On a Friday in September 2019, Stumpy Oak made their debut appearance at the eminent home of English folk music – Cecil Sharp House – as part of the Knees Up Cecil Sharp ceilidh series.
A dedicated national centre for folk music and arts based in London, Cecil Sharp House takes its name from the influential English folk dance/song collector and founder of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) – an organisation that has its headquarters at the House alongside the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Cecil Sharp House hosts a year-round programme of folk events including courses and classes for people of all ages, a busy social dance and music performance schedule, lectures and conferences and art exhibitions.
On arrival, the lovely venue staff greeted the band and proceeded to turn on the stage lighting, setting the scene for a joyous evening of dancing.
Turn-out was good, with attendees including a clutch of well known ceilidh callers (organisers Mary Panton and Gordon Potts plus Fee Lock), friends and family of the band, and a surprise contingent from Sutton Masque border morris side. During the interval, the crowd was treated to an impromptu Cotswold tradition double jig from Grace (Sutton Masque) and Ollie Simons (Peterborough Morris/Cambridge Morris), accompanied by Ben Moss on the fiddle. How lovely! Ceilidh dances included an adapted version of the Circle Waltz in Sicilian circle formation, Gordon Potts’ step-hop The New Mrs Arrowsmith, plus the ever-popular Willow Tree.
The band thanks the organisers and really looks forward to a return visit in the future. They were lucky to have accordion player Barry’s mum (Lolly Watson) along to document the evening in photographic form; some of the photos from the evening are included here/on the Stumpy Oak Facebook page.