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Welcome to the website for IVFDF 2018 in Sheffield. Whether you’ve stumbled onto this page by accident or are an IVFDF veteran, this is the place to find information about IVFDF itself, Sheffield Ceilidh Society, our mascot, Rustle, and some FAQs.


IVFDF stands for Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival. It’s been running since 1951 and is the country’s longest continuously running folk festival. Run by a different university folk society in the UK every year, recent festivals have been at Cambridge, Warwick, Exeter, Edinburgh, Sheffield (again!), Aberdeen, Bristol, and Durham universities. Although its audience is largely students, this isn’t exclusively a student festival, with some people having been attending for decades! The basic formula of workshops and evening dances provides a relentlessly fun weekend of just about everything you could think of, from ceilidh and contra to fandango and French tunes.

For more information and history of IVFDF, including previous years’ events, you can visit their website.

Sheffield and the Ceilidh Society

Sheffield is busting at the seams with folk music and dance, with numerous sessions and singarounds, several dance teams of one stripe or another, and regular ceilidhs, contras, bals, and Playford. Rustle (our mascot), ably assisted by members of CeilidhSoc, has run several successful IVFDFs in the past dating back to 1953, with the most recent occasions being 2008 and 2013, and we’re really excited to bring the festival back to Sheffield again! The society is even older than IVFDF, running since 1944 and brings regular ceilidhs and music sessions to Sheffield students and dancers during term time.

Rustle and Ruslet

Rustle is our mascot, and not-so-secretly in charge of everything, the CeilidhSoc and IVFDF committees functioning as his minions to make everything happen. Sometime in 1996, CeilidhSoc decided that the time had come for a Ceilidh Monster, and after a competition and long design process, Rustle was completed at the back of the bus coming back from Cambridge, where IVFDF was held in 1997. His name came from his original stuffing of plastic bags, when it was realised there wasn’t enough actual stuffing. When not helping out at CeilidhSoc Ceilidhs, either by keeping the dancing going or assisting behind the desk, he enjoys listening to music and fulfilling his love of kittens with the help of the internet. His musical tastes include Justin Bieber, The Albion Band, and Megadeth, and he is particularly partial to cat vs. cucumber videos.

Ruslet was born several years later, made by Annadel as a companion and assistant to Rustle. He was at our last IVFDF in 2013, assisting Rustle and the organising committee in running the festival. Between them, Rustle and Ruslet have ensured our smooth running as a society ever since, and both can be found around our dances.

Rustle’s 21st birthday falls around IVFDF this year, and our Friday night ceilidh, with some special guests from his past, will also serve as his birthday party. We’re not entirely sure who’s more excited about this (us or him!), but it promises to be a fantastic evening worthy of everyone’s favourite green and purple fluffy Ceilidh Monster.


I’ve never been to IVFDF before, help!

Excellent, we love having new people! We’re really excited that people want to come who haven’t been before, and we really hope you have an amazing time and want to come back. Lots of people have come back year after year and (in some cases) decade after decade, and we all have to start somewhere.

Do I need to know anything about how to dance?

Not necessarily, although it does help. Lots of people do come with some knowledge, but that means that those with less experience will have lots of people around to gently guide, help, and encourage them. Most of our dances are called (ceilidh, contra, and Scottish), so you’ll be given instructions before each dance during the event, and it doesn’t take long to get the basic vocabulary covered. There will be loads of workshops to learn whatever it is you want to know, including the basics of the various dance styles happening throughout the weekend, as well as many others. If you want to come along, have fun, and dance, you already have all you need to be here, and we’ll be delighted to have you.

Do I need to bring a partner?

No – again, there’ll be loads of people around, all keen to dance with other people, newbies or veterans. You don’t have to dance with everyone, and you always, always have the right to (politely) say no if someone asks you. There will be as many opportunities to dance with people as you want there to be, and most people will be more than happy to be asked to dance, so don’t be shy!

I’m not a student, can I still come?

Absolutely. Although IVFDF is essentially a student festival, and is run by student societies, that doesn’t mean for a moment that non-students aren’t welcome. We have people who aren’t yet at University in the IVFDF community, plenty who didn’t stop coming after they left, and a fair few who don’t, won’t, or didn’t go to University at all. It’s a dance festival, first and foremost, and education is not a criterion for attendance!

Where is everything happening?

Most events are happening within or very close to the Sheffield Students’ Union, with sleeping venues nearby. We’re still in the process of confirming everything, but the second we know the full details, we’ll be posting them on the Locations page.

How accessible will the venues/events be?

We are working really hard to make sure that this year’s IVFDF is accessible to anyone who wants to come wherever possible. This includes but is not limited to level access to venues, quiet spaces for those who need or want to rest during the day, large print materials where required, and any other help we can reasonably offer. All of this information will (eventually) be available on the Accessibility page, but if we’ve missed anything off, please let us know and we’ll do our best to resolve it.

Who did your logo, it’s awesome!

Isn’t it just! We ran a competition within the Ceilidh Society back in late 2016, and this was the winning entry. It was designed by Agata Grettka, and then souped up a bit by our publicity coordinator, Marina, into its current form. We think it’s absolutely amazing, and we’re so pleased to have it adorning our publicity and website.

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