Guest Blog Post: Sarah James (Director of The Contemporary Craft Festival)

The Contemporary Craft Festival is a very large and high quality contemporary craft fair and held on Mill Marsh Park, Bovey Tracey from June 10-12 on the edge of Dartmoor.

The Festival represents over 200 of the best contemporary craft companies from across the UK. Designed to have broad appeal, the Festival offers free children’s workshops, craft demonstrations, lectures, adult craft workshops, family entertainers, quality local food and live music.  The Contemporary Craft Festival is a non-profit making company originally established with Leader Plus Funding for Rural Regeneration. The Festival has grown from 2,500 to 10,000 visitors, becoming one of the most prestigious and highly acclaimed craft events in the UK. The aim of the Festival was to showcase the very best in British craft whilst bringing greater prosperity to Bovey Tracey. The town has become well known for its variety of craft based businesses

Here are my tips for the five top things to see and do at the Craft Festival:

1.The new Festival Pottery Showdown. Having been gripped with ‘throw down’ fever while watching the BBC 2 TV series – The Great Pottery Throw Down - the festival will be launching its very own version, ‘The Festival Pottery Showdown’. The winner of the programme, Matthew Wilcock, and his fellow finalists - Tom, Sally-Jo and Jim - will be special guest potters at the festival. You can meet Matt, Tom, Sally-Jo and Jim throughout the weekend.

2.The Craft Cinema is new this year, presenting a lively program of vintage and contemporary short films on craft and design. The cinema is hosted in a magnificent 1967 bus, originally commissioned as a mobile cinema by Tony Benn, then Minister of Technology, to travel the country showing films of the latest technical advances to the factory workers of Britain. Walk the red carpet and enjoy a genuine cinema experience in a gorgeous mobile cinema.

3.Watch the handmade wagon by Black Dog Carpentry, they produce beautifully made moving vehicles and are based on Dartmoor.

4.The Children’s Craft Tent is always a highlight. Craft education is at the heart of the Festival and I wanted children to enjoy their visit as well as learn a new skill which having lots of fun. The Craft Tent is a hive of inspiration.

5.Lastly, we have 200 makers from all across the country, that will take you most of the day to look around so there is plenty to see and do across the festival.

What else can people enjoy when visiting the Craft Festival?

Visitors can meet and watch makers demonstrate their considerable making skills.You can also take part in workshops throughout the weekend, learn a new skill or just revel in the therapy of a couple of hours to yourself, you can book the workshops online in advance, don’t hang about, they are selling fast. And the FOOD! We have great, award winning street food for a variety of tastes and I love sitting at the end of day to enjoy an ice cold G&T!

Why do you love the Contemporary Craft Festival?

There is never a dull moment! I love seeing talented makers selling their work and seeing their businesses thrive. We champion small but great British businesses and when they do well, I am happy. I love seeing the children (and grownups) enjoying the bawdy humour of The Punch & Judy and the concentration on their faces when they are weaving in the children’s craft tent. The event is a joy from beginning to end.

Why is the Festival so important to Bovey Tracey and South Devon?

The Festival celebrates the beauty of the town and brings lots of visitors to Bovey and South Devon. Craft is an integral part of the town and I’m very proud to be part of it. Many makers that are based on Dartmoor take part in the event and we have become an important economic event for their businesses.

Where can we find out more information about the Contemporary Craft Festival?

Full details can be found on


The Contemporary Craft Festival
The Contemporary Craft Fair

Set in idyllic surroundings on the edge of Dartmoor, The Contemporary Craft Festival is brimming with opportunities to meet and buy work directly from nearly 200 of your favourite or newly-found makers.



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