REVIEW: VILLAGE PUMP FOLK FESTIVAL, 27TH & 28TH JULY 2013
IT IS TRADITIONAL for the first note of a Morris tune to coincide with the first drop of rain, but the watery end of our fabulous July heatwave waited until the last note of our Saturday spot with the Widders – a very friendly border side from Chepstow.
What a lovely contrast in styles – their colourful and exuberant dashing across the ground to a 15-piece orchestra, our black and white aerial manoeuvres to the measured beat of reeds, trombone and occasional drum.
The rain held off on Sunday too and the measure of appreciation has to be that many people took the trouble to seek us out on both days!
Off-piste, so to speak, Bertie Wright played a gorgeous set on his hand-crafted melodeon accompanied by a grizzled Holt Morris drummer, the rain failed to make mud of a beautiful setting, Eric Bibb brought echoes of his appearance at the Village Pump in 2007 – this time accompanied and enhanced by awesome electric guitar, Mervyn Grist amused with total irreverence, Mrs Wok fed the body and the Milk Street Brewery fed the soul – when their tent wasn’t doing a hang-glider imitation in the blustery winds.
“Thank you” to Terry for being Squire-for-the-weekend with calm efficiency and to all the dancers and musicians who, with partners, sisters, children (and grandchildren), made this a lovely weekend under the watchful eye of the White Horse.
REVIEW: BATH AND WEST SHOW, 29TH MAY 2013
ELEVEN O’CLOCK saw us once again on “The Village Green” at The Shepton Mallet Show Ground where, to a hugely enthusiastic crowd of at least a dozen people (including Colin’s younger family members, James’s father, and a couple of our more obviously encouraging wives), we performed a very tidy set - the approbation for which brought about intermittent sunshine for most of the day until about 4.30 pm when rain set in.
Intermittent periods of dance precision were interspersed with some interesting improvisational meanderings by certain nameless members of the side during the afternoon set, after some hearty interim real ale consumption. The responses from the crowd - now augmented by a goodly number of real people - were as enthusiastic as were the attempts from the side to bring the wandering miscreant dancers into line. Cheering… or jeering? Whatever… We all agreed that, overall, our performance was worthy of public exhibition - as did the organisers of the Village Green programme, who intimated that our presence will be desired next year, member survival rates allowing.
On, then, to the Cider Tent and the now traditional out-of-season Wassail. This year’s spirit-meddling ritual, we believe, will bear serious fruit this coming Autumn if the proliferate orchard blossom, the dignity and application of Alice, our Wassail Queen, the quality of the rendering of The Gloucester Wassail and the noisy enthusiasm of the assembled cider aficionados (James and his father included) is in any way indicative. Must have been a reasonable harvest after our efforts last season, as the generosity of the producers threatened to overwhelm… Jugs of cider overflowed… Pretty darned good, as was “The Hollow Tree” and “The Rose.”
This curiously improvised and aberratively-timed version of the January festival left us all feeling rather pleased with the days efforts. The justification (or otherwise) for our satisfaction rests with the public, most of whom have remained silent on the matter…
Another great day out for us all.