Winter Wednesdays in Watford: dancing at the Pump House; keeping healthy and keeping an ancient tradition alive; singing in a summer pub and music in the beer garden; traveling the country and meeting new friends; drinking and chatting on a rainy evening in our green and pleasant land.
Although the Summer months are taken up with dancing at pubs, festivals and other events; it is the Winter months when we hone our skills to perfect the art of Morris Dancing. Doesn't always work out that way, but Foreman Dave Pearse certainly does his best with the materials he has available. Us.
Dave Pearse: Our Foreman
Dave P has been dancing since dinosaurs walked the earth, we think, and has been teaching Morris at Woodside since the 1980s. He also dances Rapper Sword with The Hoddesden Crowns Men, where he has also been Foreman.
We also have a number of members with young families, and as such, we like to hold events in which everyone can get involved. The pub nights are always an opportunity for families to come along, and our weekend and festival dates are also an excellent opportunity for family activities. Dancing at a village fete or school fundraiser will only usually take up around half an hour or so, and the rest of the time is our own to take a look around and get involved.
The big family event of the season is usually the weekend away, for which we pick a beautiful part of the English countryside and spend the weekend on a campsite, with family and friends. We do a bit of dancing, but the weekends are generally just an excuse to get together and have a pleasant weekend in a relaxed environment.
In the last decade, Woodside have become more involved in the UK's folk festival scene. The majority of festivals are held over a weekend, but some can be as long as a week. These festivals are an excellent opportunity to get to see some of the country's top folk talent, and when you dance at them as an invited team, the season ticket for all events will usually come gratis! Woodside have gained a good reputation at these festivals, receiving regular invites. The majority of events Woodside attend are generally within an hour's drive, but there are a few that take us a little, or a lot further, such as the Folk Festivals at Whitby, Wimborne and Oxford.
What do Morris Dancers do in the winter?
Throughout the winter, between September and May, Woodside practise on Wednesday nights at the Pump House Arts Centre, just off the lower high street in Watford. The team are always on the lookout for men of any age who would like to try their hand at the English martial art, so if you are interested, why not give it a try!
Please use this site to find out a little more about Woodside Morris Men, Morris Dancing in general, what Morris Dancers get up to all year round, or the English Folk Scene.