By the time we get to Chippenham Folk Festival, we know the dance season has truly started. Cheltenham has come and gone in freezing February (which we declined due to weather concerns at the last minute); Downton was a sunny joy (and I got sunburnt) with picnics in the churchyard and too much money spent on the stalls. Chippenham is a nice small festival, not too spread out and we haven’t got tired with the whole thing yet.
As usual, it rained. Saturday was distinctly damp underfoot, especially for clogs. Sunday it was dry, but windy and Monday was perfect – our usual day to attend. Over the weekend I watched a few sides – Quayside Cloggies were doing a distinctly familiar dance, which turned out to be Chatterham, one of our stalwarts that’s currently ‘resting’ whilst we do some other dances this year. Cornish Wreckers were great fun as usual – I was interested in the dance they do with just a drum and a snare as the accompaniment. With the issues we have with getting enough musicians sometimes (as opposed to dancers at other times) to cover events, it might be interesting to pursue this option… Yateley Morris Men were one of the long-distance visitors and I would recommend you are a little careful around their hobby horse – I swear it has teeth and is far too inquisitive!
We premiered one of our dances this time around. Judith has written a dance for 9 called Captain Flint (after her Parson’s Jack Russell, and ’cause they live on a boat). We were very nervous about doing it, not feeling ready for the public unveiling, but it all went really well – until the dance off. A little more tweaking required here I think. We were all happy about getting the first dance out of it done – always a nervous moment trying to remember all the figures – and I hope we do it regularly through the season as it’s definitely a little different compared to our usual ones.
Well, now we’re up and running, the dance outs will be coming thick and fast. Melksham, Corsham, Poulshot, Chilcompton.