Rochester Sweeps Festival May 2013

What a wonderful day we had last Sunday at the Rochester Sweeps festival! We all set off early to meet at our first dance spot outside the Visitor’s Centre at 10 am. Eight dancers, one still a bit sore caller and the musicians started off the day with a spirited Tingley, then followed this with a good old Cotton Reels. It’s always a good idea to start with those we feel safe with! We were very lucky that one of the other sides we were dancing with (I’m really sorry but I can’t remember their name!.

It was either Cockleshell Clog or Hertforshire Holly¬†– help someone) also knew Tingley so we finished off the spot with a rousing joint dance, with each side facing each other. It worked remarkably well, and we all finished in two interlocking circles like we’d been practicing for months. I always love it when sides get together and mix it all up.

Our second spot of the day was at The Eagle, where we were matched up with the appropriately named Hook Eagle. As this at first seemed like a fairly quiet spot I thought it was a good opportunity to try out our brand new dance Oyster Feast. It had to be done in public for the first time and this was it! After a slightly halting start – I’m sure the crowd didn’t notice a thing – we got through the whole thing, and with smiles on faces all round. I’m so proud to see this new and tricky dance put out there for the first time and the dancers did a great job. Well done!


After lunch we were at Ye Arrow with Young Miscellany and Customs and Exiles. The youngsters are a large group of kids ranging from about 4 to 15 I would guess and they and their teacher are doing a grand job of keeping the Morris tradition alive in the next generation. Customs and Exiles were really, really good; their dancing was clean, precise and great to watch. That’s how ranting should be done!


We had a go at our fourth scheduled slot but we were the only ones there. We rejoined Hook Eagle but they were finishing as well. We did a couple of dances but decided to call it a day.


All in all a very successful day. The sun shone all day and most of all our two festival virgins have now been fully initiated into the team. Congratulations Sarra and Yuen on your first major outing and we all hope you stick around for many more to come.


Photos will follow soon xxxxx

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