To say that organising the Dark Gathering this year has been challenging would be an understatement! All sorts of spanners have been thrown into the works, but amazingly where a person or a side have departed, there have been folks who are only too eager to step into the breech and fill the void. I thank you all! 🙂
As you can see from the poster, we have a very full line-up of activities and performers this year. Whilst on the subject of the poster I want to personally thank Chris White who designed it at very short notice. Even more amazing is the fact, and I hope he doesn’t mind me mentioning this, that Chris is disabled and is more or less housebound being a full time carer for his beloved wife. Chris sadly will never be able to attend the Dark Gathering, but has given his full support to the event from it’s inception. Chris is a unassuming, generous and talented guy who has a passion and curiosity for the absurdities of life – who definitely has a soft spot for Osses, Maris and other assorted beasties. Take a bow Chris White! 😀
This seems a good moment to state that provision will be made this year for a live recording of the Dark Gathering. This means that the housebound and people abroad will be able to share in the atmosphere of the event as it happens. So performers and audience be aware – you will be on camera most of the time!
The day will start early this year with a Mari Lwyd Workshop led by David Pitt. In the workshop you can make and decorate your own mini Mari Lwyd shaker to join in with the festivities – and meet some Maris too. It is open to all ages and I really hope I get the time and opportunity to attend myself. If not, can someone make one for me please? 😉 There is no charge for this workshop, although donations are welcome to cover costs. Here’s more information on David: The Crowman – Storyteller
Joining Beltane and Wreckers this year was going to be a new Dark Morris side, Emanon. This happened through a chance remark at Teignmouth Folk festival and as a result, a new Dark Morris side was born. Emanon were to be giving their debut performance at this year’s Gathering – I’m sure everyone would have welcomed their input with interest as they came with a great CV. So new are they that they didn’t even have a photo I could have shown you yet!
I know that taking on a new untried and untested side who I haven’t even seen in action was a bit of a risk – but hey, it keeps things vital and interesting. So much of the organising and arranging of the Dark Gathering is a risk, a gamble, but in a sense you have to accept that it’s all in the lap of the gods how well (or not) plans turn out. So many times now there have been instances of realising that there are gods who care what happens at the Gathering and the community of Boscastle because of amazing interventions, just at the right time. It is said that Fortune favours the brave – however, it doesn’t pay to be too blasé either! All we can do is prepare for the worst and anticipate the best. 🙂
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool
To weep is to risk being called sentimental
To reach out to another is to risk involvement
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self
To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naïve
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure
But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom
Only the person who risks is truly free
Ironically, and just to prove my point about the unpredictability of this year I have been informed by Emanon that sadly, due to the ill health of one of their key members, they are unable to perform this year. 😦
We all hope that the person concerned recovers swiftly and we look forward to Emanon making their appearance another year.
Moving on, I am delighted to announce that we will have a local choir singing in the afternoon at the break (around 4 pm) – the Boscastle Buoys. They collect for charity and this time it will be for Cornwall Hospice Care so make sure you have your change ready when the bucket comes round!
You may have heard that Wytchwood Morris have taken a sabbatical, but some individual members of Wytchwood will be attending the event in a supporting role – and given the collective talents of that side, it will be well worth looking forward to any input from them! 🙂
Finally regarding performers, we have the enigmatic Mr Fox. When asked for a bio I was sent this – make of it what you will:
When eyes do see the naked flame
and ears do hear the brazen beat of drum
When two worlds meet
then twilight’s winding walk is begun…
Down from on high they come
skirting the undergrowth
and into the square…
The dancing ground is old as time
But before that time was bound
The black morass of earth was lit
And the shining star was found…
With smoking clouds and tendrils flare
Amid eternities brilliant glare
the hooded shadows flit…
They crouch and prowl, they run and fight,
They tend the braziers’ fiery heart
With flames that flash as bursts of light
And this is but the start…
As giant, feathered footsteps bound,
Seek to rule the dancing ground
Beneath a moonlit sky…
A blaze of flame, a fire flower
Wrought with magic for the task
Is summoned with unearthly power
By a silent, Silver mask….
Darkness and tears are cast aside
Shadows banished far to hide
Beyond the dancing glow…
A timeless story is evoked
Written in flame upon the night,
Blazing colour, curling smoke…
A battle danced twixt dark and bright.
Hear the drums and seek the flame
The nameless ones who share a name…
The inimitable Mister Fox.
This year the Mari Lwyds will be visiting establishments and households throughout the village during late afternoon, culminating with some steeds joining the procession; and others making their own slow but steady progress to attend the ancient pwnco ceremony at the threshold of the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic. There are a couple of new additions to our equine friends who may make an appearance – so keep alert as they may appear where you least expect them!
Given the growing popularity of the Dark Gathering it has become necessary to make some logistical decisions regarding crowd control and the like. There will be volunteers who will act as marshals, moving folk around when necessary to avoid bottle-necks and to ensure that everyone has a fair chance of viewing the day’s activities. Please try and co-operate with these necessary measures which have to be brought in for health and safety purposes. Also parking became an issue last year so you need to know that there is also a car park at the top of Boscastle near the Napoleon Inn – see map for details.
That’s all for now folks and I look forward, as I hope you do, to this year’s All Hallow’s Gathering. See you all there – here’s last year’s footage just to remind you of how brilliant it all is!