Three down, two to go: Priddy Folk Festival approaches!

In just over a week, Northgate will be heading down to the delightful Somerset village of Priddy for our fourth festival of the summer.

Accommodation is a little basic

With Bradford, Chippenham and Wimborne Minster festivals behind us, we’re very much looking  forward to this one as we haven’t been to it for about twenty years! We’re also keen to get stuck into the pub crawl (of the delightful Queen Vic Inn), though we suspect we may need to cast the net slightly wider and bring a few more pubs into the mix.

 

Also appearing will be our Bristol cousins Silver Flame Rapper, who will be bringing their own magnificent dances with them, and the amazing Lasair, a ceilidh band who really will get everyone dancing!

Are you going to make any jokes about it being Priddy good?

No.

Can I see a preview of this excitement?

Good grief, of course you can! Get along to The Curfew in Bath any Tuesday night from 19:30 onwards. We’ll be the noisy ones upstairs: come and say hello! And why not give it a go while you’re there? You know it makes sense.

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Wimborne Minster Folk Festival, here we come!

So, with Bradford on Avon and Chippenham folk festivals under our belts already, we hard-working lads of Northgate head south today to the lovely town of Wimborne Minster for our third festival of the year.

We have the standard dance spots, processions and ceilidh appearances, but inevitably this is not enough for us. We will be spending any free time on Saturday invading the town’s pubs (politely, of course) to bring the festival where it belongs: inside, next to the bar.

And if that weren’t enough, we’ve arranged to dance at a brewery tonight. Blimey.

Do you have anything else to add?

No. Get down to Dorset and have some sword-related fun. See you there.

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Fully recovered, practice is back, then Wimborne Minster Folk Festival!

Northgate will be big in Wimborne Minster

Following the punishing (and mostly self-inflicted) dance schedule we had at the amazing Chippenham Folk Festival, the lads of Northgate decided to take  last week off. Sadly, this meant we missed both a beer practice at The Curfew and a chance to meet up with our chums from Oxfordshire, Mabel Gubbins Rapper, at the Wessex Folk Festival in Weymouth yesterday. Boo. Even worse, we also missed the wonderful music of the great Foxglove Trio. Boo again.

However, there is a happy ending to all this, and we all like a happy ending.

This period of rest means we’re all nicely recovered for next weekend’s spectacular Wimborne Minster Folk Festival! Running over the weekend in the beautiful Wimborne Minster, this promises to be a great addition to our festival visits this year. We’ve even got an invitation to dance at a brewery (Eight Arch Brewing) to get things off to a good start, and possibly ruin us for the rest of the weekend.

Wish us luck, and come and join us in Wimborne Minster, in Dorset. In fact, we’d recommend it to anyone(*).

But wait… you mentioned practice!

Indeed we did. If you can’t wait until next Friday, get along to The Curfew in Bath on Tuesday night at 19:30. We’ll even let you touch our swords.

(*) This comment taken from our new book, Weak Puns from Northgate.

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Chippenham Festival done, and we’re taking a week’s holiday

WE RAN OUT OF PUBS!

We’ve just got back from our weekend playing at the great Chippenham Folk Festival, and we’ve had an amazing time.

Over the weekend, we danced somewhere around 45 times, doing rapper, longsword and, in a surprising twist, solo jigs.

We ran a couple of well-attended rapper workshops, having inducted many people into the ways of running with blades in reasonable safety. We took a new team out on their very

Caffe Nero, of all places

first crawl, incorporating all the pubs we could find in town.

We danced at ceilidhs, including the to the fantastic Lasair, and in the streets, and on stages without count.

Oh, and having run out of pubs to dance in, we turned to coffee shops. Caffe Nero were particularly pleased to have us.

So a big thanks to the festival organisers. Two festivals down, three to go!

You’re taking a week off?

Hell, yes. See you next week at The Curfew!

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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

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

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.

Monday

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?

No.

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!

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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!

JOIN US!

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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