We took a bit of a drive over the Bridge into Wiltshire to attend the Greenman Festival in the charming stone town of Bradford on Avon. According to the publicity, there were to be 35 dance groups there and an expected 5,000 visitors descending on this picturesque place and judging by the crowds there, they possibly were correct on those estimations.
Jaunty our horse went exceptionally early to participate in the Jack & Jill in the Green parade through the town (Stewart Wright = hero) whilst the rest of us (2 musicians and 11 dancers) arrived to dance at the Westbury Gardens display area, where we performed alternately with Spank the Plank and Cornucopia American dance groups.
We kicked off with British Grenadiers Fieldtown which seemed to please the crowd watching us, and performed other Adderbury and Bampton dances in what was a relaxed dance spot.
Timbrells Yard pub was a good gathering place to discuss strategies on how best to cross the Avon to get to the next spot at Trinity Church, and the Otter Ale sold there was superb!
At Trinity Church we found ourselves dancing by the footbridge in company with Knights of King Ina who are essentially a side that dance Morris Jigs. We also danced with them at Chippenham, last year. We gave a good account of ourselves, dancing for the best part of an hour, with the highlight possibly being Vandals of Hammerwich which went superbly well, without the usual chanting of instructions in the hey! We finished with Bonnie Green for as many as could dance it. The C8th Saxon Church nearby was a joy to explore!
Our final spot was an hour later by the Weaving Shed, picturesquely sited by the river, where we danced along with Zdravets Bulgarian Folk dancers and Northgate Rapper. Zdravets’ dances were slightly longer than ours so we did an even more relaxed set of dances as a result.
Northgate Rapper were superb! I think some of their number joined us on a Rapper tour of Swansea Pubs a year before COVID Plague kicked in, but we did not give a good account of ourselves on that occasion!
Northgate are everything a Rapper side should be, young, all roughly the same height, athletic and very crisp with their stepping, although there was not a great need for too much of that as they were performing one explosive figure after another! One wondered at the incredible flexibility of their swords with the shapes they were pulling them into.
That was the end of our day’s dancing although Kevin stayed overnight to see other aspects of the festival.
Would we return? Most definitely, as it is a joy to see so many different sides and diversity of dance types and styles. It is a very well run Festival, from a dancer’s perspective, and must be a joy to watch from a public one.
Photos by Paul and Andrea (more on our Facebook 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!