Nowt queer for folk at village evening

A sleepy St Albans street was transformed by an evening of lively traditional music and dance last Thursday.

The St Michael’s Folk Evening is an annual event at which local music and dance groups perform.

From 8pm the street was closed to traffic and during the next few hours, a festival atmosphere was created by folk musicians and dancers. Hundreds of people filled St Michael’s streets to participate in the festivities and soak up the atmosphere.

Eight different dance groups entertained the crowds in the open air, including St Albans-based Tappalacian, St Albans Morris and Bricket Wood’s Wicket Brood Border Morris. A flamenco group also performed in front of the distinctive Hertfordshire Puddingstone.

Les Packer, a member of the band that accompanied Tappalacian, commented that the folk evening, at which the group performed for the third time this year, was always “a wonderful environment”. He continued: “It is lovely to see so many people watching the dancing.”

Away from the packed street, spectators were enticed into the four pubs along the stretch by live folk music performances which continued throughout the evening. The Swan Vesta Social Club, a St Albans-based Latin-inspired band, entertained at the Black Lion while Maclaren Wall was the main act at the Six Bells.

Maz Urbanowicz, bar manager at The Black Lion, said that the evening was “absolutely fantastic” and the pub was packed with people dancing to the catchy Latino rhythms of the band. He added: “We look forward to the evening each year. Everyone, including the staff, had a lot of fun.”

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The folk evening followed hot on the heels of the St Albans Folk at the Festival weekend, bringing together music and dance in celebration of the rich local folk culture.

Unusually, spectators were not asked for donations, since both the musicians and dancers performed for free, and the music did not finish until the pubs closed.

Jo Marion, from the Six Bells, said, “It is a great all round evening with something for everybody.”