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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Big smiles as Ulverston celebrates tradition

THE cobbled streets of Ulverston came alive with dance and music.

As part of the Furness Tradition festival, dancers and music artists filled the streets, performing a number of traditional English dances and songs.

The sound of the accordion and rhythmic drums in Market Cross brought regular Saturday morning shoppers to a standstill, as they gazed at the colourful dancers in the glorious sunshine.

Carol Garrett, from Swarthmoor, was with her three-year-old granddaughter Oliva, who thoroughly enjoyed watching performers Furness Morris and Betty Lupton’s Ladle Laikers. Mrs Garrett said: “I think she really likes the lady dancers the best, and the ‘clacky’ shoes that they wear.”

As the crowds began to grow, the traditional dancing even inspired some of the younger members of the audience to have a go themselves, dancing in time to the music.

Furness MP John Woodcock was with his daughter, Maisie.

He said: “I think we need to do more to celebrate English traditions and this festival is a great example of that. Ulverston is really leading the way by showing that traditional English culture and things like morris dancing makes a great show on the cobbled streets.”

Ulverston mayor, Councillor Pat Jones, enjoyed watching the dancers and gave the festival a big thumbs up.

She said: “These people give their time up for nothing to perform for us. This to me is Ulverston. It is the sort of thing they’ll still be doing in 2111, they might be wearing space suits but they’ll still be doing it.”

Speaking after a crowd-pleasing show, David Foot, a member of Furness Morris for 20 years, said: “It is always good to have an appreciative crowd.

“If people are smiling and kids are joining in, it is a good sign that people are enjoying it.

“This festival is a good showcase for up-and-coming singers and musicians. And people can get a taste of various styles of morris and folk dancing.

“This is one of the few English traditions that we have now and it is a shame that people send it up a bit when actually it is quite a physical thing to do.”

Mr Foot also hoped their performance may have inspired one or two more to take up the hobby.

The festival began on Friday night with a host of performances from top local dance bands and guests.

Following the traditional dancing in the town centre on Saturday, there was a series of acoustic sets in the Coronation Hall, followed by a big show in the same venue later that evening.

The festival was then rounded off with a few farewell gatherings at various locations throughout the town yesterday.

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