'Ere Mate, you Effnic or Plastic????????? '
No Great Western Morris actually ( said in a posh haughty voice )
' Who………??????? '
Hmmmmm ….not a normal Folk Festival steward then…….
But we were Plastic, because of our modern culture, and Effnic lived in whatever historical niche they liked - for the entire weekend!
The campsite notes reinforced the differences………
' Do NOT hoard wood, there's enough to go round……….'
' It is an offence to be drunk in charge of a weapon………..'
and finally, ' Do NOT joy ride round the campsite on your horse……..'
Get the idea???
Not a melodeon in sight, just people polishing their muskets.
The evening Beer Tent for artists was fascinating, sharing a pint with various Peninsular War soldiers, Roman people, the odd Serf and Das Boat Kapitan ( a West End Costumier by day apparently………)
Then we drank them out of beer.
Saturday morning was interesting as I passed a transit van of people loading black powder into cartridges. A Cohort of Roman soldiers marched behind our tents, moving the Saxons as they went.
A near riot ensued when Mr. Brassington was shot during a musket volley whilst trying to practise The 42nd Regiment. Luckily he got up and manfully carried on…….
We took to the main field of conflict and Great Western danced and made a little bit of England forever theirs…. Foolishly the general public all came over to watch too!
…and we won't mention that Zoe lady from Blue Peter leading us in a Horses Branle.
All went well, 'til it rained.
The field reminded me of pictures Grandad showed me of Okehampton Camp's 2 weeks of training before going off to WWI.
The side fractioned, meeting up later in the day inside a tent to perform just after John Kirkpatrick, and just before Carthy Waterson. Suitable support artists for us I felt.
Back at the campsite a wet dinner happened, then off to the Beer Tent again.
Here we spent a long time admiring the effect corsets had on buxom wenches. A Good Rack is the term (apparently……). We agreed.
The Beer Tent was a Star Wars bar for historical freaks, strange but compelling!
Sunday dawned bright (phew) and we went off to dance again, seeing what it was really like.
Again we danced in the Arena getting the audience ready for another Branle.
Then, as cannons roared in a corner of the field, knights bashed each other to bits manfully, we danced outside the beer tent!
Our final stand was in the Arena stage tent again.
The crowd really enjoyed us, many were extremely complementary too.
On leaving I meandered back through stalls selling anything from long bows through armour to potions and quills, the nearest equivalent to Diagon Alley!
I listened to the magnificent throaty roar of Rolls Royce Merlin engines and watching 3 Spitfires swooping overhead. A fitting end to what I later learnt was the 60th Anniversary of VJ Day and the end of WWII.
A bizarre but great weekend………… and not a melodeon in sight!
Photos from Maddy