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Event Hosting – JMO Day of Dance – a Guide

JMO 3 logos in lineThe Joint Morris Organisations take it in turn to host an annual day of dance. The host organisation then chooses a member side to organise the day on their behalf. The format of the day is variable, depending upon the organising team and the host organisation. These notes were made after the successful JMO day in Peterborough in 2018.

It’s important to keep your Organisation informed so that they can keep the other Organisations up to date.


Date – choose a Saturday in the early part of year, March or April is best, away from the main dancing season. Consider other annual events e.g. Ring ARM; DERT; St Georges Day; May Day; local Morris and non-Morris events. Notify your Organisation to send out the date to other Organisations & all members as early as possible.

The official invitation should be sent to each Organisation by November, to disseminate to their members.

The Organisations will then collate responses to send back to the organising side by January. The ratio of attendees from each Organisation is worked out at the JMO AGM the previous year according to membership numbers. There may be a waiting list to see if any Organisation has spare spaces. Some sides may prefer to collate the results themselves with the agreement of their Organisation.


Make a rough plan of expenditure & run it past the Treasurer of your parent Organisation. Although the financing of JMO DoDs is the responsibility of the host side, the host Organisation may underwrite losses due to circumstances beyond the control of the host side, if the agreed financial plan has been followed.

Choose a charity to support. Use available collecting tins, without charity labels (there are 24 OM, 42 Ring, 30 available via MF). The absence of charity labels allows sides to be busking and no licence needed and avoids potentially using charity donations to pay costs (this is illegal).

Collecting/Busking Licences – these very much depend on your local Council. Some allow busking and others require collection licences, make a friend in the Council to guide you.

Organisation of the day

Consider involving other local sides to help. Delegate appropriately within your side.

Plan opening &/or closing ceremonies and who will make a speech eg local celebrity or dignitary. Nominate an MC. PA – may be needed for these and any massed dancing. Think about the source of electricity, power of the PA and safety of the equipment when not in use (theft, damage).

First Aid – advice on appropriate provision is easily available. First Aid organisations will be able to advise what level of cover you need when you approach them for quotes. Bear in mind that they are thinking of large enclosed events, and provision for an open Morris event can safely be considerably less than they suggest.

Morris shops – these are always a popular feature, and can be contacted via your Org. They will need to arrange their own trader’s licence with the local Council and must take responsibility for all aspects of their attendance.

Registration point – consider how and where to set it up, how to make it obvious and man it. Create a pack to hand out to attending teams & plan the registration process.

Lost property – decide how you will receive it and reunite it with its owner.

Plenty of Marshalls are necessary. Hi viz waistcoats are available from all 3 Orgs. It’s good to have someone at each dance spot to greet arriving sides. Marshalls need to know their duties – crowd management; health & safety eg traffic; keeping doorways clear; clearing baggage from pavements; access to first aider/ toilets etc.


Badges – may be given out free to attending teams – check with your Organisation for any good suppliers.

Radio, local papers, leaflets beforehand & on the day. Quirky ads e.g. beer mats have worked well in the past. Provide live TV interviews (or ask your Organisation to step in) and newspaper articles.

Social media and web presence.

Printing – you may want to produce publicity material and printed materials to give out on the day to both public and attending sides – check with your Organisation for any good deals available and for advice on what to include.

Sponsorship – approach local businesses and pubs in return for advertising in any leaflets.

Involve council, Mayor, Town Crier, local celebrity eg in opening and closing ceremonies.


Good plentiful flat areas and a supportive council are a must.

Ideally aim for:

  • 3-4 sides per spot
  • Each team to dance at 4/5 different spots
  • No side to repeat a dance spot
  • Mix dance genres at all spots
  • No two sides to dance together more than once
  • Dance spots should be no more than an hour
  • Allow for walking time in between spots
  • Don’t forget a lunch break

Look at previous timetables for ideas as to what might work best. There are computer programmes to make timetables that fit the criteria. Ask a tame IT expert.

Display spots at end of day – ideally 1 team from each Org plus host side. Plan well in advance. Ask each Org to invite a side to display and discuss order of displays with those sides. Host side may also want to display at start of day.

Massed dances at end of day can be popular – choose well in advance. Involve NW, Border & Cotswold dancers. Send out notation & music to attendees well in advance. Appoint a lead musician.

Information for participants

Make sure that you keep all attending teams informed.

Use the JMO DOD website to post all information. Contact your Organisation for access information.

Parking – must be considered when planning the day, and directions/advice included in info sent out to attending teams and on the website.

Toilets – consider asking local venues if they’ll allow teams to use their facilities. Include info with material for attending teams and on the website.

Maps – provide good, clear maps of the locations.

Ask pubs for access, support or sessions.

Saturday evening

Consider organising a Ceilidh or session for the Saturday night.

Guidelines produced by Open Morris 2018

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