A traditional folk festival will bring history alive in St Albans this week.
St Michael’s Street Folk Evening will take place on the first Wednesday on July 2 as firmly established in the calendar since it began in 1988.
St Michael's Street will be closed from 8pm to 10pm for the 27th annual event. When it re-opens, music and singing will continue until closing time in the street's two remaining pubs and dancing will continue informally in the Blue Anchor car park, which will still be available for dancing, despite the recent closure of the pub.
Ten dance groups, representing traditions from all over England and Scotland and the Appalachian mountains of the United States will be dancing in St Michael’s Street, joined by pupils from St Michael’s School completing maypole dances in their lower school playground.
Wicket Brood, from Bricket Wood will perform lively but mysterious dances from the Welsh borders. Traditionally the dancers used soot or burnt cork to paint their faces black to disguise themselves, but to both avoid misunderstanding and add colour, the Wicket Brood dancers use green and purple face paints.
St Albans Morris Men, Phoenix Morris from Rickmansworth and Woodside Morris Men from Watford will provide entertainment from the Cotswolds, while Ramrugge Morris from Knebworth and Whitethorn Morris, from Harrow, will take their dances from the North West of England where the dancers' clogs resounded in the cobbled streets.
Stevenage Sword dancers will perform intricate rapper dances from the north east of England inside the pubs as well as in the street. Tappalachian, will feature dances based on traditional stepping from the Appalachians, performed in tap shoes.The Hiel and Toe Club will represent Scotland, while English Miscellany will dance in a variety of styles as their name implies.
Also providing entertainment will be Irish musicians from Comhalthas Ceolteori Eireann, who will join musicians who play on Wednesday nights in the White Swan during an informal session in the Rose and Crown, while there will be ukulele music from the Ver Players in the car park.
In the Six Bell duo Run of the Mill and fellow members of Redbourn Folk Club will provide signing entertainment. The Swan Vesta Social Club will be performing their music from Cuba and beyond in St Michael’s Churchyard.