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May Day 2020 press release

Morris dancers set to zoom up the sun on May morning

News release for Friday 1 May 2020

Morris dancers around Britain are going to inventive lengths to dance up the sun on May morning, despite the coronavirus lockdown.

They will welcome the traditional start of summer with a repeat of a global online festival that has seen dancers take imaginative steps to make up for the lack of partners.

Jenny Strike, of Bournemouth-based Holly Copse Molly, trained her two shelties (Shetland sheep dogs), called Chestnut and Pandemonium, to join a dance in her back garden in Child Okeford, Dorset.

Her dance – called Regent’s Bark – was part of the global Lone Morris Festival for St George’s Day.

Dancers around the world posted videos of themselves dancing in full costume in their gardens –alone, or with press-ganged family members. Some danced silently, without music.

One persuaded his neighbours to join in a socially-distanced hand-clapping dance in the street. Another dressed her washing line in a shirt and top hat and danced around it.

Hexhamshire Lasses and Hexham Morris Men of Northumberland plan to dance in unison inside their homes at 5.32am on May morning, linked to their musicians with the Zoom conferencing software.

The morris festival is one of a number of virtual traditional events over the May Day weekend.

The Lone Morris Festival was dreamed up by Kath Brickell, of Anonymous Morris in Poole, Dorset. She said: “I posted my idea on Facebook to lift the spirits, and thought that a few people might join me.

“When clips of lone morris dancing started to be posted, it was clear that the Lone Morris Festival had gone worldwide, with people joining in from America, Canada, New Zealand and the Ukraine.

“Dances were done with sticks, handkerchiefs, feather dusters, wooden spoons, a horseradish, and even a rotary washing line. It was amazing to see so many happy smiling people.” 

Pauline Woods-Wilson, President of The Morris Federation, said: “We have been sad to hear of the deaths of several members of the morris community from the coronavirus.

“Technology means we can keep up customs that began centuries before the internet. Some of the results have been a bit quirky, but all the best English traditions involve a little madness.”


Pauline Woods-Wilson, President of The Morris Federation

Simon Pipe, representing The Morris Federation

Kathy Brickell, Anonymous Morris, Poole, Dorset, initiator of the Lone Morris Festival

Jenny Strike, Holly Copse Molly Dancers (dances with dogs)

Brian Bell, Hexham Morris Men (zooming at 5am)

Fee Lock, Secretary of The Morris Federation, and Hastings Jack in the Green joint organizer


Find dancers’ videos on Facebook with hashtags #LoneMorrisFestival and #StGeorgesLMF and #MayDayLMF:

Please avoid the outdated term “morris men”: all three national morris organisations welcome male and female participants. There is NO EVIDENCE that morris dancing was ever a pagan fertility rite.

VIDEO (free to download and use/edit):

Jenny Strike and her dancing dogs:
Also on Facebook:

Simon Pipe’s 15-second broom dance:

A compilation video of the first Lone Morris Festival, compiled by Owain Boorman:


Last Updated: April 2020



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