The Upton-upon-Severn Folk Festival, traditionally held over the May Day weekend, holds quite a special place for us. In the days when we would camp the whole weekend, usually on the local, soggy rugby pitch, the sometimes inclement weather for dancing would usually be forgotten by the evening with a group takeaway in Geoff and Amanda’s caravan over several bottles of “not lemonade”. This would often be while singing or hooting with laughter at Ralph’s hilarious version of Little Cottage in The Wood, which becomes more hilarious the more “not lemonade ” you have…..trust me, I’m a Morris Dancer!
Upton’s a place where Morris and Folk are wall to wall for four glorious days. It’s where the traditional jingly bells and crossed Baldricks of Cotswold Morris meets the heavy drum, tatters and verbal whooping of Border.
It’s where you can sit back with a pint of “not lemonade” and watch a Mummer’s play outside a pub while next door a group of pirate women are shimmying to a slinky bellydance, and down the road a Canadian Morris team (complete with their very own Moose) delight an appreciative crowd of agog tourists.
This year was no exception although sadly we could only dance on the Saturday. Securing our usual place beside the Anchor Inn (funny old thing) early on meant that we had a lovely spot for the morning beside the river. This was shared with various other sides which meant everyone had regular rests while someone else danced. This always presents a great opportunity to meet other dancers, chat and learn about the different forms of this great, colourful tradition of ours. Although it was a cool day, the warmth of friendship between Morris people was clear and we had an excellent time. Our fabulous musicians kept all the dancers going throughout the day and our lunchtime public spot in the town centre went well with everyone having their “game face” well and truly on and doing the team proud.
The lovely (and lively) Lasses displayed some excellent lines as always, the men got through several vigorous versions of Bricklayers (one by special request of Fi from Foxes’ Border Morris!!) without becoming disemtrowelled and Shrewsbury Clog coped superbly on sometimes difficult surfaces. Margaret and Barbara also performed their own amazing clog dance to great acclaim from the watching public.
We left Upton while still on a (legal) high from our performance and headed for home, tired but happy and looking forward to some “not lemonade” with our feet up!
Roll on next year….Upton, we salute you yet again!! :))
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