15 July 2012 - Kent County Show at Detling

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The KBC band dresses formally for the occasion
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Kettle Bridge were invited by the Community Service Volunteers in conjunction with BBC Radio Kent to appear at the Kent County Show at Detling. The idea was for us to give a couple of demonstration dances and then hold a workshop for the general public to join in with. This was a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about morris dancing and maybe get some new recruits along the way.

The showground at Detling is at the top of a steep hill and located on chalky soil so any rain should drain away easily. However, as we had been suffering from the wettest spell of weather anyone can remember, the site had turned into a quagmire. Attendance at the first two days had to be restricted as parking was so difficult and it looked as though our spot on the third day may have to be cancelled. Thankfully, though, we were given the green light, so we all made our way up to Detling (or should that be Wetling?).

We drove our way carefully through the mud to the designated parking area which was fortunately mostly grass, and welly boots were the order of the day for the muddy walk into the showground. We congregated in the refreshment tent near to the BBC Kent mobile studio where we were due to perform. BBC Radio Kent was broadcasting from the show and our very own Sandy was interviewed live on air by Paul Harris and Paul James. Sandy explained what North West morris was about and even managed to slip in a plug for Kettle Bridge as we are always on the lookout for new dancers.

Our performance slot was preceded by a demonstration and workshop by Ashford Poi Spinners who do Fire Dancing. For this, they twirl round sticks which are either alight or just have ribbons attached to simulate the fire trail. It really is a fantastic sight.

For our stand, we danced on the pathway outside the BBC studio and delighted the crowd with energetic performances of Prescot and KBC Processional. Thankfully the excellent surface meant that the dancers could wear their clogs rather than wellies!

Then it was time for the audience to have a go and there were no shortage of volunteers, although some of them were quite short (and young). First up, Val talked everyone through Churchtown which they were able to perform with no problems. The second and final dance was an abbreviated version of Blackrod which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

Having completed our dancing, a change of footwear back to wellies was in order and there was an opportunity for a brief look round the rest of the show before making our way back to the car park.

Before I close, can I say a big "thank you" to the Community Service Volunteers, especially Ian Harkness, for inviting us to appear at the show. The CSV do a tremendous amount of good work in the community that all too often goes unrecognised. Thanks also to BBC Kent for supporting the dance workshops.

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