The more observant of you may have noticed that I haven’t been gigging much recently. Don’t worry – I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth… I’ve just been on the other side of it for a few months! For those of you shivering under a blanket in chilly England, perhaps reading this blog as an excuse to use your laptop as a hot water bottle, then make sure you warm up by coming to dance with me and the fabulous Time Bandits at Poynton Ceilidhs on Saturday. Or, for the less energetic/geographically challenged, read on and try to imagine yourself in the 40 degree heat of Australian summer…*
I started my trip with a 2 week stint at Ethno Folk Camp in Currumbin, QLD. The camp was mainly musical, with young people from all over the world coming to share tunes and songs. We did manage to get some dancing in too on one of the first evenings, with dances from several countries including my contribution of the Cumberland Square 8… After Christmas we headed to Woodford Folk Festival – an amazing Festival with plenty of dancing to be had, although dancing in the Queensland heat was a bit of a challenge. I managed to go to African, Bollywood and Balkan workshops – and despite having trekked halfway across the world I still ended up going to a Scottish Ceilidh on New Years Eve! Great fun, although with the age old problem of a *slightly* sloping dance floor herding everyone to one end of the room. Some things are the same world over!
Heading way down south the next stop was Cygnet Folk Festival in Tasmania. Again, plenty of dancing and a fantastic dance venue with a sprung floor. One of the highlights was the contra on the first night, which I managed to video a snippet of…
Great to see that there’s a vibrant contra scene in Australia, with lots of dance writing going on too. I also found myself at a contra dance at my next stop at Illawarra folk festival near Sydney, in fact I ended up calling a few dances. One of my newest dances “The Bibbity Bobbity Boo One” went down a storm, and was apparently called again the next weekend by one of my new-found Australian calling comrades!
Finally, this wouldn’t be a complete account without mentioning the many morris sides I also crossed paths with: Red Raven from Melbourne, Black Joak from Sydney, Belswagger/South-East North-West/Ragged Band from Queensland and the Jolly Hatters from Hobart, Tasmania. Dances were swapped, drinks were had, and I accidentally became a member of Black Joak by dancing Vandalls of Hammerwich. No dramas! (as the Aussie’s say…)
*for those of you reading this from Australia… Yes alright there’s no need to gloat!