3 June 2012 - Chester Folk Festival (Day 2)

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Intense preparations
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This summer has been one of the wettest on record and Sunday 3rd June turned out to be a prime example of this. The day was wet, drizzly and soggy. Enough said.

A lunchtime start for the first stand gave us the perfect opportunity to partake of a hearty brunch to tide everyone over. Thus we descended on the Tea Rooms of Eddisbury Fruit Farm whose stall we had spotted on the festival site. The farm is conveniently located just outside Kelsall. With so many of us eating, the food took a while to arrive but it was freshly cooked and very pleasant. In any case, we were not in any hurry. As its name implies, the farm sells apple juice and cider and we were able to sample the wares.

Suitably refreshed, we made our way with some trepidation to the Royal Oak pub in Kelsall. Here we received a wonderful welcome from the manager who arranged coffee for everyone. We were due to dance in the car park but it was obvious that the weather would prevent this. Undaunted, the staff of the pub cleared the rear section of the establishment to provide a perfect dancing area. You can see what I mean from the accompanying pictures.

We were joined by Black Swan Rapper,JD & Folk Appalachian Flatfooting and Chester City Morris Men.

Kettle Bridge started the proceedings with St. Helens, using their latest equipment, the mega-bobbins. This was followed by the ever spectacular rapper dancing of Black Swan. I am always amazed by the amount of skill and practice that goes into rapper where the slightest error could have very nasty consequences.

Then it was the turn of Jake and Dan to demonstrate their excellent Appalachian clogging, always a joy to watch. This was followed by Kettle Bridge dancing Annie's. The floor was not suitable for Chester Morris Men to dance on, but, not to be left out, they sang "Tilbury Town", to much applause.

Back round to JD again but Dan's performance nearly turned into a disaster as his trousers started to descend as he danced, much to the amusement of the Kettle Bridge dancers. Margaret stepped in to resolve his predicament and he managed to complete the dance without further mishap.

After another display from Black Swan, Kettle Bridge performed Manx, with no holds barred. Chester then sang another song and we danced the garland dance Marston. As the rain had relented a little, Chester Morris Men courageously ventured outside to dance. Well done to them! There was just time for Kettle Bridge to finish off the stand in a rousing fashion with the ever-popular Cossington.

We must give a special "thank you" to the manager and staff of the Royal Oak who couldn't do enough to help and it was only through them that we managed to put on a show at all.

Then it was off to the Lord Binning where we were due to be dancing in the car park at a late afternoon stand. Inevitably, this had to be abandoned due to the weather and the lack of a suitable alternative venue.

We consoled ourselves by arranging to have dinner back at the Royal Oak where they managed to rustle up a fine meal for us all. Thanks are due to Hamish for looking after us so well.

And that brought the curtain down on a very wet but ultimately satisfying day of dancing (and eating!).