Strictly Come Morris Dancing

Bromyard Folk Festival 2009 review

By Ian Wright | Published: Fri 25th Sep 2009

Bromyard Folk Festival 2009 - Morris Dancing Sides
Photo credit: Ian Wright

Bromyard Folk Festival 2009

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th September 2009
around the town of Bromyard, Herefordshire, HR7 4NT , England MAP
adult weekend around £65

Another day, another onslaught of Morris sides on site and in the town. Perhaps a Morris-Off could be arranged, Strictly Come Morris Dancing or the like. Some of the more wizened folkies would probably make excellent judges – there is plenty of comment on the side's performances. My choice would be Earlsdown Morris with their flowery Hats and shaky sticks versus the Witchmen with their manly grunts and scary demeanour. That would be a show! Sadly this never transpires but there always seems to be one more dance to watch or one more song to sing in one more pub.

Morris Dancing Sides
The Wye Valley Brewery Stage afternoon concert features three young Hartlepool singers The Young'Uns who have won a lot of people's respect over the weekend with there many stirring performances, this one is no exception. This afternoon's concert finishes with Ashley Hutchings' Rainbow Chasers who are unusual in that they only perform once over the weekend. Ashley gives the appearance of having one of the easiest jobs in folk as his Rainbow Chasers seem to do all the work. The show works though; it is intelligent, accomplished, accessible and at times extremely moving. Their only trouble is competing with the car alarms and sound bleed from the Ceilidh tent. Over at the Arts Centre the Final Sing is in full swing with all the weekend's stars on stage; Graeme Knights, Dave Webber & Anni Fentiman, Paul & Liz Davenport, and Jim Mageean all join voices for a final tearjerking tribute to their friend Johnny Collins which affects everyone who is there to witness it.

around the festival site (2)
The Finale on the Wye Valley Brewery Stage is less emotional but highly entertaining. The night kicks off with and amusing show from Typsy Jazz which is full of skill and dexterity, followed by the effervescent Keith Donnelly who has a moth fly up his nose mid performance. Heidi Talbot then brings the humour level down with a soulful tale of murder and madnessis. Boo Hewerdine then joins us straight from Japan which John McCusker cheekily ribs him about between sets. As an experienced folk musician McCusker is well used to filling the gaps whilst temperamental instruments are retuned but takes this to another level by announcing fake anniversaries to buy more time. Finally Kris Drever joins the gang and after several more songs the whole ensemble is on stage for a great singalong finish. The Demon Barbers show brings the whole weekend nicely together with a combination of energised folk tunes accompanied by amazing Morris, sword and clog dancing demonstrations which the band also take part in.

Bromyard was weekend of beer, music and dance which wrapped up the summer festival season for me in a fine Roots style. I hope to be back next year and maybe venture into the Ceilidh House!
review by: Ian Wright

photos by: Ian Wright

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