Morris dancing brings great joy to the Cotswolds and nearly every other corner of the UK. Whenever there is a Morris dancing festival, the streets get flooded with Morris dancers, fans and folk enthusiasts. Every participant is dressed up for the occasion. The festivals offer a great chance to celebrate the rich heritage of the English culture. All eyes are on the dancers dressed in fancy costumes, as they perform rhythmic steps, swing sticks and flip handkerchiefs in different styles. The musicians draw their tunes from different sources. Some tunes such as ‘Trunkles’ find roots in very old times. Other tunes like ‘Old Black Joe’ and ‘Getting Upstairs’ come from the music hall era. It all depends on the popular tunes of the day. The instruments used also differ and are connected to the origin of the dance. For example, North West teams often have a brass band or a brass drum. Just as with other genres, Morris dancing undergoes changes. In 2016, the costuming tradition faced a threat and Morris dancers will not be allowed to wear black faces anymore. This ban was influenced by an equality campaign group called Fairness and Racial Equality in Shropshire (FRESh), due to alleged Abuse over black face Morris Dancing. So if you plan to attend a local Morris dancing festival this year, expect some changes in the costumes.

Morris dancing festival

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