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!
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, please see our Festival Camping Guide
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 12.00 on the Friday of the Festival until 10.00 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. 06.30-07.00.
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 replenished during the hours of 08.00-23.00 each day. There is also a disabled shower and disabled toilet 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 from 10.00 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?
A chemical waste disposal unit is stored to the left of the entrance gate for campervan users to use.
Can I park my vehicle next to my tent or campervan?
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.
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 09.00 – 17.30 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. Spar, High Street, Puddletown DT2 8RT – are able to do cash-back 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 subsequently 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 – 13.00-24.00, Saturday – 09.00 – 24.00 & Sunday – 09.00-18.00.
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?
The Workers’ Beer Company will be using re-useable cups via a non-refundable deposit scheme. The cups can be used many times and can be recycled at the end of their life. A small charge will be added to the first drink bought. When you bring your cup back for another drink you will be given a fresh cup. Please ensure cups are returned at the end of the festival.
Prices are reasonable and ales, beers, ciders, wines, spirits, prosecco and soft drinks are available.
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.
Can we bring our own food?
We have a great range of stalls selling 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 – Sunday (arrivals and departures) – bookable in advance only;
- 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 ;
- Regular discussions on the green agenda and sustainability
- 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: Spar, High Street, Puddletown, DT2 8RT (check timings on their website).
Does the village have a local pub?
Hopefully the Martyrs Inn will be open by the end of June 2023.
I’m a journalist, can I get a media pass?
Contact [email protected] the Monday before the festival and this will be passed on to our press officer.
Chargers are not available on the Festival site. You are advised to bring a backup power pack or other provisions to ensure you can charge your phone. It can also help to turn off data while not actively using your phone, in order to conserve the power your phone might lose by searching for signal in the field.
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.
Your vehicle pass covers you for the whole weekend Friday – Sunday. For those only attending on the Sunday where entry to the festival site is free of charge, £15 for parking makes the Sunday an extremely good price for the day’s events and performances – to book your parking click here
Parking is available on Friday & Saturday in the Bottom Main Festival field for campers, stalls holders, blue badge holders and day attendees. However if you leave the bottom festival field car park you may not be able to get back into the bottom field if full and you will be directed up to the top field car parl just of Central Farm Lane.
Sunday parking will be situated away from site. 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.
Top field car park (just off Central Farm Lane) is the main car park for SUNDAY ONLY. Access into the car park is from 08.30 up until 13.45 and exit is once the procession has cleared from the road which is usually approx 16.00, however you will only be able to turn left at the bottom of Central Farm Lane or straight across to Southover.
Is there blue badge parking?
We offer blue badge parking as close to the disabled toilet/shower facilities at bottom 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. Sunday entrance is 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 2023 the booking fee will be £4.00
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.
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?
As we have gone over to e-ticketing you can purchase your wristbands, vehicle passes, tent, campervan tags right up until the day (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?
Your tickets will be e-ticketing for 2023 and tickets will automatically go to your email address which you used when ordering. You will need to show your e-ticket/QR code at the check in desk on arrival and this will be exchanged for what you have ordered. If you haven’t received your eticket(s) please email [email protected] with:
- The name you ordered under
- Date you ordered
- Email address you used
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.
Where can I find the festival poster?
For 2023, you can download a copy here.
What time is the road closed?
The main road in and out of the village will be closed from 13.00 – 18.00 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.
Exits from car parks: the bottom main festival field you will be able to exit towards Dorchester during the road closure hours and the Top field Car Park (Sunday only) you will be able to exit once the procession has cleared from the road which is usually approx 16.00, however you will only be able to turn left at the bottom of Central Farm Lane or straight across to Southover. GMB car park you will not have exit until 18.00.
Security is on site from the open of the festival to close of festival.
In the unlikely event that the site needs to be evacuated, we will follow this protocol: Emergency evacution procedure
Many thanks to all our sponsors and donors without whom this festival wouldn’t survive. Sponsors/donors will be announced shortly.
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.
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.
Sunday Shuttle Buses
We run our own shuttle bus on 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.
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
- 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).