Thursday, October 1, 2009

Folk Festival in Kent

[Click to enlarge]

Kent is the place to be this weekend if you are in the area. Above, a group of Morris dancers gather in preparation for this weekend's festivities. Over 1,000 Morris and folk dancers/performers are expected.

Who can tell us the history of Morris dancers?

My sources didn't say exactly where, but I am guessing Tenterden, since Broadstairs is in the middle of August.

In other news of Kent (Festivals-wise) There is a big postcard and collector's fair Saturday 10 October in Canterbury. And that's the truth, too - I wouldn't be guilty of telling Canterbury tales...

And much more -- October is the time to be in Kent. If you can't be in Munich. :)


  1. Really? Am I missing all that, or are you having me on? You are only too capable of Canterbury Tales...

    I love Morris dancing, it always seems such fun, and so do the people who perform. It can be a bit spooky at times though.

  2. (Although Wikipedia says there are about 150 American morris sides that perform)

  3. Here is the link to the festival. Hey I learned something new today! And for some reason, I don't think it would fly too well over here in America, with the black facepaint and all.

  4. I've never seen morris men with blackened faces before. I assume they are a particular group.

  5. There's a tradition of blackface morris all over britain.
    It goes back at least as far as the 1500s, possibly earlier.
    Morris dancers might once have been "moorish dancers".
    Nobody really knows. It's not anything to do with blackface minstrel shows, it's not about race, colour, or creed, its just people dancing traditional dances, drinking a lot of beer or cider, and having fun.

    Morris used to be exclusively male, but in recent years, more and more mixed, or all female "sides" have appeared.
    Folk festivals, mayday celebrations, pagan equinox festivals in general, none are complete without the Morris.
    In my part of England, there are a lot of "Longsword" sides. Sword dancing is a mime of battle, usually ending in the swords being meshed into a star, and held aloft, to a cheer.
    I find the whole thing a bit boring, but it livens up a summer evening sitting outside the pub, watching the progressively more drunk dancers wobble around, whacking each other's heads with mistimed swords. (the swords are blunt, and springy, not real weapons any more, though the scots do some bloodcurdling real sword-dancing)

  6. I have been to Kent several times but never ran into any Morris dancers. I - I'm sort of glad, really. We did have them at college and they were rather off-putting. But that is another story, as they say. Ahem.

  7. All of you seem to know more about it than I do. :)

    I do like the idea of real swords...

  8. Ahem. In doing my research after the fact, I find that they are akin to mum dancing. There is a Mummers parade in Philadelphia. I never knew what a Mummer was before. Okay, NOT Morris, but a second cousin.



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