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Press Release

Stanley swept the board in broom dance contest at Dartmoor Folk Festival

 

 

A BROTHER and sister took the top honours at the 41st Dartmoor Folk Festival held at South Zeal near Okehampton from August 10-12.

 

Stanley Frangleton (10), from South Zeal, was the Dartmoor Broom Dance Champion while his sister, Ruth (14), was the Junior Dartmoor Step Dance Champion.

 

Dartmoor Broom dancing involves dancing over a broom.

 

Stanley said that he learned the dance at workshops held at the festival a few years ago and had been practising to perfect the dance.

 

He was up against dozens of other competitors, dancing in front of a large audience.  Stanley was following in a family tradition because his older sisters, Beth and Elsa, have won the broom dance championship at previous festivals.

 

The Dartmoor Step Dance sees dancers step on a 15-inch square board showing the different steps to try and out-step the previous dancer, until a final champion is decided upon.

 

Ruth was chosen by the judges to have out-stepped other competitors to gain the title.  She said she was "thrilled" to win.

 

It was fifth time lucky for Jenny Read of Exeter, who won the adult Dartmoor Step Dance Championship.

 

She previously won the title in 2016, 2012, 2004 and 2002.

 

The wet weather during the weekend did not dampen the spirits of those who attended the festival.

 

All the main arena activities were transferred under cover into huge marquees erected at South Zeal Playing Field, the main festival site.

 

Other events took place at other venues in the village, including South Zeal Victory Hall, St Mary’s Church, local churches and public houses.

 

BBC weather presenter Dan Downs opened the Grand Dart-i-moor Fayre on the Saturday afternoon, accepting some jibes and jokes for the rainy and windy weather.

 

Dan is well-known for speaking in Devonshire dialect and grew up local to the event, admitting that he learned Dartmoor broom dancing in classes when a pupil at Yeoford Primary School.

 

The Friday evening saw a sell-out crowd attend the opening concert with highly accomplished and critically acclaimed Celtic roots music band, Jamie Smith's Mabon.

 

The band had some of those who attended dancing in the aisles.  That same evening there was a full house for the ceilidh with the popular Dartmoor Pixie Band.

 

Most of the concerts at the festival were sold out during the weekend.

 

A dedicated children's festival runs alongside the main programme, making it one of the most family-friendly festivals in the UK.

 

It was 40 years ago that the festival was founded by the late Bob Cann, who lived in the parish of South Zeal.  He had the dream of a folk event on his doorstep that would help to revive and preserve the music, song and dance traditions of Dartmoor.

 

Thanks to the efforts of Bob Cann, his family and friends, and lately his descendants and a strong committee, with the support of an army of volunteer stewards, the festival has grown into one of the top family-friendly folk events in the South West.

 

The festival also included craft displays, dances, music hall, pub sessions and music, song and dance workshops and competitions.

 

Free events included Starter Song Sessions, Shanty Group singing, Folk Club sessions, a ramble on Dartmoor, church service and Youth Music Session.

 

Top local and national artists who attended included Melrose Quartet, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Megan Henwood, Granny’s Attic, Melrose Ceilidh Band, Cardboard Fox, Flash Jack, Ramsley Minors and Pete White’s Suitcase Circus.

 

Children's Festival entertainers included Entertainingly Different, Jackie Clementine, The Makeshift Ensemble, Enchanted Wanderers and Working Woodlands.

 

Morris teams included Cogs and Wheels, Winkleigh, Enigma Border, Great Western and Tinners and JD and Folk dance team.

 

Masters of Ceremonies were Dave Wills, Bill Crawford, Dave Lowry, Bill Murray, Tich Scott, Martyn Babb, Jason Rice and Jon 'o'.

 

Jane White, festival secretary, said: “We had fabulous fun at the festival.

 

“The quality of the artists really shone through and despite occasional rain a good time was had by all.”

 

Jason Rice, chairman, added: “Everything ran smoothly and I would like to thank the 80 volunteer stewards, the association members who help stage the event, the local residents who put up with the tremendous influx of people and all those who attended.

 

“It really was a great festival.”

 

Alan Quick, press officer said: "It was the traditional music, dance, song and crafts of the area that formed the basis for the first Dartmoor Folk Festival and they still remain for the association which runs the festival today.

 

"Since it was founded it has grown enormously and we are able to invite some of the best folk artists around, whilst maintaining the festival's reputation for being a relaxed, friendly and traditional festival.

 

“An action-packed programme was arranged and it was another great festival.

 

"The festival is deeply rooted in the heart of the Dartmoor community and is keeping customs and traditions alive."

 

A campsite of more than 200 pitches operated and many people attended from across the UK.