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Friday, 4 June 2010

Events: Wessex Folk Festival, Weymouth - 4th - 6th June 2010

This will be the fifth year that this free folk music festival has taken place against the glorious backdrop of Weymouth Old Harbour and Hope Square. 

With concerts from Vin Garbutt and The Yetties and bands including The Morris Boys, Mad Dog McCrae, The Dolmen, 'local boy made good' James Findlay (current BBC young Folk Musician of the Year), No Fixed Abode, Wyndwitch, Dyer Cumming's, Chiswell Hot (featuring Simon Swarbrick), Stomping Dave Allen, Finnian McGurk and Ledpin among others. As ever, most events are free but please give generously when you see the collecting buckets For details and updates of performances visit: www.wessexfolkfestival.co.uk . As well as music, Folk Dancers and Morris Dancers will be performing throughout the town, From traditional whites with bells to weird and wonderful, the highly dramatic and colourful!  


Below: Highlights of last years festivals

Here are the dance teams that will be performing at the festival:-

Beetlecrushers is a clog and step dance group from Somerset. We have been established for over 25 years performing at folk festivals in the UK and abroad. They perform clog routines from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, with stepping or step dances from the Isle of Man, Quebec and Cape Breton. You won’t see more nimble footwork all day.

Boghoppers & Bushbeaters
Boghoppers & Bushbeaters origins go back to 1985, when as Naked Man Morris, they occasionally danced around the tree in the New Forest after which we were named. After the winds of the late 1980s and 1990s had reduced it to a Naked Man stump, they had a makeover in name and kit. Now they can now be seen in distinctive purple and red dancing North West Morris at most local festivals, and the occasional pub. A Dorset side here in Weymouth.

Borderline Morris
Coming soon to a car park near you! Redefining what it means to be a morris tart, Borderline Morris defy death, convention, speed cameras and basic physics with their unique, exciting performances. Border morris with a difference - if Cromwell was still around he'd definitely ban it! Borderline was created in late 2007 using only three pipe cleaners, a plastic bottle and some old buttons.

Cogs and Wheels
Cogs & Wheels Ladies Morris were formed in 1995 and take their inspiration from the surrounding Dartmoor landscape. The costumes reflect the hues of the moor and their 'Beldames' style of dancing is quite distinctive. They perform a wide variety of dances from several traditions— mostly Cotswold, with some Border and some their own. A great example of ongoing tradition.

Dr Turberville's
Dr Turberville's Morris was founded in 1982 by a group of enthusiasts who recognised a gap in Crewkerne's cultural heritage. Current kit is white trainers, socks, trousers and shirts with green and maroon crossed baldrics and green handkerchiefs. Wayford is the side's own tradition, created from fragmentary evidence in manuscripts found in a chest in the 16th century attics of a newer house.  Dr T also dance some other Cotswold dances and some Border – another fine example of the Morris moving on.

Festus Derriman
You can’t get more local than this Weymouth team, supporting the Festival again with their colourful swirl of old and new dances. Look for their splendid varied selection of Cotswold Morris performances.

Fleur De Lys
Fleur De Lys are a women's side from Godalming, Surrey. Their dances originate from several parts of England. Some are traditional and some are written by members of the side. Stave dances are based on the processional steps performed by the village friendly societies and they use several styles from the Cotswold area. They also perform some lively dances in the style of Border Morris from Herefordshire and Shropshire. FDL have also devised their own Farncombe tradition (partly due to the dearth of traditional material collected from this region).

Frome Valley Morris
Frome Valley Morris have been dancing Cotswold Morris for over 30 years in South and West Dorset, France, Germany etc, bringing their own interpretations of dance traditions from the South Midlands, including their own tunes and dances, all solidly within the wonderful spectacle that is Morris.

Heather and Gorse Clog Dancers
Founded in 1984, Heather and Gorse Clog Dancers are a ladies only dancing side (but with male musicians!) based in Devon. They dance mainly North West Morris dances with the occasional Cotswold dance thrown in. The main aim is to enjoy themselves, but they also hope to provide entertainment for others and they certainly succeed!

Hobos Morris
Hobos Morris from Poole perform Border style dances, mostly made up by themselves, often to cracking tunes written by members of the side. This makes for inventive lively action with super spirited musical accompaniment – or should that be the other way round. Don’t miss them.

Mayflower Morris
Mayflower Morris is a team of women dancers, based in Ash, on the Surrey Hampshire borders, specialising in North West Morris dancing. The team first danced out in April 1978 and have since performed all over England and Europe.

No Mean FeetNo Mean Feet are a Somerset/Dorset group, together since 1992, performing a lively and exciting form of American folk dance, Appalachian Dancing Steps. English, Irish and Scottish settlers took their own styles of folk dancing to the New World, eventually merging all together with African and Native American steps and rhythms.  The resulting dance form survived in the isolated area of the Appalachian Mountains, and has re-emerged over the past 20-30 years as a popular form of folk dance, even here in the UK!  No Mean Feet, using tap shoes to emphasise the percussive element of Appalachian dance, and wearing brightly coloured authentic costumes, maintain a traditional style of performance:  The Shoestring Band provides us with “Old Time” live music, and individual freestyling is interspersed with precision team routines. 

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris was formed in 1977 in honour of Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee. Our philosophy is to keep the social tradition and spirit of Morris dancing alive, so the dances are enjoyable for all and a simple vibrant celebration of life.

Rag Morris
Rag Morris has acquired its own inimitable Bristolian style over the last twenty five years - energetic, colourful, comic, a bit 'off-the-wall', certainly never boring and very rarely normal. With brilliantly coloured rag shirts and bells their repertoire comes from the dances of the Cotswold Hills and the wild Welsh Borders, and we dance with sticks, hankies, bare hands and plastic chickens, to the accompaniment of melodeons, accordions, whistles, drums and strohviols.

Red Stags
Red Stags Morris was formed in 1968 when a university student asked his chemistry lecturer if he would teach him the Morris. The response was, "Find me six people and I will teach you." The rest, as they say, is history - over 40 years of it! Currently they dance our own style of Border Morris with many of the dances researched, remembered or recreated by members of the side. Leading up to Christmas, they also perform a mummers' play based loosely on those collected from Hampshire. Their dancing has taken them all over the UK, Europe and to the USA for folk festivals, fêtes, weddings, birthdays, workshops and other events. Horace, Their red stag of over 35 years of age, sometimes comes out with them. He is shy and fragile but mischievous, based on the original university crest before the dolphin logo was dreamed up - keep a look out for him.

Sarum Morris
Sarum Morris is a mixed Cotswold Morris side comprising men and women dancers and musicians. The dances they perform are from the Cotswold villages of Bampton, in Oxfordshire, Ilmington in Warwickshire and Oddington in Gloucestershire, as performed and collected over 100 years ago.  Watch and listen for the slightly slower than usual dance speed.

Somerset Morris
Somerset Morris perform Cotswold Morris dances which come from the villages of Ducklington (Oxon), Kirtlington (Oxon) and Ilmington (Worcs). These dances are characterised by the use of sticks or handkerchiefs and require considerable physical dexterity. They also perform a set of unusual dances which originate from the Friendly Societies based in villages during the 19th century. The information on the dances was discovered in society minute books. Don’t miss this.

South Dorset Caledonian Society
The South Dorset Caledonian Society has been in existence for over fifty years.  It promotes traditional Scottish interests and entertainment, holding social events, dances, and celebrating occasions such as Burns Night and St Andrew’s Day.  Within the Society the art of Scottish Country Dancing is practised regularly, and the demonstration group appearing at the Festival supports functions throughout the year in aid of charity.

Stampede Appalachian Dance Band is based in the Weymouth/Dorchester area and perform locally for charity.   Although the main focus is upon dancing, songs and tunes have become an increasingly important part of the group's performance.

Sweet Coppin Clog Dance Team
Sweet Coppin are based in Taunton and take their name from an exquisite cider apple, with the costume colours representing the reds and greens of the orchards. The repertoire includes clog stepping, North-West team dances and a collection called "Soft Shoe Dances". Clear and sweet to watch.

Sweet Rapper
Rapper dancing began in the coal mining villages of Northern England, probably in the 1800's. It's origins are unclear but it is thought that the short, flexible two handled swords (RAPPERS) used are derived from mining tools used to scrape sweat and coal dust from the pit ponies. Dances are performed by 5 people who hold a rapper in each hand forming an unbroken chain. They perform intricate patterns by interweaving so that the rappers intertwine and then resolve.
Sweet rapper were formed in October 2004 so this is their fourth season dancing out. They come from as far apart as Dorchester, Salisbury and Poole and practice in the Fordingbridge area.

Treacle Eater Clog
Treacle Eater Clog is a North West Morris dancing team, based in Yeovil. Our dances have their roots in the industrial North West of England - hence 'North West' Morris. As a reminder of this history, the dancers all wear red clogs with bells. One of the strongest elements of the NW tradition was having one's own dances. Treacle Eater have followed this and now only perform dances written by current and former members of the team.

Victory Morris

Victory Morris was formed in 1976 by an ex-member of Cup Hill Morris. It has always danced Cotswold morris only. 10 members danced out in the Summer of the first year. Membership rose to a peak of about 35 around 1983 but has fallen in recent years to about 20 die-hard enthusiasts. In April 1997 the side enjoyed a highly successful trip to China. And then in August 1998 to Ireland (Donegal mainly).

Wessex Morris Men
Wessex Morris Men were founded in 1957 by a group of young men (including the present Foreman, Don Byfleet) out of The White Horse Morris Men. The side is an all male side, dancing mainly in the Cotswold tradition. The side is an active member of the Morris Ring. They dance out, mainly in the late spring and summer months, around West Dorset and nearby. During summer they dance every Monday evening. Over the years, Wessex Morris Men have become associated with Cerne Abbas, in Dorset, and can be seen dancing on the old maypole site above the Giant's head at sunrise on May Day each year.

West Somerset Morris Men
This team Believe in having FUN and what better than to dance or play for Cotswold Morris outside pubs, at festivals, in village and town streets in England or other countries. This team do it well and are excellent representatives of the art.

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