Saturday WorkshopsSo, on Saturday morning, I started off by going to learn some Cajun, where I met Shirley and godiva696. Hadn't done it before, but it was fun (am tempted to find somewhere local to give it another go, but I suspect it may fall by the wayside due to lack of time). It's sort of like rapper, but in pairs, with a limp and without any swords (i.e. couples tying themselves in knots to music).
After that I went to Richard Mason's appalachian workshop. I've done a bit before, so I knew some of the basic steps. Most of the IVFDF workshops I've been to on appalachian have mainly focused on teaching the steps, so it was interesting to go to one where they were put together into a dance. Although, it would have helped if the dance had been called a bit more, as it turned more into a memory test of what came next rather than useful time practicing what we'd learnt. Even, with that it was a fun workshop though.
In the next spot I organised my own showering and drinking tea workshop, which was extremely well organised and nicely left me clean and full of tea in time for lunch. It was a shorter workshop then some of the others that were going on at the same time, so it left me time to say hello to catmint_1984 (who can show you how much fun it can be to dance with someone in a wheelchair), once I'd figured out who she was.
In the afternoon, there was the display ceilidh, which was quite fun this year. Was impressed with the Round's many styled Merry Andrew, they'd obviously spent a lot of time thinking about that. Seemed a shame they couldn't have got more of the newer younger people in it (it is a student festival after all, so it's nice for the displays to be predominantly students).
The Gogs display was a bit confusing, as I thought for a moment there were 2 Emmas, until I realised one was Daisy (who doesn't even look like Emma). All this getting new members since I moved away is very confusing! OK, admittedly there were never 2 Emmas, as I didn't notice the real one playing until I'd realised Daisy was Daisy (unless of course she was Emma and Emma was Daisy or perhaps they were just both Jacob really?. Argh *hmmm_tea's brain is finally defeated by molly disguise, and so gives up, packs it's bags and emigrates to another planet*)
After a quick bite to eat, I wondered along to catmint_1984's workshop on dancing in wheelchairs. They'd borrowed about 10 chairs and we danced a few "tweaked" ceilidh dances with half the set in wheelchairs and half on foot, and swapped around between dances. There were lots of people afterwards saying how good it was for disability awareness, etc, etc, but I'll just settle for saying it was immense amounts of fun, especially the Willow Tree at the end, even if it did leave me with both thumbs bleeding, having discovered the hard way what happens when someone push the chair unexpectedly during the strip the willow.
Saturday EveningAs I do most IVFDFs, I spent most of the Saturday evening in the contra, as they always seem to be the most energy filled contras I go to during the year (probably because the average age of the dancers is so much lower at them). This year was no exception. Fiddlegang were amazing and was Rhodri's calling. The evening was made even better by being told that my dancing had been mesmorising in one of the dances *makes note not to dance like that too often as a contra with a whole set in a hypnotic trance sounds somewhat less fun*
After the contra went to see the tail end of the Committee Band ceilidh (turned out just to be the last dance) before sitting around with the Cambridge group for the late night dancing. There was also the benefit that they had lots of cake, and some salty liquorice (which was surprisingly tasty, unlikely salty chocolate *remembers chocolate covered pretzels*). Also, it appears that gogs would be quite keen on me coming back for a practice (Helen tried to organise me in this respect on the way home on Sunday, but my diary won and I couldn't make that date. Am aiming to head up there on 14th April though instead).
SundaySunday morning I started off with a Salsa workshop. Have only really tried Salsa once before, when Rosie tried to teach me at a party a few years ago. I suspect learnt better first thing in the morning without any alcohol.
After that I went for another tea workshop, which rapidly turned into an early lunch when it became apparent they were running out of food in the cafe-thing. I found godiva696, Heather and someone else I don't know the name of there, so sat and chatted to them for a bit before everyone else joined us and we went off to the survivor's ceilidh, which rounded off the whole festival.
dancin_dan, Helen and I were all due to get the same train back to London, so we all headed off to find food together and took most of the remaining Cambridge people with us on a random walk around Exeter. In the end we had tea near the cathedral before getting a chinese takeaway near the station (there's something fundamentally bizarre about sitting in first class eating chinese takeaway).
Overall SummaryIt was generally a good festival this year.
If I was going to make one criticism, I would just say it was a shame Richard Mason was chairing again (his 5th time). Although, I'm sure his input must have been very valuable given his experience, it would have somehow been nicer if he'd taken a more backseat advisory role and let someone else have a go. I think one of the best things about IVFDF is how it offers the chance for anyone to gain experience of running it if they're part of a student folk group able to take it on.
Admittedly this will have happened anyway, as there will have been a number of other people on the committee and helping the committee who wouldn't even have been around last time it was in Exeter in 2004 (let alone the other 3 times he's chaired it), but given the size of Exeter FolkSoc, I can't help but feel that there must have been someone else both capable and willing to take on the overall driving seat. Then again, I've really no idea what went on and for all I know they could have twisted Richard Mason's arm into doing it.