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September 2004 - Newsletter 77

Memory Lane
This August Sidmouth Festival celebrated its 50th year. No, we weren’t at the first one but we did make our first visit as The Yetminster & Ryme Intrinseca Junior Folk Dance Display Team in 1961 or thereabouts. Later we were booked on a regular basis by Bill Rutter, the festival organiser, and appeared at 18 festivals on the trot doing every job going. Organising the song spots, selling books and records, dancing in the Festival Dance Teams, playing for dances and generally scooting around all over the place. We started off camping through the week, then went into hostel accommodation and finally finished up in a hotel on the front. Proper posh by our standards this was. The hotel balcony was certainly a superb place to watch the end of the final Friday night procession. We used to process with everyone else and then make a beeline for the balcony to see the hundreds of lighted torches being dipped into the sea. It was spectacular and also very moving.

Mac’s dad, Tom, was involved in those days. He used to save tin cans all year round for the torches, which were all home made. I suspect Health and Safety might have something to say about that these days. I don’t remember any folksy types having their beards singed though and Sidmouth is still standing so we couldn’t have been too wild despite being wobbly kneed after a hectic week. I’m sure that was the only reason we were wobbly kneed.

At the time of writing the future of Sidmouth Festival seems to be in doubt but we have heard stories like this many times in the past and I suspect the town will ring to sound of Morris bells and fiddles during the 1st week in August 2005.

Old Yetties LPs
My stock of these turns over at a high rate of knots and Halsway Manor Library benefits from the cash raised. If you have any you wish to pass on to good homes or would like to purchase some please ring 01935 814611. At this moment in time I have copies of Keep A Runnin’, In Concert, Dorset is Beautiful, Let’s Have A Party, The Yetties of Yetminster, Dorset Style, The Yetties, Cider & Song, Up In Arms, The Village Band, and The World of The Yetties. Cynthia and I are spending some time in the library refurbishing the books, putting all the information on computer and generally making the place more user friendly. In the end we hope to have a multi-media library with all the LPs, tapes, CDs etc listed on the computer as well as the books.

Halsway Manor
Next year will be Halsways 40th anniversary as a residential folk centre. We have been involved since the opening and, as you probably know, run a weekend there in February every year. This event seems to sell out very quickly but there are plenty of other activities for you to get involved in should you feel inclined. Last week there was a group of Scottish Dance enthusiasts who were also keen on walking. Halsway is ideal for both activities being right slap bang on the edge of The Quantock Hills in Somerset and having a splendid hall for dancing. Other times we have been entertained by a group of 29 Northumbrian Pipers. What a gorgeous sound that is wafting around the ancient building. If you are interested in getting involved why don’t you give Halsway a ring on 01984 618274. They will be delighted to send you a brochure.

Weymouth Summer Season
Yes, we did make it after all. A last minute decision saw us starting in The Ocean room on Tuesday the 20th of July and the season will finish on the 21st of September. This year we have introduced, that standby of most village events, a raffle. All the profits will go to Weymouth Lifeboat and so far the total stands at £169. With another four weeks to run and audiences picking up with the nights closing in we should have a tidy sum to hand on to a cause that is very dear to most peoples hearts.

Some of the audiences this year haven’t been very big because, up until now, the weather has been brilliant. Lets face it, if you were looking for sea, sand and sunshine that’s what you would go for given the opportunity. But, having said that, there’s something very satisfying about starting off with a crowd from all over the country who probably don’t know what we do and finishing up with a bunch of new friends at the end of the night.

We kick off at 7.45p.m. You don’t need to book beforehand but if you feel the urge the box office tel. no. is 01305 783225.

Sherborne Christmas Concerts (Guest Mary Hurst) and New Year Ceilidh
We shall be at The Digby Hall, Sherborne for our usual Christmas Concerts on Friday the 17th and Saturday the 18th of December. The New Year do will also be there and this will take place, funnily enough, on Friday 31st. The Digby Hall does take some finding if you are not conversant with Sherborne. I have a plentiful supply of maps should you need some guidance.

We have, as usual, Richard Helson with us for these evenings and our special guest for the concerts is Mary Hurst. Some of you will have seen her perform at our music club but for those that haven’t she is an absolutely charming singer/guitarist. For New Year we will also be calling on the services of Phil Biggs on drums.

Tickets for the concerts are 6.50 for adults and 5.50 for children and senior citizens and those for the New Year cost 12. They are available from our PO Box or from The Abbey Pharmacy, Cheap Street, Sherborne. Normally we also have them on sale at The Sweeterie in Yeovil but Phil and Val have just sold the business so that avenue is closed. Alternatively you can ring 01935 814611 and Cynthia, Ben or myself will see you right. Hopefully, come October, you will also be able to buy them on line from our shop. Cheques payable to ‘The Yetties’ please.