Year-long project ends with Whapweasel ceilidh
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A YEAR-long project to get Teesdale folk up and dancing will come to a close this weekend.
Eight-piece folk rockers Whapweasel will bring the curtain down on the Ceilidh Project, run by Music at the Heart of Teesdale with a performance at The Witham, Barnard Castle, on Saturday, March 14.
The show is the last of four seasonal ceilidhs which have been staged across the dale, with others at Bowes, the Scarth Hall, in Staindrop, and at Mickleton.
Prior to each performance, a free public ceilidh workshop has been held beforehand to offer tips on the skills required to play for dancing, and on Saturday this will be held at The Witham between 1pm and 4pm.
Project co-ordinator Rupert Philbrick said: “Led by the members of Whapweasel this will be a brilliant opportunity to develop your playing skills – all you need to bring is your own instrument to play.”
After Whapweasel’s performance on Saturday, the project will wrap up on Sunday with one final ceilidh calling workshop at Winston Village Hall from 11am to 3pm, led by Music at the Heart of Teesdale’s resident caller Michelle Holding.
Mr Philbrick said: “If you've ever wanted to learn about the dances in more depth, learn how to call or even just come along for an extra play or boogie, this will be a fantastic event.”
The Ceilidh Project came about after members of Music at the Heart of Teesdale’s youth folk group Cream Tees said they wanted to incorporate dancing and to learn the skills for playing at ceilidhs.
Funding to cover the costs of a resident caller at each of the events came from the Northern Heartlands arts support group.
Mr Philbrick said the response to the project had been encouraging.
“It’s been a gradual increase in numbers throughout, both in terms of the workshops and the performances,” he said.
“Over the last couple of workshops, there have been big contingents of adults attending.
“We made them open to the public and to begin with it was generally members of Cream Tees, so it’s been really nice to see other people taking up the opportunity as well.
“We wanted the project to provide the chance to bring some of the best bands in the country to Teesdale, sharing the experiences we have provided for Cream Tees in attending national festivals with audiences closer to home.”
He added: “The ceilidhs have been fantastic.
“The music and the bands have been hard to trump, with audiences growing at each event.”
Tickets for the Whapweasel ceilidh are £7.50, £5 for under 16s and £20 for a group of four. The show starts at 7pm.
They are available via online booking only – go to www.thewitham.org.uk for details.