Dromadaireplays French tunes for dancing, inspired by the bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy tradition of central France. They are Phill Butler and Steve Day (border bagpipes), Jack Humphreys (melodeon /pipes) and Daniel Wolverson (hurdy-gurdy /fiddle). They have built their repertoire over many years in the French sessions of Bath and Bristol. Influences include Blowzabellaand La Chavannée.
Steve and Daniel have played for French dance workshops (including the Grand Bal de Bath) and for festivals in the band Cyser. Daniel has played for dancing at Sidmouth, Shrewsbury, Towersey and many other festivals; he currently plays in Boldwoodand The Sea Band. Phill has played pipe and tabor for morris sides in England and abroad. Jack as jackdiatoniquehas more than 200 tunes on youtube.
Random Ceilidh Band are back – with a fresh new line-up – fiddle (Penny Kempson), melodeon (Paul Nye), drums (Adam Courthold), bass (Dean Clay) and electric guitars (Aaron Horlock). New and traditional dance tunes all played with drive and energy in the true Random spirit. Come see, hear and dance your socks off!
Mendip Step Dancing to Return to Priddy – Somerstep
Step dancing displays, workshop and competitions
Step Dancing was once a popular entertainment in pubs around Mendip and in the Priddy and Wells areas it survived into the early 1950s. At the New Inn at Priddy a flagstone was worn through by the dancing feet of generations. Both men and women danced and showed off their agility and skills by dancing in small areas or around objects. Steppers at Priddy danced around a hankerchief or a pair of crossed churchwarden pipes and competitions were held to find the best dancers. The tunes they danced to were collected by Cecil Sharp when he was collecting folksongs from the Mendip Hills and Chew Valley area in the early 1900s.
In 1931 600 spectators watched the Mendip Step-Dancing Competition for the “Wells Journal Championship Cup”. The competition, held at the Bishop’s Barn in Wells, attracted thirteen entrants from the local area and the cup was won after a dance off by Mr A. Weeks of Rookham, Priddy. The grand finale of the event was an exhibition of all thirteen steppers dancing in unison.
At this year’s Festival, SomerStep, a group of dancers and musicians, will be reviving the traditions of Mendip Stepping. Step dancing has been described as first cousin to clog dancing and uncle to tap dancing and is usually danced solo. Dancers wore boots with taps and stepped heel and toe. It is thought the form of the dance was rather like Dartmoor Stepping, a tradition which thrives today.
SomerStep, who are based at Crewkerne and were formed to encourage local traditional social dance and step dancing, will be dancing throughout the weekend.
Saturday 14:00 at the Queen Victoria Inn they will be running a ‘Kitchen Dance’ session featuring step dancing and some of the folk dances from the region which traditionally people would have been able to dance in kitchens or other small spaces.
Sunday 10:30 in the Eastwater marquee they will host a workshop focusing on Southern English heel and toe steps
Sunday 12:00 in the Eastwater marquee the first revival Priddy Step Dance competition echoing the tradition of competitions years ago. SomerStep will give a short history of step dancing in the Mendips and explain the competition rules. Judges will then perform show dances in the styles relevant to the competition.
The first competition, the Beginners Dance Competition, will be open to novices and is intended to encourage young and old alike to develop their step dancing. Judges will be looking for natural talent, enthusiasm and creativity rather than precise rhythms and accuracy of style.
The second competition will be the Priddy Hankerchief Dance Competition, open to all and danced around a hankerchief laid on the ground. Judges will be looking for agility, musicality and precision in stepped rhythms.
The Brewery Band has a wealth of experience playing dance music – mainly English, bouncy and lively – for ceilidhs and folk dance clubs. The line-up is Dave Byett, melodeons, Andy Brewer, bass, Helen Brock, fiddle and Nigel Hall, mandolin, mandola and guitar. Vicky Cooper frequently works with the band and, as well as calling, is a busy musician and dancer and member of City Clickers.
City Clickers are a group of step dancers based in Bristol who have been dancing together for about twenty years. They perform clog and step dances from various parts of Northern England, Wales and Scotland. They are also interested in step dances from Canada: from Quebec, and the step dancing of Cape Breton island which is currently undergoing a revival in Scotland.
Some members have been involved in step dancing and other traditional dance forms for many years and have brought that experience and knowledge together to make a vibrant, dazzling dance performance.
City Clickers’ knowledge and expertise mean that they are able to offer workshops for both beginners and more experienced dancers in all of the styles danced. Attention to every detail of technique, style, performance and presentation pays off in the enjoyment of the dancers and audience alike.
The Knights of King Ina
The Knights of King Ina are a Morris dance team specialising in the Solo and Duet dances known as Jigs in the Morris genre. The dances are drawn from many of the Morris traditions and include dances choreographed by us using the styles and steps collected in the early 20th century. These dances were typically seen as competition or show off dances and only danced by those considered to be the best dancers in a team or side.
No Mean Feet
No Mean Feet and the Shoestring Band bring the excitement of APPALACHIAN STEP DANCE and OLD TIME MUSIC to the Southwest.
No Mean Feet maintain a lively traditional style, with brightly coloured costumes and hard soled shoes with taps which emphasize the percussive element of Appalachian dance. They perform individual freestyling as well as precision team routines accompanied by “Old Time” live music.
With its roots in the Appalachian mountains of America, Appalachian dancing provides a lively and colourful display. The steps used are distantly related to both tap and English clog dance. Appalachian dance is sometimes even called ‘clogging’, although clogs are not actually used. Instead, shoes with taps on are worn.
The Outside Capering Crew
The Outside Capering Crew presents Morris dance for the 21st century: sometimes flashy, sometimes comic, and always with exhilarating music.
Their eclectic repertoire features prize-winning Morris jigs, broom dances and brain-bending “bacca pipes” jigs – England’s answer to the Scottish sword dance. It’s all served up with a dash of showmanship (and a very silly horse).
They have performed at festivals in Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Sark, Belgium and America, at major UK folk festivals and even at The Big Chill (lots of techno stuff). Interval spots at ceilidhs are a speciality.
Festival organisers may like to know we won the prize for collecting the most money at Ely Folk Festival in 2017.
Stroud Morris Dancers
Stroud Morris Dancers have been entertaining audiences in Stroud, Gloucestershire and much further afield for over 25 years. Dancing usually on a Monday evening from May until September outside local pubs, they are in great demand to perform at events and festivals both in England and abroad. They have featured on Ashley Hutchings’ (Fairport Convention / Albion Band / Steeleye Span) “Grandson of Morris On” album and in the “Morris On” show.
Why do they do it? Fun, a great social life, keeping our traditional dances thriving, keeping fit, for team-building skills, as a kind of meditation, a chance to play music, an excuse to get to the pub each week.
Sulis Rapper are an exciting new female team born in 2017. They are based in Bath and named after the Deity of Baths Temple Spa: Sulis Minerva.
Their first rapper dance comprises various traditional and new figures including some created by the team. To add to this, they also dabble in various step dancing styles.
See Sulis Rapper on Facebook
After Dinner Clog
‘After Dinner Clog’ formed to show how lyrical and joyful traditional English step clog can be. The team was founded by Vikki Lewis; Claire Wright and Alley Bridge-York complete the trio and together they form a wonderful unit who have great step synchronisation and cheeky audience interaction. The team thrives on freedom of expression and this is best shown through music choices which often shy away from more traditional tunes to allow for a playful vibe. Musical talent is provided by Manny Grimsley (Fiddle). ADC are a small close-knit group of friends and derive their name from eating together after weekly practice. They look forward to showing their dancing and spirit at festivals this year.