IT’S always our very favourite event of the summer. Four days of magic, set on rolling hills in the Dorset countryside.

And Purbeck Valley Folk Festival 2019 delivered once again, despite lashing rain on the Friday that had us contemplating trading in the motorhome for an ark.

The range of stuff to do with the kids was brilliant – we didn’t manage to do everything despite being there from Thursday to Monday.

The Travelling Talesman was superb once again – Cliff and Emma kept children of all ages spellbound with their stories. Some were long tales with kings, dark fairies, foreign lands and dragons. At other times you’d have three or four tales within the hour allotted. Then late at night, after the headliners had whipped the crowd into a frenzy Cliff told tales for the grown-ups, having become a cult figure with his animated telling, long red hair flying as he holds forth.

Jonathan the Jester travelled from Salisbury with a bevy of circus helpers to teach people of all ages how to walk the tightrope, hang around on a piece of silk, ride a unicycle and much more, and a troupe of dreadlocked, dramatic-looking performers entranced us all, cracking whips that were ablaze and spinning fire around their heads after dark.

We made wishes on the wishing tree, threw a clay pot and there were chances to learn blacksmithing and stone masonry, all set to fabulous music from complete unknowns to well established folk acts on five different stages around the relatively compact site. All through the day and night we’d find ourselves jigging over to this stage or that, pulled in by the music.

Friday’s apocalyptic downpour saw just one stage shut, as it was the only stage not under cover, and everyone stoically carried on (well, it WAS Christmas jumper day after all). But it was a huge relief when the sun returned on Saturday, allowing us to enjoy the annual PVFF traditions of the kids’ and adults’ costume contests and the Beard-off, which saw even bigger numbers take part.

Kudos to organisers Catherine and Paul Burke, for they pulled off a stunning event, with a newborn and a toddler in tow, too. It really was an experience for all ages – one that took all our senses, unravelled the knots and smoothed them out. Considering the weather, that’s no mean achievement.