(Not) The Hobby Horse Festival, Banbury, 16 October 21

With the Hobby Festival once again being postponed for Covid related reasons, our Bagman had the inspired idea of AVMM filling the gap in the calendar by entertaining the shoppers and merchants of Banbury with the full range of our dances whilst introducing two of the finest ‘Osses in the land, viz. Charlie and Percy to the crowds that gathered quickly wherever we performed. Starting outside the White Horse we processed through the pedestrianised lanes of the town to dance whenever the mood took us. The weather was calm and unseasonably warm and spectators were happy to linger and show their appreciation for our unique repertoire. Starting with just six dancers we encouraged members of the public to join us on our audience participation numbers, which they did in good numbers. One such volunteer turned to be a member of the original 1970s revival side, Chris Taylor. After living in the Netherlands for a couple of decades Chris has returned to live in Banbury. He danced with us on Constant Billy and Shepherd’s Hey and then joined us for the rest of the afternoon enjoying seeing Postman’s Knock, Happy Man, Old Woman etc as well as our double double jigs: Shepherd’s and Jockey to the Fair. We were also privileged to have a Royal Academic of Music trained cellist, Matthew Forbes augmenting the wonderful sound of Donald’s melodeon.

Adderbury Village Morris dancers and musician (L to R) Troy with Luke, Richard, Owen, Donald, John, David and Ryan joined by Chris Taylor and Matthew Forbes – photo courtesy of Hannah Ekers

All in all it was a great day and I feel sure we made many new friends in the town. We certainly fielded more than the usual number of enquiries about our availability for future displays, the origins of AVMM and Morris dancing generally. My thanks to Ryan, David, Richard, Troy and Owen for dancing as well as to Dylan and Luke for helping with the horses and to Chris and others who joined us during the day. Last but not least, thanks to our musicians, Donald and for part of the day, Matthew. We’d also like to thank Hannah our photographer and Jacky and Sam for cheering us on.

Squire John Ekers

Action shot – literally – our horse riders Dylan and Luke with hobby horses Charlie and Percy, go to ground in Banbury market place. Photo courtesy of Hannah Ekers