watervole: (Default)
 I've been watching a TV series following the staff at Claridges, a very expensive and old London hotel.

It brought together a number of thoughts in my mind, which cohered while I was reading an entry in Ranunculus's DW journal.

One of the things top end hotels do so well is continuity.  The napkins are always folded exactly the same way, the paint is always fresh,  the staff tend to be the same people year on year.  When people return, they are returning to a familiar place, where they are known and they feel at home and secure.

There are several things that evoke this sense of place for me.  Conventions are one, especially if they've been in the same hotel for several years.  I can walk into the Radisson Edwardian at Heathrow or  the hotel in Coventry that Redemption currently uses.  If there's a convention there, I will instantly feel at home.  The faces are familiar, the reg desk is in the right place, I know where ops will be.  It feels right and safe and known.

Christmas can have a similar effect.  Once I put the decorations up (which I don't do until very close to the day), the house is a subtly different place.

I think that's why I ended up on the Wimborne Minster Folk Festival committee.  Wimborne in festival week is a known and familiar place. I know where the Appalachian dancing will be.  I know where I will eat tea with my family on Sunday evening.  The dance teams are known to me and the dance styles.

If the festival had ended, I would never have been able to return to that much-loved place.

A 'place' can be ephemeral, but still very real.
watervole: (Morris dancing)
 I seem to have ended up on not one, but two folk festival committees.

I was in Wimborne this morning, looking at dance spots and stall locations for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival.  It's been a lot of work so far, but I'm getting a good feeling about it now.  There's some really good ideas starting to come out and I think we can do some interesting stuff that the old committee were unable to do.  I want to do a lot more stuff for children and run workshops for morris and longsword and other traditional dances.  We want to do a lunchtime family ceilidh and all sorts of stuff.

I'm also helping with Poole Quay folk festival - first meeting for that is in a week or so.
watervole: (Morris dancing)
 Wimborne Folk Festival - the event that got me into morris dancing many years ago - has reached the end of the line.

I've attended every year since I first discovered it, danced, listened to music, soaked up the atmosphere, collected  for it and always enjoyed it.

I'm not really surprised the organisers decided to call it a day, the event has been on a financial knife-edge for years.  It's very popular, pulls enormous numbers of people into the town, but gets very little financial support.  The thing that's really pissed off the committee (some of whom are friends of mine) is that there are fringe events that make big money running beer tents and the like on private land, that donate no money at all towards the costs of the festival.

Thirty two years is a long time for volunteers to maintain an annual festival.  Have chaired several conventions, I'm well aware of the amount of work that goes into organising a large event, how much goes on behind the scenes, and how much the general public underestimate the costs involved.

As a family, we've supported the festival with more than words.  We've gone out every year for the last fifteen years or so and put major effort into the street collection.  We know (because the committee told us) that the Festival would have folded several years ago without that effort. 

There are people talking about trying to save the festival.  Whether people will come forward, I don't know.  Whether they'll come forward and then change their minds when they realise the financial liability, I don't know either.  I'm noting some really daft comments on Facebook:  "I'm not aware of any attempt to ask the pubs for money" is probably the best so far.  (Just how the commenter expects to be aware of every letter and phone call is a mystery to me.)  http://www.facebook.com/SAVEWimborneFolkFestival   Though, to be fair, there are many people who clearly want the event to continue and want to help in some way.

Is it something I'd try and get involved in?  I don't know at present.  (I can see something else on the horizon that may grab my free time first, so I'm holding off from saying anything.  I'm reminding myself how stressed out I get from con-running, but also remembering the buzz when an event goes really well.)

watervole: (concertina)
It was an interesting experience hosting 7 dancers over the weekend, but we're using to large numbers of occasional visitors, so they fitted in pretty well.  Nice group of people with widely varying backgrounds.  They're all Slovakians living and working in London and got to know one another more or less by chance.  I had some very interesting conversations with them.

Here's a couple of photos taken by one of the dancers.


watervole: (Default)
Judith Proctor


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