A Swash-Buckling Day

It’s that time of year when people across this nation get excited about festivals.  Across the UK, people have started preparing for, or attending, the many festivals that sparkle throughout these islands.  I live in beautiful England and already my own village, in the picturesque county of Suffolk, has held a Flower Festival in our local St. Peter’s Church.  This is not a festival in terms of a big event that you would pack a tent or campervan for, but it is a beautiful way for a village to celebrate a theme and share a sense of togetherness.

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This year, the theme in St. Peter’s Church was to celebrate the 90th Birthday of our dear Queen Elizabeth II. Villagers had prepared a number of floral displays, that filled our beautiful Church with colour and a representation of something associated with our Queen.  Of course, tea and cake were available; an English tradition.

Festivals and fayres are a great way to bring people together; whether they be small events in local communities or whether they are larger events that attract people together from wider areas.  In my work as a Counsellor and Psychotherapist, I work with many people who have become socially isolated, for various reasons.  Holding an event in your community actively helps those who may be feeling alone, to connect with other people.  For example, in our village Church, a regular coffee morning is held and small events take place throughout the year in our village hall.

A great charity, here in Suffolk is the ‘Rural Coffee Caravan’; taking information about useful services around our rural county and creating events for people to share time together; from simple coffee mornings to tea dances and charity fund-raisers.  Here’s a photo of the Coffee Caravan at Folk East Festival:

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You can learn more about this great charity at:

Rural Coffee Caravan

Last year, in 2015, my Partner and I joined our friend Clare at a larger festival in Glemham; held at Glemham Hall; the Folk East festival.  This festival has only been running for several years but, already, it is becoming a renowned event for traditional folk music, crafts and dancing.

Folk East is held at Glemham Hall:

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The folk dancing at the event showcased a number of England’s traditional folk dances; Morris Dancers:

Folk dancers who mixed dance with a literary play and a touch of swash-buckling drama:

My favourite were the ‘Witchmen’, a troop of Morris Dancers with a dark twist; a powerful mix of drums to a tribal sound.  The audience clearly loved them, too and there was an awed hush while the Witchmen approached the stage with a heart pounding boom of deep drumming getting louder with each encroaching footstep towards the stage:

There was a main stage upon which some well known folk acts performed, along with some exciting newcomers who set the crowd singing and dancing:

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All around there were activities to participate in, from music jamming sessions through to a craft dome in which you could learn traditional handcrafts; our friend Clare learnt to crochet bunting!  Later in the year, we received a lovely parcel from Clare, who had made us some crocheted bunting for our Christmas Decorations.

As one would expect, there were some great food stalls, beer tents; showcasing some of Suffolk’s finest ales, archery and other interesting things to see:

We were very lucky with the weather.  In Spring, in England, you just do not know from one day to the next, whether you will get snow, rain or heat and sunshine!  One of my favourite events in the festival, was the literary section; in which beautiful poetry was recited, stories were told and song lyrics were presented.  To reach this tented venue, you had to follow a small woodland trail; lit with coloured lights and dotted with a variety of sculptures and then weave your way through an archway made of hazel, before finally gaining entry.

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Overall, I enjoyed a day at Folk East but I did feel that this is a festival still in it’s infancy.  I would like to go back in a few years to see how the festival grows and develops but, have no doubt that this festival makes a great day out and that, in time, it will be an event that will command the need for a tent or campervan for a long weekend of fun, music and festivity. The parking facilities were good and close enough that if you needed to pop back to your vehicle for something, you could easily do so; as long as you showed your pass and got ink stamped going in and out!

Do you have experience of a festival in England or the wider UK?  Leave a comment to share your experience.

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