Stroud Wassail features a great gathering of morris dancers for the day. You will find them dancing in the streets throughout the day –outside the Sub Rooms, by the Farmers’ Market, by the Shambles Market, outside the Merrywalks arcade… they’ll be popping up all over the place! And keep an eye out for the odd group of mummers as well.
Here’s the performance timetable for the day (click to enlarge).
Here are the dance sides that have signed up for Stroud Wassail 2017 so far. Click on their names for a link to their websites:
Bakanalia Border Morris are coming all the way from Leicestershire, so win this year’s award for the furthest travelled side.
Boss Morris is a newish women’s side from Stroud. They are colourful and bonkers and are quite unlike any other Cotswold side in the known universe.
Chippenham Morris Men are stalwarts of the Wassail. As well as being a fine Cotswold side, they have some superb musicians, so look out for them in the music sessions in the afternoon.
Clocs Canton from Cardiff are like a breath of spring with their brightly-coloured kit and daffodil garlands. Last year they kept smiling and laughing throughout the rain, and we’re delighted to have them back with us for 2017.
The Forest of Dean Morris Men are first-time visitors to Stroud Wassail, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them. They wear rag jackets but, despite being on the border, they are definitely not Border, but perform Cotswold dances in the unique Forest of Dean style.
Fox’s Morris are a friendly bunch of Border dancers, and they always put on a fantastic performance. Based at Cookley in Worcestershire, they love making their annual pilgrimage to Stroud, where they never fail to delight the crowds. Look out for the lobster!
The Gloucestershire Morris Men are getting on for eighty years old – but you wouldn’t think it to look at some of their athletic moves!
Happenstance is a Border side from Winchcombe. They have the most fantastic shawm player, who is the envy of many a morris side. This year, look out for them accompanied by the musicians and singers of the Gloucestershire Waysailers.
Malmesbury Morris is another Wassail stalwart, and we’re glad to welcome them back to Stroud again. They dance Cotswold with the odd bit of Border thrown in, plus some of their own original dances.
Mason’s Apron are first-time visitors to Stroud Wassail, and we’re hoping they’ll become regular visitors. They’re a North-West Clog side, based in Long Hanborough in Oxfordshire. They get their name from a pub, which is always a good sign!
Merrie Morgana/Aziza Belly Dancers hail from Cheltenham. During the summer they are belly dancers, but in the winter they don medieval garb and become Merrie Morgana. They bring a bit of calm and elegance among the mayhem and madness of the morris folk.
Ragged and Old are a Stroud side and are neither ragged nor old. They perform a range of original dances in the Cotswold style, wearing nifty patchwork waistcoats over their whites. They apparently carry supplies of plasma and booze in their stick trolley in case of emergency.
Stroud Morris is another local side. They’re a friendly and cheerful Cotswold bunch – and if you ask very nicely they might show you their bloomers!
Styx of Stroud Border Morris is the host side for Stroud Wassail. They are loud and enthusiastic performers, and hard-core party animals when off-duty. They’re looking forward to hosting friends old and new on January 14.
The Tattered Court is a brand new, hot-off-the-press Border side from Cheltenham, and we’re pleased to have them joining us for Stroud Wassail for the first time.
The Widders are a Border side from Chepstow. Their dancing is superb and their kit is stunning, although apparently infested with spiders! They have their own Wassail the weekend after ours, and it’s well worth a visit.
Winterbourn Down is a die-hard Border side who kept dancing and smiling through the rain last year. They’re colourful and energetic and it’ll be great to have them with us again.