20 April 2019 - English Festival, Lower Rainham

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We were pleased to be invited back to appear at the local English Festival which was held as usual in the Riverside Country Park, Lower Rainham. Once again, it was a beautiful sunny day, despite it being on a Bank Holiday weekend!

The organisers had obviously thought about the event quite carefully and had made some excellent improvements over last year. The morris dancing displays, put on by us and Kits Coty Morris, had been relocated to a much better spot where we were not inconvenienced by the passing public. The surface was lovely and flat with plenty of room. Well done!

I don't know if it was because we all arrived early to avoid last year's long queues to get to the parking area, but this time there were no problems at all in getting on site. This meant that there was plenty of time for a cuppa and a piece of cake at the W.I. tent if only we could find it! Inevitably, with a heightened sixth sense honed over many years for sniffing out refreshments, we soon found its new location.

Our first stand was at 12:15 where we performed a modified Sidcot (which has a working title of Presidcot) and Horbury. Then it was time to get the audience involved with a simplified Circassian Circle dance.

The second stand was not until 2:15 so we all had the opportunity to wander round the event looking for lunch. The organisers had kindly put aside a room in the main building as a Green Room for all the performers so we could relax in the welcome shade and enjoy our refreshments.

Suitably revived, our second performance featured KBC Processional, Annie's and an all-in Churchtown. The last dance proved very popular with the youngsters who joined in as you can see from the photographs.

With the weather still unseasonably hot, it was decided that we should seek some shade before the final stand. As though guided by some unseen force, we somehow found our way to the W.I. tent which surprisingly had not run out of cake by then!

By the time we had returned to the dancing area, the crowds were definitely thinning as the event was drawing to a close. We did Marston and Aughton and then provided a final opportunity for audience participation by repeating the circle dance.

And that was it. The whole experience was much better than last year thanks to the thoughtful changes made by the organisers. We must also thank the band who had to suffer the heat as well but who carried on to the end regardless. Happy Easter to all!

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