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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Events: Wessex Folk Festival, Weymouth 1st - 3rd June 2012

This will be the seventh year that this free folk music festival has taken place against the glorious backdrop of Weymouth Old Harbour and Hope Square.Offering two days of live entertainment on two stages, Ceilidh in the Square, Morris dancers, Sessions and Workshops.

With concerts from Sarah McQuaid, Adam Hurt from the USA, Dorset’s own Stompin’ Dave Allen and the Buffalo Gal’s Kate Lissauer and bands including, The Morris Boys, Jim Reynolds, State of Undress, The Frisbys, Folklaw, Galley Beggar, Hot Potatoes, Los Salvadores, Finian McGurk, Paul Openshaw, The Galleons, Bataleurs, The Bow Legged Skeeters, Alan Kirkpatrick, The Unprepared Jug Band, Joanna Weston, The Darling Mundaring, 1/2 of Murphys, The Devil's Rejects, Wareham Whalers, Pressgang, Island Voices, No Fixed Abode, The Tree Fellahs, Two Peas, Big Al Whittle, Lazibyrd and 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.wessexfolk.co.uk .

Below: Highlights of the Wessex Folk Festival 2009  

Folk Dancing

As well as music, Folk Dancers and Morris Dancers will be performing between 10.30am - 4.00pm along Trinty Road by the harbour. From traditional whites with bells to weird and wonderful, the highly dramatic and colourful!

Here is a list of dance teams that will be performing at the festival:-

Anonymous Morris 
Morris Dancing at the Wessex Folk Festival
Anonymous Morris are an extremely energetic Border Morris side from Poole. The side was formed in 2010. Our squire is 24 and can perform a broom dance that most people consider to be physically impossible.

Dorset Buttons Rapper 
This men’s side from Wareham will be performing their own sword dances in various locations (mainly pubs) as suits them. Fast and furious intricate flexible swords. Look for white shirts, black breeched and red cummerbunds.

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.

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.

Minden Rose
Minden Rose is Alton's Garland Dance team, maintaining and developing traditional dances from England and beyond, and sharing this heritage with others. We dance in a variety of styles, in a costume based on Victorian farm workers, Minden Rose supports local events and travels further afield to take part in festivals and displays.

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.

Sidmouth Steppers 
Sidmouth Steppers Ladies North West Morris was formed in 1998 following the 45th Sidmouth International Folk Festival. Most of the dances that the Sidmouth Steppers perform originated in the North of England and were performed by mill workers at holiday festivals and in processions. Clogs are used for most of the dances although shoes are used for the less energetic numbers. Other accessories used in the dances are bobbins and perns from the spinning mills, decorated sticks, garlands and handkerchiefs.

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
West Somerset Morris Men were formed in 1965 and joined the Morris Ring in 1969. They are a small side with 8-10 dancers and 2-3 musicians usually turning out. They dance in the area approximately bounded by Bridgwater, Taunton, Dulverton and Lynmouth. Winter practice takes place at Halsway Manor – the National Centre for the Folk Arts. The kit consists of white shirt and socks with black breeches and shoes. Baldricks, tabards and ribbons are in purple, yellow and green to depict the heather, gorse and grass of Exmoor, the Brendons and the Quantocks

Whitethorn Morris
Whitethorn Morris are a ladies north west morris side from Harrow. The side was formed in 1977 and dance in characteristic red, white and blue kits. The dances are predominantly from Lancashire and Cheshire and the north west of England, performed in the style of north west London in inimitable Whitethorn fashion.
Whitethorn has performed at many festivals countrywide, including Sidmouth, Wimborne, Whitby, Chippenham, and Sheringham Festivals, and at Europeade in Quimper, Brittany and Prague Folklore Days in the Czech Republic.

New Book: Songs from the Magical Tradition by Jerry Bird

Songs from
The Magical Tradition
By Jerry Bird

Click Here
'Songs from the Magical Tradition', published by Green Magic Publications, makes no assertions other than the fact that there is a very strong element of supernatural magic contained within a substantial part of the British folk song tradition.

Ancient tunes and lyrics that transcend time have a meaning and significance that has hardly been guessed at till now. Author, folk musician and editor of 'Merry Meet Magazine',  Jerry Bird shows us the history and interpretation of the lovely old music that we all share.

Songs from the Magical Tradition presents an anthology of songs, along with extensive notes on their historical context, imagery, and possible origins. No firm conclusions are drawn, and the reader is left to decide for themselves how relevant the songs might be in the wider contexts of paganism and magic.

A book signing and launch of Jerry's new book will take place this Saturday, 2nd June 2012 from 1.00pm til 4.00pm at Imagine Books, 23 St Alban Street Weymouth DT4 8BZ

For more details visit  www.imaginebookshops.com

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

News Clipping: Cerne Abbas Giant is biggest Olympic torchbearer

Cerne Abbas Giant
is biggest Olympic torchbearer
Forget Will.I.Am, Zara Phillips and even chubby Chris Moyles — the biggest torchbearer of them all is the Cerne Abbas Giant.  Schoolchildren lit up the famous landmark yesterday by banding together to make it look like the hill figure was carrying the Olympic flame.

 READ MORE - Source: The Sun Tuesday, 29th May 2012

Thursday, 24 May 2012

News Clipping: Bridport's May Fair under threat

Bridport May Fair 2nd May 2005
The future of Bridport’s May Fair may be in doubt unless more people step forward to inject a new lease of life into the event. This year’s fair, held on the Millennium Green at Mountfield, saw former West Dorset MP Sir James Spicer crown the Queen of the May, traditional maypole dancing and special Jubilee competitions.

READ MORE - Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News

Above: May Pole Dancing at Bridport Mountfield Millennium Green 2005 performed by Bernard Gale's Bridport School of Dancing.

Dorset Folklorist, John Symonds Udal wrote in his book 'Dorsetshire Folklore' published in 1922 about Bridport's traditional May Day customs:
Flower Service: Bridport. — The town of Bridport in West Dorset has for many years been prominent in keeping up an old flower custom on May Sunday—the first Sunday in May. The Bridport News in May, 1885, gave an interesting account of the ceremony, where on “May Sunday " the children, to the number of 312, assembled at the schools in Gundry Lane, and having been duly marshalled in procession, marched to the parish church, carrying flowers. They came up South Street as far as the old castle, and going down the east side of the street crossed again by the rectory, and entered the church by the west door, occupying seats in the nave, which were given up to them for the occasion by the parishioners who generally used them. The children were accompanied by their superintendent and also by their teachers. Divine service followed, and in the afternoon the usual children's service was held. The bells were rung spiritedly at intervals during the day and a flag was hoisted, as usual, on the church tower. 
Again, in May, 1890, the Bridport News recorded that, in accordance with the usual custom, the first Sunday in May was kept by the scholars of the Bridport Parish Church Sunday Schools by the usual special and joyous services. Shortly after 7 a.m. the bells of the parish church (St. Mary's) pealed forth to herald in the school anniversary, and at 8 o'clock there was a full choral celebration of the Holy Communion. In his sermon the Rector, the Rev. E. J. B. Henslowe, alluded to the origin of May Sunday celebrations in Bridport, and to the fact that it was an institution not celebrated to his knowledge in any other town, but was peculiar to Bridport. He said that years ago there was no proper school, but classes were held by different people in their own houses'; these classes used to meet once a year, and have a procession and go to church. 
In the afternoon the usual flower service was held.  The scholars formed in procession and again marched to the church. The rector officiated.  The service commenced with a hymn, and then the scholars passed up to the chancel steps and presented their floral offerings.   While another hymn was being sung flowers were presented by members of the congregation. The service was then proceeded with.   The flowers were afterwards packed and forwarded to London for some of the hospitals. Again, in May, 1905, the Bridport News contributed a long leading article on the subject which it styled " May Sunday : A Link with the Past".    It dealt fully with the origin of the present flower-custom in Bridport, and referred to the institution of Sunday Schools in Bridport in connexion with St. Mary's Church in 1788.   At that time the procession formed almost a complete “perambulation” of the parish boundaries, and many visitors would come in from the country “to see the children walk”.   The writer of the article thinks that this " walking " may have been but a survival of a much older custom — that of “beating the bounds " — which prevailed in many parishes at Rogation-tide ;   and that “May Sunday” occurring near the same time of the year the one custom had at the end of the eighteenth century merged into the other.    As we have seen, the custom of “walking” still continues, but only to a very limited extent."

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Events: The Chalk Legend: When Viking Skeletons were unearthed on the Weymouth relied road

Join over 300 musicians, singers, actors, dancers and one JCB digger for the finale of the BSO's awe-inspiring event to mark the London 2012 Olympic and Paralymic Games.

Join the BSO's new music ensemble Kokoro, Dorset Youth Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Chorus & Youth Chorus, Youth Singers from seven Dorset schools, actors, dancers, two soloists, one conductor and a JCB digger for the finale of the BSO's awe-inspiring event to mark the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Weymouth and Portland.

Over a thousand years ago, a group of young Vikings were cruelly executed on the Ridgeway above Weymouth - far from home, alone in a foreign land, for a reason that will never be known. The Chalk Legend tells the story of these Vikings through an amazing 75 minute interactive performance composed by award-winning composer Stephen McNeff. Spanning the 10th to the 21st centuries, the dramatic show revals the forgotten world of Dorset told by the people who live there today.

Join them in the transformed and mystical arena at the National Sailing Academy in Weymouth and Portland just days before the London 2012 Organising Committee arrive and Portland becomes the focus of world-wide attention during the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. The Chalk Legend has been awared LOCOG's Inspire Mark and is an official Cultural Olympic 'Trailblazing' event.

For a preview of what awaits, watch the video below featuring the world-premiere of a selection of The Chalk Legend music performed by the Dorset Youth Orchestra and a chorus of Dorset school children.
  • Friday 18 May : 8.00pm
For more information and to book tickets, click here.
  • Saturday 19 May : 5.00pm
For more information and to book tickets, click here.
  • Saturday 19 May : 8.00pm
For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Events: Meet the Local Authors Day 12th May 2012 at Imagine Books, Weymouth

Click on Image
to Enlarge
Following last year's great success, Imagine Books will be holding another 'Meet the Local Authors Day' this Saturday 12th May between  12.00pm - 4.00pm
This is an informal event, in Imagine Books shop, St Alban Street, Weymouth. Several of your favourite Local Authors will be here, with their books, so that you can have a chat with them, ask questions, and if you like, buy signed copies of their books. They will all be here at the same time, creating a pleasant social atmosphere.

The following Authors will be attending:
Julie Musk: Lesser Known Weymouth
In this book, Julie sets out to inform locals and visitors about what treasures are right on our doorsteps, but slightly hidden away. There are walks with questions at the back, so you can test yourself on your newly found knowledge!

Maureen Attwooll: Weymouth and Portland, Then Meets Now
(and countless other Local History publications over the years)
A beautiful big glossy publication, which has already proved a favourite with locals and anyone interested in the history of Weymouth and Portland. Full of colour maps and photographs, this book makes a fabulous present - even better if you can get your copy signed on the day!

Carol Hunt: The Portland Chronicles
The Best-selling series of Children's Books, The Portland Sea Dragon, Enchantment of The Black Dog, and Portland Pirates, still enthral children of all ages (9-90). Perhaps Carol will let slip something about the fourth book in the series (not yet published!)

David MacPherson: Defenders of Mai-Dun
Based on real facts and places, this story bring to life the Roman invasion of Dorset in AD43, and the struggle with the Celts. It follows the fortunes of a young orphan boy called Conn, who lives on Mai-Dun (Maiden Castle). Ideal holiday or weekend reading - especially if you are going for a walk around Maiden Castle, the Iron Age Hill Fort just this side of Dorchester

Jerry Bird: Ancient Stones on Old Postcards
Local folk musician and ex-bookseller, Jerry Bird has picked up the pen to compile this fascinating book, showing old postcards depicting standing stones, stone circles, and the like. It shows that the interest in monoliths is by no means new, and also, how they were in the past - which may not necessarily be how they are now! In Landscapes of Memory, Jerry delves further into the Folk Lore surrounding such stone circles and 'magical' landscapes.

Sarah-Jane Forder, author of Kids' Dorset
Beautifully illustrated, this little book provides much-needed inspiration about where to go and what to see when you have children in tow.

Rod Barzilay: Author and Editor of Spaceship Away, the New Dan Dare Official Magazine
All the surviving artists and writers of the Original Dan Dare stories in the Eagle have contributed to this new version of Dan Dare, and have passed their magic on to the new writers and artists. Come along and be transported into space, while Rod explains everything there is to know about Dan Dare's space ships - complete with a model on the Marco Polo, and detailed deck plans, as well as original artwork. Give yourself plenty of time!

Gary Biltcliffe: The Spirit of Portland
Why is an old church so near a cliff edge? What are those symbols on the buildings? What is a Slinger? Do stone masons have anything to do with The Masons? What was Portland like in ancient times? Well - there you go - and there's more - lots, lots more!

Robin Daglish: Weymouth Dawn
These poems stretch along the beautiful Dorset coastline from Jurassic fossil to modern Olympics.There is history and humour, tragedy and war: all the things that poetry was made for.

More information about this event and more visit www.imaginebookshops.com

New DVD: Seasonal Customs of England - The West Country Part 2

Seasonal Customs of England
The West Country Part 2
Seasonal Customs of England is the home of many diverse customs and traditions. From the Spring rites of May Day - hobby 'oss'es and floral dancing and May queens crowned. To peculiar village rights to gather wood, to the fire festivals of autumn, when the flaming tar barrels are hoisted on broad shoulders and the Guy is burned on huge bonfires and to the Winter festivals of mummers and the wassail of orchards.

Now available from Newland Media on DVD - Seasonal Customs of England - The West Country Part 2
"The moment Wessex Morris Men rise to dance at dawn on May Day to the waking of Jack-in-the-Green at Ilfracombe and the frolics of the Hobby Horses at Padstow in Cornwall and Minehead in Somerset you will be swept along by this colourful pageant of fantastic West Country customs. Look out for the famous Helston Floral Dance, Abbotsbury Garland Day, the crowning of the Lustleigh May Queen and tap your toes to Maypole Dancing! Come Summer and towns are alive with unique fairs from Ale Tasting at Ashburton to the scramble for Hot Pennies at Honiton; while the end of harvest brings the mysterious Crying the Neck farming ritual. It's what makes England peculiar!"

For more information on how to purchase this DVD visit www.morrisdancersofengland.co.uk

Friday, 4 May 2012

News Clipping: The Ghost of Farmer Baker's Horse and Cart

Ghost of Thomas Baker
It was a damp, foggy night in November 1865 when a seven-year-girl and her parents heard the faint sounds of something approaching them as they walked along Murderers' Lane at Melbury Bubb.

"We heard the breathing of a horse, and then we saw it coming round the bend, pulling a cart," the girl recalled more than 80 years later. "The lantern lights were dim at first but presently we heard creaking wheels, the lights were brighter and the horse's breathing heavier. It was all so real and natural."

Read more: Source - Western Gazette Friday, May 04, 2012

Source: www.darkdorset.co.uk/murder_of_thomas_baker

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

News Clipping: Giant crab at Weymouth Sea Life Park

Monster Crabs
This gigantic crab has escaped the cook pot and will be showcased at Weymouth Sea Life Park. The Tasmanian King Crab is a delicacy in its native Australia and was destined for the dinner table until it was snapped up by a British aquarium worker. He agreed to buy three of the enormous crustaceans for £3,000 and had them flown to the UK.

Dorset Echo

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