Gate to Southwell Festival June 8-10 2018

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Weren’t we lucky with the weather this weekend at Southwell, which is always a good Billy weekend. It was good to see new dancers out for the first time in some of the dances.

However, age and health, both mine and Mum’s, dictates that it is no longer practical to continue as members of the side. This has been a difficult decision, especially for Mum as you can imagine. So, when this years membership expires we will not be renewing it.

Don’t think that you have got rid of that easily, we plan to come and watch you dance whenever we can. We also hope to arrange some of our weekends away around Billy weekends away so that we can see you all and check those lines!

I’m not doing the big farewell speech as we will be seeing a lot of you in the future, but I do have to thank every one of you for your friendship and support given to both Mum and I over the years. We both look forward to that friendship continuing in the future.

Wednesday evening dance out at the Monkey club will be my last so I am hoping for plenty of sunshine, a terrific sunset over the roofs of Armitage Bridge and very few midges. I can dream!

Steve and Mary


I really enjoyed the weekend at Southwell, one of my favourite festivals. Making our scarecrow “Billy” for the competition was fun, he turned out rather well I thought. It was a weekend full of great dancing, music and laughter. It was lovely to see Liz and Pat enjoying their first weekend away with us, lets hope it is the first of many more. I was happy to finally dance a couple of dances again after a long absence due to injury – now I need to work on my fitness and stamina! 

Helen Wilcock


My fourth visit with Billy’s to this festival and this time Susan came too.   Where Billy’s had tents or camper vans, we had a self contained cabin in the garden of our b&b – glam camping.    A bit of a rush to catch the 09.05 shuttle bus on Saturday morning but very acceptable otherwise.

Billy’s led the procession again  which I think we do well: the Ploughslots must think so too as they keep asking us to do it again.   With four drummers we certainly announce that something is happening!

It was good to have more dancers so that we could show off more of our repertoire.   It was also good to be sharing one spot with Mortimers so that we could do a double Walton’s Parade.

The festival seemed less well supported this year.   The festival field on Friday evening was busy but much quieter on Saturday with fewer concert events apart from the main marquee which was said to be heaving.     I enjoyed the Boothill Toetappers described as Nottingham’s six piece duo who kept the Barleycorn stage next to the main bar going on Friday evening although they seemed to bring a lot of groupies in the audience with them.    But one of the two Steves was a great fiddle player and they both had a good line in musical comedy.     On Saturday there was an Canadian  group called The Boxcar Boys who mix folk, klezmer and traditional jazz whom I liked better than Susan so we didn’t stay for their whole set.   Apart from the English Contra Dance band who are a truly excellent fiddle and keyboard duo, I didn’t rate the ceilidh bands particularly.

There was an opportunity to catch up with some Worcester City Cotswold and Appalachian dancers who happened to be there as well as seeing Kelvin, not being a Bunny from Hell, briefly before the procession.    So one’s past catches up from time to time.



A big thank you to all the Billys for the invitation to my first dance out and making me feel so welcome. It was a great pleasure to play for the side with David being so encouraging. I arrived at the campsite very late on Friday night due to the unfortunate fact of living in South London, but cheers to Robin and Ann for getting my really inadequate tent together in the dark. Lucky no rain as they did point out it was in no way waterproof and was really stretching the definition of tent. I have already got camping equipment upgrade syndrome. The dance out day in Southwell was awesomely fun. I am working out all possible ways to relocate to Yorkshire and get some clogs on me feet. Tim.


It was my 64th birthday on the 10th June and I was surprised to hear the band setting up with what I thought would be Happy Birthday- instead it was a long but lovey rendition of the Beatles When I’m 64! It was a lovely moment and I feel very happy to still be dancing in my 60s! Southwell was fabulous- its a great little festival- all on site, lots of good music and food. Perfect. Good to see Carla dancing out and to have Pat and Liz camping with us. It was also Tim’s first experience of camping and he loved it. We were impressed with his hat band of oasis to keep his flowers fresh all weekend.


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