Sheringham set to host 250 morris dancers this weekend

The Lobster Potties dancing on Lifeboat Plain at last year's festival. The Lobster Potties dancing on Lifeboat Plain at last year's festival.

Richard Batson richard.batson@archant.co.uk
Thursday, July 3, 2014
6:30 AM

The lilt of folk music and clash of sticks will echo around the streets of Sheringham this weekend as the town hosts its annual Potty Festival morris dancing extravaganza.

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Pig Dyke Mollies dancing on Lifeboat Plain last year. Picture; KAREN BETHELLPig Dyke Mollies dancing on Lifeboat Plain last year. Picture; KAREN BETHELL

More than 250 dancers from all over the country are due to descend on the town for a two-day feast of folk on Saturday and Sunday.

It begins with a 10am parade through the town on Saturday heading from the RNLI car park near the Leas to the town clock.

Then the 36 dance sides split off to nine performance spots around town – stretching from the Tyneside Club just off the coast road down to the Two Lifeboats on the seafront.

They will include groups from West Yorkshire, Kent, and Leicestershire as well as Norfolk and Suffolk – representing a range of dance styles including border, Cotswold and North West.

The Witchmen at the last year's festival. Picture; KAREN BETHELLThe Witchmen at the last year's festival. Picture; KAREN BETHELL

Co-organisers Steve and Eileen Brown used to visit Sheringham with their Leeds-based Briggate Morris side. When they moved to the town they joined the local Lobster Potties and two years later found themselves running the festival.

“The Potties are down to six dancers, so we always hope the festival will attract some more,” said Mrs Brown.

Other sides were thriving, and among the highlights were the Rockingham Rappers from Northamptonshire who are “sword dancers” – using swords instead of sticks, both for “combat” and patterns with the (blunted) weapons.

The Browns are now in their sixth year of organising the festival, which this year marks its 21st anniversary.

Saturday also sees the Sheringham Shantymen performing on Lifeboat Plain from 1-2pm. The Ugly Dog Skiffle duo are at the same location in the evening form 8pm to 1pm.

On Sunday the action is from 11am to 2pm around town, before the sides start heading home.

Mrs Brown said the attraction of the event was its music, colour and atmosphere.

It has grown from attracting 14 to 36 sides over the past few years, and the town was now at full capacity. Visiting sides camp out at the local high school.

“Some sides like coming because they can also visit the seaside,” she added.

The Potties are keen to recruit dancers and musicians. If you are interested email lobsterpotties@tiscali.co.uk

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