IPATF 2019

Account of IPATF 2019 in Stratford upon Avon 12-15 September

This being our 20th year festival, plans had been made to ensure it was a suitable celebration, extending over three whole days instead of our usual two, and with special guest Carles Mas.  Thirty-three taborers attended, which is a record!  Our base was the White Swan, where members gathered on Thursday for an evening of playing, listening and catching up with friends.

Work began in earnest on the Friday morning with two workshops – taboring techniques with Carles and Shakespeare tunes with Bill Tuck.  The afternoon was devoted to the Symposium, where the keynote address was given by Chuck Wilcox, splendidly dressed as Shakespeare, considering the musicians in performances of the plays.  Andy Richards spoke about ‘Strike it up tabor’, then the Shakespearean stage jig workshops he has given to schools.  Avery Gosfield spoke about Shylock’s soundscape – music from the Venice ghetto.  Paul Saunders gave us Shakespeare’s dances: imagery and action, while Bill Tuck contributed Pipe and tabor at the Elizabethan court.  We were particularly delighted to welcome Chuck and Avery back to IPATF.  Two makers set up stalls – Tim Cranmore (Malvern Minstrelsy) and Barry Lloyd. Friday evening passed like Thursday’s, with the addition of a mini workshop playing the winning tune in the competition, ‘Fledgling Frustrations’, composed by Kathryn Wheeler.

On to Saturday, and more workshops – first another Carles taboring one, then playing for Bidford Morris tunes, for which we were joined by Shakespeare Morris.  In the afternoon there was a beginners’ workshop with 6 keen participants, the opportunity to play in the Guild Chapel, then taborers entertained the public playing around Stratford with the Morris side and performing a big dub.  One novel performance was music from a punt on the Avon!    

There wasn’t much time to eat before we all met up again at the White Swan at 6.20 and processed noisily to Holy Trinity Church (where Shakespeare is buried) for the evening concert.  Unfortunately, the church seemed to have forgotten about us and we found it locked.  Half an hour’s investigation found a person who was able to produce the key, so the concert went ahead as planned.  There was massed playing, solos, Morris jigs, our very first consort of tabor pipes which included Tim’s low G pipe, and of course, Carles who gave his usual outstanding dance music performance.  Afterwards, many members returned to the White Swan for a bit of relaxation till very late!

On Sunday morning Carles gave us two more workshops separated by the AGM and followed by many of us eating Sunday lunch in the dining room of the Swan before everyone went home.

It was a very busy, stimulating and productive IPATF.  Carles’ four workshops got us all thinking about our taboring, and one member commented that he had played for dancing for years, but he learned more in those workshops than he had ever learned before.  I expect a number of taborers will be trying to play, tabor and dance simultaneously around the house!

Unfortunately, some regular participants at IPATF were unable to attend this year for a variety of reasons.  We were really pleased to welcome young Morris dancers cum taborers, Ollie and Matt Simons and Grace Williams, and hope to see them at many future meetings.