Saturday 19th May 2018
For our second annual Day of Dance we planned:
- 50 dance sides (that’s 450+ dancers and 200+ musicians) including Morris, Lebanese, Scottish, French, Welsh, Irish, Appalachian, Majorette, Minuet and Polish dancers.
- To set a new Guinness Book of Records’ world record for morris dancing – the current record was 144 dancers set in 2015.
- Live music and singing sessions in town centre pubs including English, Irish, French and Appalachian music, classical guitar, jazz, sea shanties and a folk sing-around.
- A range of events around town including a free drop in concert in Trinity Church, boat trips on the river and canal, a children’s village fete with donkeys rides, Austin 7 vintage car rally, steam traction engines and a bar/fast food court.
Unfortunately, with our planning well advanced, the royal wedding was announced for the same day. Five dance groups cancelled immediately saying that one or more of their members had dropped out to watch the wedding, leaving them below strength. By 21st December 2017 we were down to 31 sides, still a good number by any standard but we feared that as sides met for their next practice in the New Year more would drop out threatening our Morris world record attempt – we’d need at least 20 Morris sides for that. Then market traders began to pull out for the same reason. Finally, music venue pubs began pulling out, wanting to run their own wedding themed events with booked lunches and big TV screens. With the greatest of regret we were forced to cancel the whole event.
The danger was that we simply would not get the size of audience we need to cover our self funded costs. We already knew that one section of families would stay at/go home in the afternoon to watch the football cup final but now an even bigger group would probably stay at home to watch the wedding all morning and early afternoon – by which time it would run into the football. The last royal wedding left the town’s streets deserted so there was a very high probability we would loose most of our audience. Early in the New Year we faced significant financial commitments, around £4K, to get the event rolling. It was simply too risky to spend that sort of money knowing there might be a low spectator turn out especially as the bulk of our income comes from spectator collections.