All about the Morris Year
The Morris Summer
Though dancing continues throughout the year, it is Summertime that is most closely associated with Morris Dancing. Teams can be found dancing outside pleasant (and some not so pleasant) country pubs, or at the weekends you might often find them at festival or the odd village fete.
1967 Playing fields fund raiser, the Pedestal Playing Field, West Wycombe
copyright 1967 Woodside Morris Men
Morris Summer starts with May Day, being May the First, then the festivals get going: usually on the first full weekend of May, with Rochester and Hastings festivals being two of the best attended events. The summer is full of festivals, and if you wanted to, you could spend every weekend at a Morris or Folk festival between May and October.
As well as attending festivals, Woodside also arrange their own events. Most popular of these is the weekend away, which usually involves finding a nice part of the country to set up camp for the weekend, and do a little bite of a tour, a bit of a dance, and bit of a social. The weekends away are an excellent chance for the team to get away with their families, and spend a little quality time together. Occasionally, we also get away for trips overseas, such as Benzheim and Malta, which can involve officially arranged events, or may just be something we've sorted out ourselves.
1978 Watford Carnival, High Street, Watford
copyright 1978 Woodside Morris Men
A more public mainstay of the Summer months is the fete, be it school, village or charity. Many people see Morris Dancing as being synonymous with these colourful events, and Woodside always do their bit. The team tend to dance at a number of these events every year, giving us a chance to spread the Morris word and visit some excellent local occasions.
One of the highlights of the Summer that doesn't quite fit into any particular category, is the St Michael's Folk evening. This event involves local Morris sides dancing in St Michaels Village, St Albans, along St Michael's Street, outside a number of hostelries or suitable locations. Hundreds turn out to watch the spectacle, or to join in with the sessions going on in a number of the pubs along the route.
1980 John Grooms Association Open Day, John Grooms School, Edgeware
copyright 1980 Woodside Morris Men
For many sides though, Woodside among them, the majority of dancing during the summer is done within the auspices of a country hostelry. Sometimes we dance to the delight of the other punters, and sometimes to their chagrin, but on most occasions people will express some sort of pleasure in the fact that an ancient custom is being continued.
There are few ways in which an Englishman can be more innocently employed than in Morris Dancing and drinking ale of a summer evening.
2007 St Leonards Fete, St Leonards Parish Hall, St Leonards
copyright 2007 Woodside Morris Men