The spotlight this fifth festival was 'THE GREEN MEN OF SUSSEX'
of the day from Ann & John Bacon, &
of “Green Men” replaced race horses at
Plumpton Race Course on Friday 17th May as
Plumpton Primary School hosted their
“Festival of Traditional Dance” for the 5th
consecutive year in the large marquee in an
300 children in years 4-6 from Plumpton,
Wivelsfield, Chailey, Newick, Hamsey,
Fletching, Danehill and Turners Hill Primary
schools took part in the Festival.
morning flashed by in a happy buzz of
measuring, cutting, sticking, draping and
bending willow wands to create their Green
Men masks and figures.
and Lucy Duff of TRADS led the morning
activities assisted by students from Chailey
Secondary School who worked with each group
of children, passing on the construction
skills they had learned in a special
workshop run by Gail and Lucy earlier in the
the morning each school was given time for a
final rehearsal and to familiarise
themselves with dancing in a strange place
& to get themselves on and off the dance
After a picnic lunch under the trees in
thankfully fine weather, an excited crowd of
"Green Men" formed up in the enclosure to
parade into the big marquee where a large
audience of parents and sponsors of the
event greeted their entry with rapturous
whole day and afternoon performance was
masterminded and introduced by Plumpton
Primary School teacher and Festival
Director, David Johns.
their “Green Men” ranged around the marquee
each school performed their chosen regional
year 5 danced a neat Cotswold “Shooting” and
year 4 a well-called North West Gisburn.
performed a brisk North West and two Maypole
dances, “Barbers Pole” and “Spiders Web”.
danced a spirited North West Processional.
Hill: “Young Dillwyn” Border dance with
two well-timed, vibrant and robust Molly
dances, “Le Jambe de Jean” and “Fenland
a lively long set and circle dance with
danced a Border “Fanny Frail” sung using
their own words and impressively, to music
played by their very own musicians.
School’s “Black Brook Morris” side whirled on
with “Swapsies” a five person stick dance
followed by three sets of “Sheepskins” using
six unsuspecting but good-natured Morris
guests to dance round instead of sheepskins!
They finished with “Farmers Away" a clapping
dance the Plumpton children wrote 5 years ago!
The afternoon ended appropriately for a
Downland village, with everyone (children,
parents and sponsors!) joining in a massive,
stomping and roof-lifting “Shepherd’s Hey”
This unique community event bringing
together children from eight scattered
villages across East Sussex to learn about
English traditions was sponsored by their
schools and local Morris “Sides” (Ditchling,
Brighton Morris, Cuckoo’s Nest Ladies
Morris, Chanctonbury Morris Men, Hunters
Moon Morris, Knots of May Morris and Long
Man Morris), Shirley Collins, MBE, The
Morris Federation, The Morris Ring, South
East Folk Arts Network (SEFAN), Harvey’s
Brewery, Lewes and importantly, by Plumpton
member of “The Knots of May Garland Dancers
” Trixie French wrote to us afterwards,“Just
to say how much I enjoyed the Children’s’
Dance Festival at Plumpton Friday 17th
May. The children were enthusiastic,
smiling and having fun. Good standard of
dancing, great clear calling and sticking.
Lovely to see one school side with their
own music and music band. The kits were
colourful and props brilliant. Please
thank the children and teachers and
musicians for a really enjoyable
afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised. The
future of Morris dancing and music is in
& John Bacon, & Dave Johns