Spectacular morris festival in Shoreham

DM1516891a  Baldock Midnight Morris

DM1516891a Baldock Midnight Morris

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SHOREHAM’S biggest ever festival of traditional dance filled the town centre with colour and music at the weekend.

Hundreds of Morris by the Water saw 30 morris sides gather for a festival featuring a wide range of performing styles from all over the country.

DM1516881a Box Hill Bedlam, with David Quoroll, left, and John Cooper

DM1516881a Box Hill Bedlam, with David Quoroll, left, and John Cooper

Morris festivals across the country tend to be linked with folk festivals, but this one, organised by Sompting Village Morris, was just dancing.

Co-ordinator Martin Frost said: “It could not have gone better. Everything was in our favour. It was one of the most spectacular things we have seen in Shoreham.

“We took Shoreham over and the weather was incredible for both days.”

There were around 260 performers from all over the country, including Lancashire and Cornwall. They performed in East Street, around St Mary’s Church, on Coronation Green and by Sussex Yacht Club on the Saturday, then in front of the terminal building at Shoreham Airport on Sunday.

DM1516872a Box Hill Bedlam

DM1516872a Box Hill Bedlam

Mr Frost explained: “We had eight different stands in the town centre and just moved people around. People saw 30 different sides performing in different styles, so there was much variety.

“There are a lot of dances we have in common but there are different ways of doing them and different styles, so they can look quite different.”

Most members of Sompting Village Morris, a 50-strong side, are from Worthing and they hold big events every four years.

“We decided on Shoreham this time because we have done them in Worthing quite a few times,” added Mr Frost.

DM1516966a Ragged Phoenix

DM1516966a Ragged Phoenix

“Shoreham is a great town for this sort of thing and we were so pleased with the way it worked out, with the help of Adur and Worthing councils.

“There were thousands of people watching in the town centre, some walking by and others stopping to listen. On Sunday, there were about 100 people there and the airport memorial made a great backdrop.”

A collection was made for RYA Sailability, a charity working with young people and adults with disabilities, and £1,200 was raised.

Mr Frost said: “We were extremely pleased with that, and they were as well.”

DM1516937a  Brighton Morris

DM1516937a Brighton Morris

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DM1516929a  Pamela from Ragged Phoenix

DM1516929a Pamela from Ragged Phoenix

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DM1516920a Fenstanton Morris

DM1516920a Fenstanton Morris

DM1516904a Victory Morris

DM1516904a Victory Morris

DM1517054a  Morris dancers in Shoreham taking a break

DM1517054a Morris dancers in Shoreham taking a break

DM1517023a Sompting Village Morris

DM1517023a Sompting Village Morris

DM1517015a Mary Bane from Box Hill Bedlam

DM1517015a Mary Bane from Box Hill Bedlam