The Inter-Varsity Folk Dance Festival, or IVFDF, started in 1951 and is currently the UKs longest running folk festival. Catering to between 600 - 900 people including workshop leaders, band members and participants the festival is run entirely by volunteers and is hosted by a different university each year spanning from Aberdeen in the north to Exeter in the south. In 2019, the festival is coming to Edinburgh from the 1st to 3rd of March and is being organised by a sub-committee of the Edinburgh University New Scotland Country Dance Society (EUNSCDS).
IVFDF aims to celebrate the diversity of folk dancing by promoting traditional dances from local and global communities. At IVFDF Edinburgh 2019 we hope to provide a mix of traditional and modern dance styles including Scottish Country, Highland dancing, English and Scottish Ceilidh, American Contra dancing, French Bal-folk dancing, swing and blues. To this effect we have a Scottish Ceilidh, Contra and Bal-folk organised for the friday evening, Scottish and English ceilidh, Scottish country, contra and bal-folk for the saturday evening. We will also be hosting a wide range of volunteer-led workshops, which in the past have included learning folk dances from Israel to Spain to Ireland.
The festival provides an excellent opportunity to expand the audience of these traditions to include new participants from any cultural or socio-economic backgrounds. Additionally, the festival gives opportunity for beginners and even non-dancers to learn something new in a friendly and accepting atmosphere. It provides a safe space for people to develop confidence in dance, music, organization and teaching skills.
We will be promoting this event to local students and local dance groups, bringing them into contact with the wider folk scene. We have found that IVFDF participants often become enthusiastic and committed members of the wider folk community, especially due to feeling empowered to teach, organise, and actively take responsibility in this volunteer-led festival.