It’ll be two for one for shoppers at Tesco, as customers can grab a basket of goodies before checking out the clog dancing.
North West morris side, Clocs Canton, were left up the aisle without a shopping trolley when the scout hall they practised in could no longer be used due to electrical repairs being carried out.
But, in Tesco’s finest moment, the Western Avenue supermarket has provided the side with a good-sized community room boasting a wooden floor, air conditioning and tea and coffee facilities.
Clocs Canton member, Lynda Edwards, 59, said, “We have only had one evening at Tesco and already the girls are talking about how handy this will be for shopping or the odd pint of milk!
“The room itself is lovely; just perfect for our needs – we ‘ve already had a new person join us for her first night last week.”
However, Clocs Canton’s struggle to find a practice room has raised alarm bells for those wanting to start a new side or move practice venues.
Lynda explains, “To run morris as an evening class is a good idea but it is an expensive way to learn and unless you get ten people to sign up for it the class is a non-starter.
“We are totally self-funded and the only money we earn is either by passing a hat round on tour or from fete and function bookings. The average cost of hall hire is £30 for two hours, which is reasonable, but it would quickly eat up our limited funds.”
Indeed, as well as facing economical issues, Lynda discovered that the traditional homes of morris sides also appear to be hard to come by.
“Local halls are becoming run down and closing, as they are too expensive to upkeep, while community halls are reasonably priced at £12 per hour, but they are in great demand.”
“A couple of pubs also said we could use their lounge bar for free as ‘no-one goes in there’ but these are carpeted with low ceilings and lights, so they are not really suitable. Maybe pubs could be persuaded to rejig their non-used rooms and make them usable for local music and dance groups – they could at least make some money from the extra custom this would bring.”
And with church halls and art centres also fully booked, the lack of venues certainly raises concerns for both new born and existing sides.
Since many teams pride themselves on having no membership fee, this could prove unfeasible if cheap or free venues cannot be found, while the amount of time taken to find a suitable room may mean loss of practice nights.
It appears that sides may well have to stay abreast of this potential problem.
In light of Clocs Canton’s recent problems, Folk Cardiff would love to hear your views. Should morris sides be concerned about this trend? Is the answer to have a small membership fee? Or is the lack of venues all just a passing phase?
Please post any of your thoughts on WordPress and Facebook, and stay tuned for the next news post featuring some unusual folky wall art!