Chippenham Festival timetable released!

Northgate dance spots

Northgate’s dance spots

We’ve been asked by a surprising number of people where we’ll be appearing at Chippenham and when. Always ones to court any kind of adoration, we take great pleasure in publishing this timetable of what we’ll be up to this bank holiday weekend at the fantastic Chippenham Folk Festival.


Saturday is a rather busy day, starting with an appearance in the Arena followed by a workshop for anyone brave enough to want to learn how to run with swords in relative safety. After this we’ll be dancing around the town until the evening, when we’re setting off on a quick nine pub crawl. Should be a giggle.


Sunday is pretty light in comparison, but you can expect us to be around the pubs are per usual, bringing our own special brand of mild peril to a gasping audience.


We’re holding a workshop for more advanced dancers on the Monday morning, including any survivors from the beginners’ workshop on Saturday.

Expect much more in the way of indoor entertainment throughout the day, though possibly from a rather jaded side…

Can we see you beforehand?


But next Tuesday you can come along and meet the team at the splendid Curfew in Bath from 19:30 onwards.

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Bradford-on-Avon festival: done. Chippenham is next

Dancing at the Tithe Barn

After a great time at the Bradford-on-Avon festival yesterday, the lads of Northgate are winding themselves up into a frenzy of anticipation for next weekend’s Chippenham Folk Festival.

Can they keep up the pace? And will they continue with the longsword?


Bradford-on-Avon Festival

This was the first ever one, with nearly thirty Morris sides (and one that dances with swords) making an appearance. The dance spots were centred around the ancient Tithe Barn, backdrop in the above photo, and the equally beautiful town centre.

We took the opportunity to dance out our new longsword dance, Little Elgin, which is the first time we’ve ever done such a risky thing. Oh, and Joe entranced a pub-full of punters, who were sad to have missed the Morris dancing, with a great solo jig.

All in all, an excellent day. Roll on next year.

Chippenham Folk Festival

Next weekend sees us crossing the border into Wiltshire yet again, this time to dance in Chippenham throughout the bank holiday. We may even bring out the longsword again…

We’re also going to run a couple of workshops, the first one being on Saturday at 11:30am. See our Facebook page for details.

Do we really have to wait until then?

Of course not. Come along to The Curfew in Bath on Tuesday night at 19:30, learn some sick moves and steal a march on the others coming to our workshops. See you there!

Photograph © Caroline Nisbett, Bell’s Angels Morris

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Bradford-on-Avon Festival and Texas Holdem

The calm before the storm

It’s going to be a busy few weeks for the lads of Northgate, what with the great Chippenham Folk Festival coming up, and before that we’ll be at the very first Bradford-on-Avon folk festival!

Yes, the beautiful Wiltshire town of Bradford is holding its very own folk festival, very much focusing on the dancing side of things. There will be around twenty five Morris sides appearing on Saturday, along with one rather lovely sword team. That’ll be us.

If you want to join the fun (and you do want to join the fun), come along between 10:00 and 16:00 tomorrow, 19 May.

But you mentioned Texas Holdem!

Indeed we did. At our practice last week, in the fabulous Curfew in Bath, we were visited by a couple from Texas. They were suitably impressed with our dancing and asked if we’d mind their joining it. We were very happy for that, and soon the Texans  were given swords and the did indeed Hold’em. Haha. See what we did there?

Jordan was even more impressed than his wife: “This,” he said, “is the second greatest vacation experience of my life.” The first was smoking a hookah in Palestine, so we’re in pretty good company.

If you’d like to follow in the footsteps of our transatlantic cousins, get on down to the Curfew any Tuesday from half seven, then come upstairs and join us.

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Project Secret Surprise is go! Chippenham countdown continues!

A Clue?

In honour of our upcoming booking at Chippenham folk festival, the lads of Northgate have decided to branch out from their habitual, spring steel-related sword shenanigans and are adding a surprise new dance form to their repertoire.

But which new dance? Street? Costwold Morris? Ballet? All were considered, all were rejected.

Perhaps the photograph here will give you a clue. It’s a picture of a sword which is not very short. As a further hint, the dance we’re learning comes from the north of Scotland and does not include tumbles, neither forward nor backward. Spins are right out too, as is any type of fancy footwork.

What could it be? Only time will tell.

Fancy a sneak preview?

If you can’t wait the few short weeks until Chippenham festival, get along to The Curfew tonight at 19:30 and you can have a quick view of the future.

And if you fancy joining in, we’ll be more than happy to run you through(*).

See you there.

(*) this is what passes for humour in the sword dancing world.

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Learn to dance at our workshop at Chippenham Folk Festival!


We’re off to the wonderful Chippenham Folk Festival for the late May Bank Holiday, and we’ve been asked to run a couple of workshops.

The first one is on the Saturday at 11:30, and is aimed at beginners.

So if you’re in the Chippenham area over the next bank holiday, and have always hankered after the ability to run with swords in reasonable safety, then come along and meet the lads. We will guide you from Total Beginner to Someone Who Has Danced Rapper A Bit. Who could ask for more?

Details can be found on the festival’s website  or on Facebook.

Bring hard-soled shoes if you have them, and a sense of adventure.

Is there more to come?

Oh yes. Watch this space for more details, which we will be drip-feeding you over the coming weeks to maintain some semblance of intrigue and mystery.

Do we really have to wait?

If you’re super-keen to try this out and want to get ahead of the pack, come along to The Curfew in Bath any Tuesday evening and we’ll be glad to arm with both metaphorically and literally.

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Slowed down training video – including the “Mind the Lights” figure

At practice last Tuesday, we not only had two new dancers in the side (one of whom even lived near Bath), but we had our very own film-maker, David Spielbridge, video our 3DD dance and slow it down for training purposes.

You can see below the intricacies of the dance, with each movement slowed down from its normal lightspeed blur to something that even beginners can learn from.

If you look closely, you can even see some of the secrets of our classic “Mind the Lights” figure, designed to animate the light fittings in a pub and give extra movement to the dance as the shadows play delicately across our honed torsos.

In the background you will notice two surprised but highly entertained Americans who’d come in for a quiet pint before going to a restaurant, but stayed to watch us practise and gorge themselves on Dan’s Fine Nuts.

But you’re in the main bar?!?

Yes we are. The local Green Party decided to use half of our practice room to discuss whether to come third or fourth in Bath in the upcoming election, despite the warnings from the delightful landlady, Emily, that it might get “a bit noisy” when we started. We decamped to the main bar to get away from their bickering which was drowning out the music.

Are you practising next week?

But of course. 19:30 in The Curfew, as normal. See you there.

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DERT over, practice resumes


So DERT happened, and it was a jolly good time in the beautiful town of Kendal, somewhere up north. We enjoyed it immensely, and of course, we was robbed, but that’s par for the course.

So busy were we that we forgot to take any photos of the event, so here is a picture of our number one, J-Dog himself, showing that even at motorway services, we practise.

And on that note, we are returning once more to regular practices after our customary post-DERT break.

We’ll be at The Curfew on Tuesday night at 19:30. We already have one new member coming along, so come along too and see what all the fuss is about. See you there!

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DERT practice disaster – another one bites the dust


We descended yesterday on the excellent Angel Hotel in Chippenham for a final pre-DERT practice day, and it all went pretty well.

Up to a point. Because, just after lunch we had a little accident with one of our swords, proving yet again that having fixed wooden handles at both ends of the blade is not a guarantee of unbreakability.

To be honest, we had already realised this when a similar snapping event happened, and we have started reblading them already. I suppose that this just makes it all a little more urgent!

Anyway, just one crawl and one practice to go before the big day at DERT in Kendal. We can’t wait. See you there!


No light fittings were hurt during the making of this article.

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OFFICIAL! Candidate replacement for Stickman!

Cyanide Rapper Man – the future?

In this post-truth age, we have decided that we need to move on from our old fashioned and frankly old hat stickman logo.

After an intense and prolonged seven minute trawl of the internet, we’ve decided on a new candidate, and we think that we’ve found on that embodies everything that Northgate stands for:

  • excellent rapper
  • fancy footwork
  • good beer

Stickman – old hat

We truly believe that this new logo, known(*) as Cyanide Rapper Man, can make Northgate great again!

Come along to practice at the Curfew in Bath on Tuesday night to see the plan in action.

(*) but only briefly

With apologies to

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A butcher’s from history, and a pub from the near future

As it’s still early in the year, we thought we’d look back at some of the more unusual things we’ve done over the last quarter of a century. And what better place to start than with dancing behind the counter in a Belgian butcher’s shop?

Why did we dance there? A moment’s thought gives the obvious answer: because the undertaker’s was locked and they couldn’t find the key.

It was a nice place to dance, to be honest, with a great floor, although the sign saying “Zwaard danser €10/kg” did make us a little nervous. Luckily no one was hurt, except Mike who lost his genitals in an accident with the bacon slicer(*).

But you said there’d be a bit from the near future!?!

Indeed we did. We’ll be practising as ever this Tuesday at 19:30 in The Curfew in Bath. See you there.

(*) Insert your favourite Carry-On style joke about the bacon slicer having a lovely personality here.

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