A couple of dozen taborers met on an extremely wet Friday afternoon in the centre of St Albans for the symposium session. The four presentations were well received and took us as far back as the Mary Rose and as far away as South America. The hall was then deployed to feed the main guests at the festival – an enthusiastic group of young Catalan dancers led by the talented Catalan flabiol player Àngel Vallverdú Rom. The dance team are the Bal de Bastons de Cambrils and their dances have striking similarities to Morris stick dancing. Soon we were joined by members of Friday Folk – and all enjoyed a lot of vigorous dancing and a fine pot luck supper provided by FF members.
On the Saturday, a series of workshops provided some interest for taborers of all types – mediaeval tunes used for the York mystery plays, playing for Morris, playing Playford tunes and accompanying Playford dancing, plus a beginners’ workshop.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city Bill, Barbara, Steve and Gillian were running a Children’s workshop “the pied piper” at the Maltings Arts Theatre, whilst the Catalan Bastoners and Pecsaeton Morris did a tour of the city performing at various venues. Meanwhile, down at Abbey Orchard, Bill, Graham and Frances played for Herts Early Dance and the Pastime Early Dance groups at their annual Tudor Picnic.
Later in the afternoon, all parties joined together for a grand Procession (in indifferent weather) from the Fighting Cocks to the Abbey.
In the evening, all attended a grand Ceilidh at Loretto College. As well as the dancing, there were floorspots featuring musicians and very fine dance performances from the Bastoners and Pecsaeton.
Sunday morning saw keen taborers at a workshop session learning to play Bal de Bastons music and later playing for their dancing. Dancing demonstrations in the park by the Bastoners, Pecsaeton and Wicket Brood Border Morris side followed before all assembled at the Boot Inn for lunch, plus more music and dance before departing for home.
A busy and enjoyable weekend!