Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival

This is the ceremonial procession of the annual Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival, which I shot earlier today. The day was blessed by largely good weather, and the dancers, musicians, mummers and other handsomely-attired people made for an extraordinary spectacle.

“Rushbearing dates back several centuries to the time when rushes provided floor covering in the churches. Each year, the old, rotten rushes were thrown out and new ones were taken to the churches in carts. This gradually turned into a celebration and holiday involving revelry, music and morris dancing.

The modern Festival is the only one of its kind in Yorkshire. The focal point of the event is the sixteen feet high, two-wheeled, handsomely decorated and thatched Rushcart, which is pulled by sixty local men dressed in Panama hats, white shirts, black trousers and clogs. They are accompanied by music and five or six teams of morris dancers.

A team of young ladies take turns to ride on top of the cart. A very precarious position indeed. The colourful procession is an unforgettable spectacle as it winds its way through local villages over the course of the weekend.” (excerpts from www.rushbearing.co.uk)

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Greg Wilson opens ‘Electrospective: Manchester Pre-Rave ’82-’88’

Seminal north west DJ and producer, Greg Wilson, opens proceedings at the Electrospective event. Held in the artistic hub of Islington Mill in Salford, the event aimed to highlight the creative and cultural importance of Manchester’s dance and music scene during the 80s. Discussions and showcases shone a light on the relatively undocumented period of 1982 to 1988, as new music influences and techniques helped shape a generation of young, mixed audiences; and lay a template for the dj culture/house/rave era which followed.

Greg Wilson opens Electrospective at Islington Mill, Salford

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Greg’s undisguised passion and knowledge of this fertile period of Manchester’s musical history underpinned the event, and he chaired a discussion with four of the major DJs of the time: Hewan Clarke, Colin Curtis, Chad Jackson and Mike Shaft. Their anecdotes, opinions, musical knowledge and sheer enthusiasm gave a fascinating insight into the late 70s and 80s in Manchester. During a few hours genres such as post-punk, jazzfunk, soul, electrofunk, hip hop, electronic disco and proto-house were covered, alongside clubs like the Haçienda, Legends, Rafters, The Gallery, Angels and others.

Two core pillars of B-Boy culture: breaking and graffiti, were also represented by the Broken Glass and Street Machine crews, and Gecko. Unfortunately I had to leave before the breaking and DJing started, but I’d attended the Broken Glass reunion gig in 2004, and expect the floorwork was equally good this time round. Special mention must go to Tim ‘Bones’ Forde, whose documentary ‘The Birth of the British B-Boys’ was shown on rotation at the event. His introduction and tribute to a former crew member added poignacy to the event. You can watch his raw and passionately personal account here on YouTube.

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The Britannia Coco-Nut Dancers at Bare Arts, Todmorden

The Britannia Coco-Nut Dancers at Bare Arts, Todmorden

From deepest Pennine Lancashire comes the extraordinary troupe that is ‘The Britannia Coco-Nut Dancers’. They resemble a curious mix of greek soldiers in national dress, crossed with coal miners; and they dance, sing and entertain with marvellous gusto. I really didn’t know quite what to expect until I saw them in the flesh: however their folk sounds, infectious humour, consummate agility and capacity to put away fine ales won me over. You can read more about them here.

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Carlospresents… the Four Ages of Man

Carlospresents… the Four Ages of Man

Look carefully. Yes, there really are four of them in the photo. Carl, celebrating his ascension to the venerable age of 28, decided to make a circuit of the table in Bare Arts, fuelled by the biere du jour. Many happy returns Carlos!

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Free Sandwiches at Bare Arts

Free Sandwiches Live

Knees up in Bare Arts, Friday 11th April.

Enjoying a refreshing glass of Trevor’s freshly brewed Cascade Ale on a Friday night. Music courtesy of the Free Sandwiches.

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