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Festival de Danses et Musique Traditionnelle, Poix de Picardy, France

We have been to this small festival several times over the years but, because of the way the Festival dates and the English school holidays work, it is five years since we were there last time.  It is a very relaxed Festival starting early Saturday afternoon with music and dancing outside at the campsite (where most of the visitors stay).  Everyone joins in and as well as doing some demonstration dances, Blackheep dancers and musicians had plenty of opportunity for renewing friendships and joining in the traditional French dances and music.  This session was followed by a dance exchange workshop.  Again, Blacksheep were there learning some of the French dances from other parts of France and also teaching some English Morris.  The Saturday evening Bal followed the format we remembered - a buffet supper followed by dancing.  This year Blacksheep were asked to do a cabaret spot, fortunately early in the evening so we were able to get out of kit and relax for the rest of the night.  The Sunday morning market in the town centre was the site of the next session with a scratch band playing for more French dances and Blacksheep in full kit picking up several spots throughout the morning.  As the weather was good, the lunchtime picnic was held in the local park and here, instead of a dance exchange, there was a food exchange with people bringing and sharing their specialities - the Blacksheep contribution being fruit cake.  Finally, there was another Bal during the afternoon and into the early evening.  This had one of the top bands playing and they had an excellent range of dances where everyone could join in, including all the kids.  The band was so good they had to do three encores!

After the weekend the Blacksheep party split up with one family heading for Versailles to meet up with other family members coming over for a few days and the rest moving to Falaise on the edge of the Normandy "Swiss Alps" for a few day's holiday.