All about Woodside Morris Men
An introduction to Woodside..
Dancing in Watford since 1966
Woodside Morris Men have been dancing since 1957, their roots stretching back to the members of the Phoenix folk club, based in Woodside Park, Finchley. The Side are now based in Watford, where we have been since the mid 1960s, dancing predominantly at pubs in the Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Rickmansworth area, but going further afield for special occasions, special bookings, folk festivals such as Whitby, Chippenham and Wimborne, and other events across the country. Even the occasional foreign tour.
1957 Thames Valley Morris Men Ring Meeting, Teddington Lock, Teddington
copyright 1957 Woodside Morris Men
What we do...
Woodside Morris Men have a reputation as an entertaining Cotswold side, dancing at various festivals, events and pub nights around the country. The key to the team's 'engaging' style seems to come from the spirit of the side, and a certain amount of energy that communicates a sense of fun to the audience. We have our off nights as well though!
1961 Woodside do Rapper, Cecil Sharp House, Camden Town
copyright 1961 Woodside Morris Men
There has been a long-running belief that male Cotswold sides are averse to the involvement of women in Morris Dancing. Much of this stems from the Morris Ring's all-male membership and the view of what is truly a minority of men's teams. Woodside have danced in mixed sets, danced to women musicians and taught people of both sexes and from all backgrounds to dance the Morris.
We do, however, maintain that Woodside remain an all-male dance team, with an all-male membership. This is in a similar manner to the many all-female or all-male teams across the country, who, like Woodside, have no animosity towards dancers and players of the opposite sex, but merely wish to run their club in a manner which best reflects the style of its dance and accommodates the leisure requirements of its members.
Family Involvement
Woodside have a number of members with young families, and as such, we like to hold events in which everyone can get involved. The pub nights are always an opportunity for families to come along, and our weekend and festival dates are also an excellent opportunity for family activities. Dancing at a village fete or school fundraiser will only usually take up around half an hour or so, and the rest of the time is our own to take a look around and get involved.
1981 Summer Pub Tour, The Royal Oak, Farnham Common
copyright 1981 Woodside Morris Men
We also usually hold a barbecue each year, but the big family event of the season is usually the weekend away, for which we pick a beautiful part of the English countryside and spend the weekend on a campsite, with family and friends. We do a bit of dancing, but the weekends are generally just an excuse to get together and have a pleasant weekend in a relaxed environment.
Further Afield
Over the last five or so years, Woodside have become more involved in the UK's folk festival scene. The majority of festivals are held over a weekend, but some can be as long as a week. These festivals are an excellent opportunity to get to see some of the country's top folk talent, and when you dance at them as an invited team, the season ticket for all events will usually come gratis! The majority of festivals Woodside attend are in the south of the country, but we've also recently been headed further afield for festivals in Norfolk and Yorkshire.
On occasion Woodside also venture abroad, with regular trips to Germany for a wine makers festival which takes place in Bensheim, not far from Watford's twin town of Mainz.
2002 Wiltshire Weekend Away, The Rising Sun, Lacock
copyright 2002 Woodside Morris Men