Morris dancers return for annual festival

By Jake Chown  
Wednesday 22nd June 2022 6:00 am
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FOLK dancers from across the country flocked to the Forest and Wye Valley this month as the annual Forest of Dean Morris Festival returned after the pandemic.

Morris sides from as far afield as Northampton and Merseyside came to the Forest to perform for locals across the district, in what was the 49th event of its kind.

The groups came together with the Forest of Dean group at the Clock Tower in Coleford to launch the festival with a “mass dance” in front of a crowd of interested locals and Morris enthusiasts.

The dancers then split into two groups to perform at locations across the district over the weekend.

The event should have been the 51st annual festival, but was in fact the 49th, as it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

Six groups of Morris men, women and children took part in the festival, including the Mersey Morris Men and all-female group ‘Clocs Canton’ from Cardiff.

Other groups included representatives from Leicester, Southport and Northampton, as well as from the Forest and Wye Valley.

Forest of Dean Camera Club member Alan Waterman, who photographed the event for the Camera Club and for the Tourist Information Centre in Coleford, followed one group to The Rising Sun in Mosley Green after the Coleford dance.

Alan said: “I preferred the Mosley Green location to Coleford Town, whilst there was a good turn out on a sunny morning in Coleford, the pub location seemed more in keeping with Morris Men for some reason.”

Sunday saw the groups performing at the Heritage centre in the morning and at Tintern in the afternoon.

The Forest of Dean Morris group are made up of men and women of all ages.

They will be running workshops at the upcoming Coleford Music Festival in July for those interested in giving it a go.

Those looking to get involved should email [email protected]

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