Over the last two years, May Day Morris has been muted and sporadic – the odd dance-out here, a hastily-arranged Zoom dance there – so the scenes we’ve witnessed today on social media have been nothing short of delightful.
Having called for as many Morris sides to join our Morris dancing directory, we monitored the #MayDayMorris hashtags on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see who was doing what. We’ve said it before and we’ll no doubt say it again: Insta is the natural home for Morris these days, and the pictures and videos flooded into us from the crack of dawn onwards, with people dancing up the sun the length and breadth of the UK – and other countries around the world.
The Tradfolk team split into two, one heading to the top of Windmill Hill in Hampshire to see up the sun with Boss Morris, and the other cheering on our very own Tradfolk Rachel as she saw her #TradfolkRachallenge to a successful conclusion. You’ll find vids and pics from both below. But first some stats.
Tradfolk #MayDayMorris callout in numbers
We received 90 entries into this year’s May Day Morris Directory, spreading across 55 counties/territories in five different countries.
2,053 people visited the directory in the lead-up to May 1st, and 400 more on the morning of the day itself.
Of the listed dances, roughly 60% danced Cotswold Morris, 30% danced Border Morris, 4% danced Longsword, and the remainder danced a mixture of English Country, Clogstep, Garland and Molly.
Of those that submitted their dance-outs, 80% intended to dance the sun up, while 5.2% were still undecided.
65.5% said they’d welcome onlookers to join in and have a go, 25.9% said they’d prefer it if onlookers just watched, and 8.6% weren’t sure what they wanted onlookers to do.
And now for the dances, which we’ll keep updating as they’re sent to us, so bookmark this page and do come back.
Border Reivers Morris – the only side to dance the sun up in Scotland. Pic by @border_reivers_morris.
What’s Beltane without a naked flame or two? Pic by @hemlock_morris.
Tradfolk Rach dances up the sun at the end of her #TradfolkRachallenge.
Adlington Morris on a Cheshire May Morning. Pic by @adlingtonmorrismen.
Wreckers Morris take Kit Hill. Video by Judith Graham.
Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris, having once again conquered Eccles Pike. Pic by @chapelenlefrithmorris.
A dance-out at Dartington Hall. Pic by @dartingtonmorrismen.
Dawn on the south coast with Mary Rose and Royal George Morris. Pic by @maryroseandroyalgeorge.
Butser Ancient Farm prepares a Wicker Man for Beltane sacrifice. Pic by @butserancientfarm.
The Wicker Man burns as Beltane arrives at Butser Ancient Farm. Video by @alexmerryart.
Boss Morris with their Jackie in the Green, dancing up the sun on Windmill Hill.
Blackthorn Ritualistic Folk come suitably dressed. Pic by by @jonblades00.
The Rochester Sweeps with their Jack O’the Green. Video by @linz_pagan.
The Leicestershire Morrismen in Bradgate Park. Pic by @snapperdaz.
Beautiful maypole pics from @stpaulssteinerschool in Islington.
Not dancing this year, Jim Moray takes to his guitar and nails ‘The Vandals of Hammerwich’.
Famous for its May Morning festivities, Oxford welcomed back Eynsham Morris after two years off. Pic by @clementinejamonbread.
Kingston Spring Grove Morris at Box Hill, Surrey. Pic by @rowan_gatherer.
Rampant Rooster dancing at Box Hill. Video by @rowan_gatherer.
All smiles for Pecseatan and Sheffield City Morris. Pic by @james.in.sheff.
This one wasn’t on our list, but Ansley Morris and Glorishears of Brummagem toured Ansley Village. Pic by @julyilly.
A sun-up dance-out on Worthing Pier. Pic by @worthinglarks.
The giants of Todmorden Folk Festival. Pic by Posted @stevenboonphotography.
Dancing in the dark at Malmesbury Cricket Club. Pic by @malmesburymorris.
White Horse Morris dancing in Warminster. Pic by @whitehorsemorris.
Dancing up the sun in the Dandenong Ranges with the @brandragonmorris and @redravenmorris. Pic by @thebritanniamorris.
Whangarei City Morris Dancers, possibly the first side to dance the sun up. Pic from @whangarei_morris.
United States of America
Wonderful views from Asheville Morris’s sunrise spot in North Carolina. Pic from @cdssorg.
Another good May Day for Rock Creek Morris, Foggy Bottom Morris Men, and Sligo Creek Sword in Virginia. Pic by @rockcreekmorris.
Mossyback Morris Men and friends (of both human and fish varieties…) danced up the sun in Gas Works Park, Seattle, Washington. Pic by @waltz9080.
In southern Alsace, Ferrette Morris brought up the sun at Château de Landskron. Pic by @sofi_m_reina.
No Oxford May day pics?