What a lovely, fantastic day! We first went to Chippenham Folk Festival last year and so enjoyed it, we hoped that we would be re-invited to this year’s festival. We were invited, along with 58 other dance sides, and a fair dose of wall to wall sunshine, to make this a superb 50th Anniversary for the CFF.
There was an incredible diversity of dance groups from the folk world, covering all the different Morris/Molly, Welsh and English dance, Appalachian step, and Belly Dance traditions, all of which dazzled the good people of Chippenham town who were there and stood to watch.
Dance sides that particularly impressed were Hammersmith with their light hearted, but excellent dance style, Martha Rodens and Shropshire Bedlams with the latter looking like giants, and Seven Champions and their sister side. Bells Angels Border looked good as did a host of other sides, too many to mention.
So where did Sweyns Ey Morris fit in with all of this? The answer is they fitted in extremely well and gave a very good account of themselves! We were only able to muster 7 dancers due to holidays, and a few family birthday celebrations. However this did not not diminish what we were able to do.
We performed at three dance spots, as well as the main procession where we did a Speed the Plough variant, dancing right into the Festival Field where we impressed one of the organisers who include our dancing in their Facebook film! We mainly did Adderbury, Bampton and Fieldtown dances with a smattering of Badby Banks of the Lea.
Lichfield Vandals of Hammerwich was done with the aid of a bod from the crowd who looked suspiciously like ex dancer Jonathan Baker!
There’s no need to describe all the individual dances done, as several of the photos that follow will show them. Needless to say, by the time we performed our last dance at 4:30pm, we were well and truly beasted!
Big well done to Alison B who danced virtually every dance and to Stewart who soldiered on with a very painful hip. Big thanks to Sian, Kev and Roger B for playing their excellent music which is a joy to dance to.
One aspect of a festival like Chippenham is that you never know who you are going to meet there. We met lots of people who have had past associations with Sweyn’s Ey and it was great hearing Martin Hughes, and MJ Searle playing for sessions. Dave Lock, Julian Lander, Jonathan Baker, and Paul Rosser were there. Stephen Coad’s son was also there as well as John Mills’ daughter the latter two being dancers from over 50 years back!
Hopefully we will revisit this festival, and maybe get to stay, and make a weekend of it!
Photos by Paul and Stewart (more on our FB page).
Most of our blog posts are written by Paul Tarrant (our archivist), with occasional contributions from other members of the side. Each post goes up first on our Facebook page, alongside a lot more photos than we put on the blog. Check out our Facebook page right here if you want to see more!