Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Still Not Flagging! from All around the Globe Nations Unite at Our Great Folklore Festival Which Celebrates Its 44th Anniversary This Year, but It's

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Still Not Flagging! from All around the Globe Nations Unite at Our Great Folklore Festival Which Celebrates Its 44th Anniversary This Year, but It's

Article excerpt

Byline: Keith Newton reports

FLAG wavers and drummers, unusual costumes, a rare language and even a Minister of Culture will be seen and heard on Teesside when one of the area's most colourful and long-standing festivals begins.

The Billingham International Folklore Festival celebrates its 44th anniversary this year and performers from across the globe will head to town for the start on Saturday, July 26.

Director Joe Maloney had booked 11 groups but lost one just this week. Now he is busily trying to find a replacement. The lost group is Le Ballet Exotic du Robert from Martinique in the French West Indies.

"They're very colourful and we've been dealing with them for months but now suddenly they say they can't get the money to come," says Joe, who has been festival director for 11 years.

Luckily there has been a delay in printing the programme, so he has time to find a replacement and is urgently using contacts in Turkey.

Meanwhile, the Dojo Taiko drummers will be taking part in a festival experiment.

"We are trying out a one-night only performance for the first time," says Joe. "They will be taking up the whole of the first half in the Wednesday concert in the Forum Theatre with the Russian group taking the second half.

"They will also be presenting a drumming workshop for 14 to 18-year-olds from 2-4pm that afternoon."

This session costs pounds 10 and more mighty drumming will come from the Indians who will be performing on the opening Saturday only.

The Italians are one of the most ancient flag waving groups in the world and have performed at Olympic Games and before European football championships.

Unusual costumes will be sported by the Russians who come from the Ural mountains and feature a lot of fur in their outfits. The rare language is spoken by the ethnic minority Germans and is more Slavic than Germanic, while the Romanians are actually a cross-border group that is partly Hungarian. …

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