric wheelchairs.
Please ensure when booking your campervan or tent pitches that you submit this request using the box "Other notes" on the order.
If you have forgotten to do this, please ensure you give at least one full week’s notice of electricity requirement by emailing [email protected]
Failure to do so means we cannot guarantee electricity will be available.
Are there fire extinguishers within the camping areas?
We take the risk of fire very seriously. Extinguishers are located at clearly marked 'Fire Points' throughout the festival site. In dry weather, grass can become a fire risk. Open fires are not permitted and it may become necessary to ban all barbecues if these pose a significant fire risk. We will do all we can to communicate with campers in advance of the festival. Flares, fireworks and open fires are banned.
Can I bring a caravan?
Caravans are not permitted on the festival site by the landowner. Please do not arrive in a caravan as you will be turned away.
Where is the nearest cash point?
There is no cash point in the village. The nearest is in Londis, High Street, Puddletown DT2 8RT – there may be a charge.
Cash-back is sometimes available on shopping or cash when the post office is open. Please look at their website for opening hours.
Are there camping facilities for disabled people?
Yes, we do our best to make the event as accessible as possible, including toilets and showers. We offer blue badge parking as close to the disabled toilet/shower facilities and main festival activities as possible.
Can I come with a personal carer or assistant?
If you cannot attend the festival without the support of a personal assistant, we will provide an additional entry pass at no extra cost. To apply for a personal assistance pass you will need to provide evidence to [email protected] of one of the following:
• Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
• Disability Living Allowance – care and/or mobility
• Deaf or blind registration
Any submitted documentation shall be securely held and subequently destroyed once we have issued the pass.
These policies do not apply to people with temporary impairments such as broken bones and pregnancy.
If there are ways you think we can assist, please contact us on [email protected]
Are dogs allowed at the Festival and on site?
Dogs are welcome but must be on a lead at all times. Please also ensure you clear up after your dog and dispose of waste correctly at the correct recycling station. Please do not leave plastic dog bags, or other ‘items’ behind.
For all information on our code of conduct, respect, disabled access and photography policies, please click here.
Is there a first-aid tent?
Friday – 1300-0000 , Saturday – 0900 - 0000 & Sunday – 0900-1800.
For all other times, please seek the help of a first aider by speaking to a member of our security team.
Is there a bar at the festival?
Workers Beer Company provide a bar at the festival. A refundable deposit scheme is in place where you are given a fresh cup each time – please ensure this is returned at the end of festival to ensure you receive your deposit back (helping to keep the festival green). Prices are reasonable and ales, beers, ciders, wines and soft drinks are available.
Hopefully in 2020 there will be a card machine in place for payments.
What foods do you sell at the Festival?
We cover a wide range of foods and cuisines at the Festival including vegan and gluten free. A full list of all our caterers along with menus and whether they can accept card payments will be added to the website.
Do the stalls accept card payments?
We are encouraging all our food and drink stalls to have the facility for festival goers to pay by card. As soon as all caterers are confirmed a list of caterers who accept cards will be listed on the website.
Can we bring our own food?
We have a great range of stalls selliing cold and hot food and drinks. You can of course bring your own food and drink.
As we are seeking to be as environmentally-friendly and plastic-free as possible, please consider what you bring and dispose of all rubbish and litter in the recycling bins across the site. Please also take all your belongings with you at the end of the festival.
Please help us to make the Tolpuddle Festival and Museum as sustainable as possible. We come together to celebrate the movement that freed the Tolpuddle Martyrs and to remember their sacrifice.
As a force for progressive change, we know the importance of tackling the causes of damaging climate change. Some of the things we are doing include:
- Shuttle buses (Friday arrivals - bookable in advance only) and Sunday (arrivals and departures) - payable on the bus, on the day. £3 each way);
- Inviting our visitors to car share;
- A ban on single-use plastic amongst caterers and stall holders;
- Caterers required to use bio-degradable cutlery, plates and cups;
- The bar operated by the Workers' Beer Company will be using re-useable cups via a refundable deposit scheme;
- Regular discussions on the green agenda and sustainability - join the debate!
- Recycling points are dispersed all over the site. Please use them.
- Our energy is green! For a number of years, our festival has been carbon-neutral when it comes to our electricity supply, thanks to the solar panels fitted a number of years ago.
To read our Greening the Festival document, click here.
Where is the nearest shop?
There is no local convenience store in Tolpuddle, the closest is: Londis, High Street, Puddletown, DT2 8RT Mon-Sat 7am-8pm Sunday 8am-8pm (check timings on their website).
Does the village have a local pub?
Tolpuddle has its own pub called The Martyrs Inn.
I’m a journalist, can I get a media pass?
Contact [email protected] before Friday of the festival and this will be passed on to our press officer.
Can I charge my phone?
Yes, £2 per charge at the Information Tent during opening hours
The museum is closed on the Sunday of the festival due to safety issues as the main stage is in operation. For more information about the museum click here.
Parking is available on Friday & Saturday in the main festival field – charges apply – see costs and how to book here.
Sunday parking will be situated away from site – charges apply see costs here. It will be about a 5-10 minute walk maximum and will be well sign posted. There will also be a drop off point for less abled people and this will only be a 5 minute walk to site. For campers if you leave your space in the main festival field on the Sunday there is no guarantee that your space will be there on return. You may be asked to go to the Sunday car park, however you will be allowed back after the road opens at 6 p.m. to pack up your tent.
Is there blue badge parking?
We offer blue badge parking as close to the disabled toilet/shower facilities at main festival field.
Is disabled parking free?
No, there is a charge for all vehicles parking on-site – see costs here.
How do I get to perform at the Festival?
We have lots of interest but check out the procedure here
Please don’t forget you will be camped and parked on a slope.
How much are the entrance wristbands, parking, tent and campervan spaces?
For prices and how to book please click here. Each year there will be an Early bird pricing for a limited time/number, full price and then on the gate price. Sunday entrance is always free no wristband is required. The only payment on the day is for vehicle parking.
How much does it cost to park a motorbike?
A donation will be taken at the entrance gates.
Is there a booking fee?
Yes, for 2020 the booking fee will be £3.00
Can I book by phone?
This takes up a lot of admin time, however if you do not have access to the internet then we can take orders for wristbands, vehicle passes, tent or campervan tags, gazebos, radical history school places on 01305 848237 Tuesday-Sunday. The booking fee will still be charged. Closing date will always be seven days before the start of the festival.
Am I able to get a refund?
For entrance wristbands, vehicle passes, tent and campervan passes you can cancel by 30 June each year, however a £5 admin fee will be charged.
When is the closing date for online orders?
Ticket sales will close seven days before the start of the festival (Friday-Sunday) as there will be no time for us to post tickets to you in time for the festival. After this date, tickets and passes can be bought by cash on the gate when you arrive. Entrance tickets and other costs will be higher the gates. Please note there is no guarantee there will be space left for tents or campervans.
I’ve ordered my ticket(s) but they haven’t arrived yet?
If you still haven’t received your ticket(s) please email [email protected] with:
- The name you ordered under
- Order number
- Post code
- Date of purchase Number and type of tickets purchased
- On rare occasions, we may ask for a proof of purchase.
Why don’t you have price concessions?
The Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival couldn't be run without the support of our generous donors and supporters, including the TUC and unions who subsidise costs, and our volunteers who give up their time to help out. The prices we therefore charge are reasonable for the long weekend festival and series of events on offer. We always try to keep prices as low as possible.
I want to know when somebody is speaking or performing?
All information about performers, speakers and other events can be found on our What's On pages of the website and select day or by theme. You can also purchase a paper programme at the Festival for £1 from the Information Tents
What time is the road closed?
The main road in and out of the village will be closed from 1pm – 6pm on the Sunday of the festival to allow for the safe passage of the procession going through the village. No vehicles will be able to enter the village during these times. Entry and exit into the Village/TUC Sunday car park will also not be permitted during these times. However, those parked in the main festival site car park will be able to leave in a easterly direction only.
Security is on site from the open of the festival to close of festival.
Many thanks to all our sponsors and donors without whom this festival wouldn’t survive. Sponsors/donors will be announced shortly.
How easy is it to get a taxi?
If you decide to stay away from site please ensure you look into taxi's times/costs/availability to/from the festival site in advance of the festival as this is a rural area.
Is there a local public bus service?
Damory bus No. 187 from Dorchester to Tolpuddle during week days only.
We run our own shuttle bus on Friday evening and Sunday - see details here.
Sunday coaches only
We list all coaches which we are aware of who is attending the festival for the Sunday only. To see a full list click here.
If you wish to book a campaigning, commercial or catering stall pitch at the festival please see here for terms, conditions and prices. Closing date end of March.
The Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival relies on a fantastic team of volunteers. They do lots of different jobs from helping with the stages, checking on the toilets and showers, stewarding the car park and the march and lots more. Without the team the festival wouldn’t be such a success. For those who are prepared to muck-in and do a shift each day we offer free admission, camping or campervan tag, crew t-shirt and food/drink vouchers. Stewards are expected to be on site from early on the Friday of the festival until the end of the festival on Sunday. There are a range of roles you can help us out with, including:
- Car Parking/campsite
- Festival gates
- Litter picking/ recycling
- Marquee, stalls and fringe tents
- General help
- Procession and wreath-laying
- Moving tables and equipment
- Bucket collections
- Tent/campervan counter, etc.
For more information or to apply to be a volunteer please click here (closing date 30 April)