Clog Dancing At The Two Rivers Folk Festival - a Memory of Chepstow.

I went to this folk festival for the first time this year and got some memories that I will never forget!  Exciting music and dance memories at the entertainment venues around Chepstow plus a never to be forgotten rain soaked camping experience on the Chepstow racecourse along with woeful sanitation!

The dance display teams are a crucial and vital element to any folk festival. The  Two Rivers Festival organisers put together an impressive list of Morris teams representing all styles of Morris Dancing from around England and Wales with a heavy emphasis on the "Border Style". Overseas visitors were there too:  “Orange Peel Border Morris” came from Ontario, Canada and for me a highlight was the traditional folk dance troupe from Finland  “Samppa Folklore” and their band “SydWäst Parainen”. I was able to play along on my piano accordian with their musicians on Sunday while waiting for the Festival procession to get started.  

On Saturday the town burst into life as the dancers entertained around the main square along with thwir bands and crowds of onlookers. Heather and Gorse Clog Dancers were visiting from Devon and entertained outside the Tourist Information Centre in the morning - I joined their large band with my piano accordian. Later we danced and played at two spots in the High Street and Bank Street where there were huge crowds watching.

For me the highlight was Sunday as there was a long Morris procession with all the teams dancing across the old iron bridge from the Elmdale (English) side to the Bridge Inn (Welsh side) followed by a mass dance with all the teams giving a display of their skills in front of The Boat Inn and The Three Tuns. Fortunately the appalling overnight rainstorms abated so we were able to dance and play our instruments on the bridge in the dry!

A memory shared by John Howard Norfolk on Jul 8th, 2008.
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