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Morris fans aim to dance their way into the record books at annual folk festival

PUBLISHED: 10:23 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 July 2018

Little Egypt Morris at the Potty Morris and Folk Festival
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Little Egypt Morris at the Potty Morris and Folk Festival Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Archant

One of the region’s most popular dance and folk festivals will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the weekend, with attempt at breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest Morris dance.

Musicians at a previous year's Potty Morris and Folk Festival
Photo: KAREN BETHELLMusicians at a previous year's Potty Morris and Folk Festival Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The Potty Morris and Folk Festival, which runs at Sheringham on Saturday and Sunday, will this year see 48 dance sides from all over the country gather in the town centre for a six minute dance to the tune of the folk song Not for Joe, played by musicians from Hertfordshire-based Wicket Brood Border Morris.

Organisers are hoping to top the 144-dancer record set in Preston, Lancashire, in 2015 by a group led by Stone the Crowns Border Morris.

Musicians at the main arena at a previous year's Potty Morris and Folk Festival
Photo: KAREN BETHELLMusicians at the main arena at a previous year's Potty Morris and Folk Festival Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The world record feat, which will be adjudicated by a team of volunteers including Sheringham mayor Madeleine Ashcroft and deputy mayor Liz Withington, will follow Saturday’s traditional opening procession through the town.

Founded in 1993, the festival was the idea of a group of friends who had formed the Lobster Potties dance side as an entry into Sheringham Carnival in 1986.

Dancing in the town centre at a previous year's Potty Morris and Folk Festival
Photo: KAREN BETHELLDancing in the town centre at a previous year's Potty Morris and Folk Festival Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Keen to mirror the success of Kent’s annual Rochester Sweeps Festival, the group decided to invite other sides to Sheringham for a two-day event featuring dancing and folk music at town venues.

Attracting just a handful of sides in its first year, the festival has since grown beyond all expectations and is now one of the main events in the UK Morris dancing calendar.

Dancing in the town centre at a previous year's Potty Morris and Folk Festival
Photo: KAREN BETHELLDancing in the town centre at a previous year's Potty Morris and Folk Festival Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The Sheringham side disbanded in 2013, but a handful of founder members are still involved, including retired Sheringham Primary School teacher Hillary Rayment and her husband Clive, who is now festival chairman.

The Potty Morris and Folk Festival kicks off at 10am on Saturday with a procession through the town. Following the world record attempt at 10.30am, dance sides will perform at various town venues, including the main arena on Lifeboat Plain. Other attractions include a performance by the Sheringham Shantymen, music in the Robin Hood and Lobster pubs and a display of Potty Festival memorabilia at Sheringham Museum. Sunday events include dancing from 10.30am-1pm and music from 2pm onwards in the Lobster garden. For more information, visit www.pottyfestival.com


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