Rushbearing : Red Door Rapper
This relatively new (in 2012) team perform in the rapper sword tradition of the north-eastern England Morris style.
The group are formed from girls aged 18 years or younger and provide excellent performances for a group both young and newly formed.
Rushbearing : Mortimer's Morris
Mortimer’s Morris are a lively women’s Morris side based in Nottingham. Established in 1994, the side’s reason for formation was to perform dances from the North West tradition with vigour, enthusiasm and style. This aim holds true today and the side take great pride in their dancing and energy.
I saw them perform at St Paul's Church and Triangle Cricket Club during Rushbearing in September 2012.
Rushbearing : The Jig Crew
The Jig crew were formed in 2007, making them a relatively young Morris group. The Jig Crew dance Cotswold morris in both traditional and original styles as well as clog dancing.
At Triangle Cricket Club as part of 2012's Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival, I was particularly interested to watch two performers perform a traditional and original style of a dance, taking it in turns through the 'verses' of the music.
Rushbearing : Hebden Bridge Hill Millies
This all-female Morris team formed in 2004 and dance in the Cotswold Morris tradition.
Hebden Bridge Hill Millies are regular performers at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of each September.
Rushbearing : Ryburn Longswords
Formed in September 1994, Ryburn Longsword have an established reputation, performing at the International Sword Spectacular at Scarborough in May 1996 and at Whitby in September 1998.
Ryburn Longsword have both a senior and junior team. Both teams have worked to devise their own dances, borrowing from the traditions of the north of England.
Ryburn Longsword are regular performers at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of each September.
Rushbearing : Powderkegs
Formed in 2001, the Powderkegs have strong ties with the Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men where some of the group originated from.
The name Powderkegs comes from the local gunpowder mills; the old gunpowder factory (dating back to around the 16th century) now lies below the waters of Fernilee Reservoir.
Powderkegs dance mainly traditional Border Morris style, a noisy, colourful and explosive for of morris dancing. They are a mixed side who paint their faces and wear rag jackets and bells; their costumes and make-up are symbolic of working hardships.
2012 saw Powderkegs' first visit to Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of each September.
Rushbearing : Eclipse Jazz Band
On the Sunday of Rushbearing weekend, the rushcart now makes a regular stop at Triangle Cricket Club. This is an excellent venue which provides a stop for the cart and plenty of entertainment from both groups static at the cricket club as well as performance groups walking with the cart.
Eclipse Jazz Band are a New Orleans-style jazz band with an umbrella-carrying leader and a group of elderly players who perform New Orleans jazz numbers, traditionally immediately prior to the arrival of the rushcart.
Eclipse Jazz Band are regular performers at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of each September.
Norland Scarecrow Festival
Located to the south of Sowerby Bridge, the hillside village Norland hosts an annual scarecrow festival in late August/early September. The festival was instigated by the village's millennium committee in 1999 and has become a permanent, popular feature for the village. Every year a different theme for the event is chosen and many of the houses in the village create scarecrows to represent the theme and compete for the prize of best scarecrow.
2012 these was 'celebration' and with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee as well as Olympics and Paralympics, there were many scarecrows depicting these events around the village.
Free parking is arranged in a field and the village is supported by a bus to take less able patrons around some of the scarecrows. A reception tent holds a stall which sells scarecrow-related items, trail maps and competition questionnaires for children.
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Rushbearing : White Rose Morris Men
Formed in 1953 by a number of Leeds University Morris Men, White Rose met initially in the Burley Road scout headquarters and were assisted by Ron Smedley. White Rose were admitted to the Morris Ring in 1959. In 1971 the group moved its base to Huddersfield, organising the 215th Ring Meeting there in 1986.
The group are a familiar sight around the various folk festivals and can be seen in their distinctive whites with green baldricks and straw hats.
White Rose promote the South Midlands (or Cotswold) tradition in the north of England and have also danced in Sweden, France (Provence), Jersey, and Romania.
The group celebrated their Golden Jubilee in 2003, taking place in events across the country, including a weekend gathering in the September which saw around 280 members of traditional dance sides descended on Bradley Wood from around the country to tour the surrounding areas.
Rushbearing : Persephone Women's Northwest Morris
Persephone Women's Northwest Morris first performed in 1978, dancing in the North West style, many of their dances originate from the following of rushcarts (the annual event of bringing new rushes for the church floor, in a ceremonial procession).
This processional style further developed once the streets of the industrial towns of the north of England became paved. There is a long tradition of clog stepping in the north which needed a hard floor, with the paving of the streets, clog stepping quickly became inseperable from the orocessional morris of the North West, the large bands making it possible for the music to be heard over the sound of the clogs.
Persephone Women's Northwest Morris are regular performers at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of each September.
Rushbearing : Bradshaw Mummers
Formed in 1972, the Bradshaw Mummers were regular attenders of the Bradshaw Tavern Folk Club with their opening performance held at the gatherings New Year's Eve Party. That initial performance was a Mumming play and, having thoroughly enjoyed their performance, a decision was taken to take the show on the road and so, the Bradshaw Mummers came into being.
Initially, the intrepid players gate crashed festivals and busked the streets of towns across the north of England. As time wore on they made many friends, with some even inviting them back for return performances.
The Bradshaw Mummers have two gifted writers amongst their number, John Scrimshaw and Phil Lyon. Over the years many plays have been written and performed and the group continues to flourish.
These great street performers are regular performers at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of each September.
Rushbearing : Sowerby Bridge Morris Dancers
Sowerby Bridge Morris Dancers came into existence in 1979, formed by local folk historian Garry Stringfellow, who had played a major part in the revival of the town’s Rushbearing ceremony.
Initially an eight-man side, Sowerby Bridge’s repertoire consisted of three original dances - Barkisland, Sowerby Bridge and Wharf Star. During the 1980s a further three dances (Sowerby Bridge New, Lad int' Middle o' Floor and Coach & Horses) were added to the groups repertoire. This was further increased with the addition of the three-man Wyresdale or 'Old Man's Morris'.
Sadly in 2003, due to a lack of numbers, the team disbanded.
Reformed in 2012 as a mixed side, the group perform in the North-West style appropriate to the region and include the team's original dances as well as a dance written specifically for 2012, the new Diamond Jubilee Dance.
Rushbearing : Wharfedale Wayzgoose
Wharfedale Wayzgoose performed outside St Patrick's Church on the Saturday of Rushbearing weekend in 2012.
Wharfedale Wayzgoose Border Morris (to give them their full name) from Otley have been established for over a decade. They are a rowdy performance group whose name reflects the beautiful dale area in which Otley lies (Wharfedale) and a celebration which can be traced back to the 17th Century - the annual festival, celebrated on St Batholomew's eve (24th August) when the master printer would supply a feast for his printers (Wayzgoose) - Otley having produced one of yhe most famous printing presses, Wharfedale Press.
The group has provided workshops for youth groups and support good causes. They are constant promoters of Otley on their trips throughout England.
Wharfedale Wayzgoose perform Border Morris which is largely a product of the 1970s folk revival. These dances, theoretically originating from the Herefordshire/Worcestershire/Shropshire Welsh border regions, have undergone a total transformation. The variation in the styles of Border Morris is remarkable; it has been known for two or three Border sides to dance together and to all look totally different.
Some 'Cotswold' sides dance a variation in the winter, using sticks and based on what is believed to be the authentic older notations whilst other sides give a passing nod to the 'traditional' dances and have taken Border Morris further. This means that whenever you see a Border side, you will see something different every time.
Some Border sides can appear almost 'courtly', sedate with precise patterns, a leisurely step and so laid back as to be horizontal. Other Border sides appear to be manic, racing about in a whirl of rags, flash of sticks and desperate to get to the end of the dance. There is an immense range of Border Morris dance styles, it is as diverse as the kits, but one thing it never should be is boring.
Wharfedale Wayzgoose has evolved its own peculiar style of Border Morris which has its origins in many different traditions and inspirations.
Rushbearing : Uppermill Band
Performers at St Patrick's Church in 2012, Uppermill Band often accompany the rushcart on it's journey throughout the Rushbearing weekend.
They are a second section band based in Saddleworth and have been established for 30 years. Excellent performers, the band has a full complement of very committed players together with a supportive team of committee members and officers.
Currently under the leadership of Musical Director, Mr Alan Widdop, Uppermill Band are constantly growing in strength and have gained a formidable reputation, being successful at a number of competitions.
Uppermill Band are regular performers at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of each September.
Rushbearing : 400 Roses
I have been privileged to see performances by 400 Roses both at Rushbearing and at other venues in Yorkshire.
400 Roses were formed in late 2005 and are a unique group of performers who come from Leeds, Bradford, Keighley and the surrounds. The group combine UK-style folk dancing with more exotic tribal belly dance moves. Tribal belly dance is a dance form that seeks to recreate a feel of communal/ethnic dance without belonging to any real-world ethnic grouping. The style originated in the USA and is less well-known in the UK.
In designing their costumes, the group used an abundance of red and white silk roses, an appropriate symbol of their Yorkshire and Lancashire origins; an initial order of 400 silk rose-heads became the source of their name.
400 Roses are regular performers at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of each September.
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