ORAL HISTORY

November 20, 2015
Hi everyone

We are hoping to get some funding to develop an oral history strand to add to the existing Barsham and Albion digital and physical archive. Need I say that  your memories are our greatest resource!

If you would be interested in participating, could you reply by sending an email to fairsarchive@gmail.com and this will enable me to keep all the replies together. We will then get in touch with you to establish a few more details.

Thanks everyone :0]


Announcing…..

October 7, 2015

A CEILIDH

at

OLD HALL

East Bergholt

Featuring the SOAS Ceilidh Band

with

The Fairs Archive

+ Mystery Guests

Saturday, 28 November 2015

from 19:00 to 23:00 (GMT)

FOR FULL DETAILS CLICK HERE

Looks like it’s going to be a good one,

so be there if you can…


Three in one..

September 25, 2015

Hardly a breathing space between them for us, so here’s three events in one post.

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Harlequin Fayre 2015

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A fabulous new site and perfect weather, can’t see how it can get better than that.

Pitched in the embrace of three hawthorn trees, the yurt/exhibition was placed in the most perfect spot so far on its travels. The potential for this site to produce some magical Harlequins in the future is enormous if handled right. The nature of the site leads to a sort of secretive layout were things can be discovered down woodland paths sheltered by so many magnificent old trees. Some beguiling street theatre and a lot of good music served to keep everyone entertained.

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Folk East 2015

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Although lacking some of the attractions that have added to its trademark over recent years, it was still a wonderfully atmospheric event. The crafts area was particularly fascinating, being populated by some very talented artists. Enjoyed by more visitors than before, hopefully success is finally starting to build for John and his team after all their hard work over the years and so it should, musical events like this without the taint of a corporate undertow are all too rare these days. Some class acts were on, notably Martin Carthy, Neil Innes and our faves,The Unthanks, who were utterly magical in the drifting fog that crept in during their performance. Pitched in what has become our regular spot near the entrance to the lovely Soapbox Stage, we had our usual birds-eye view of yet another wonderful site.

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Maui Waui 2015

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An open flat field, that’s what we like, camping became a joy and produced a nice comfortable end to our season. Maui’s now familiar clover field gave us all a wide open venue to enjoy. A breath of fresh air and lots of good music enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience. A feel of the old fairs, which seems to be some sort of assumed bench mark for these events, was ever-present in its looseness and optimism and many of the attendees were very familiar with those times, which contributed to the ambience. The presence of the inflatables of the family Harries only served to add to that resonance, particularly with the Albion fairs. Maybe one day we may even get to see, once more, the giant earth globe, featured in so many of our gallery photos. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking, hope not…

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It was also the scene of the draw for the 2015 raffle which had been running since May. Mr John Row again randomly selected the winning tickets for us. Congratulations ! Cathy Hembry, (green ticket 122) and Hugh Jones, (green ticket 224).

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We’d like to extend our thanks to everyone involved in these three events, Sam, John, Silas and everyone that worked with them, especially the stewards, security and litter pickers, for the warm welcome that we received. Also, warmest thanks to everyone who supported us morally and financially, with kind words, donations and purchases. Without you, we couldn’t have done any of the events this year, let alone these three.  Here’s to 2016..!


The Festival.

August 6, 2015

Here’s a rather belated post about our visit to the West.

It was a success. We were made very welcome and given a good pitch near the entrance by Sam Hermitage, co-organiser of Green Futures, which also happened to be celebrating its 25th anniversary.

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SONY DSCWe felt like the new kids, but settled in once the field took shape, more so after the public arrived. There was a fair amount of interest over the 5 or 6 days the exhibition was open, much more than we expected to be honest. Quite a few ex-fair people turned up, as well as the simply curious, whose response was surprisingly positive and encouraging. Most importantly we made some new contacts which will lead to more material being entered into the archive.

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2015-06-29 12.11.38We ran a special prize draw, (the proceeds of which helped us break even with our costs, thanks Alan), which featured a copy of Alan Dearling’s beautiful and informative book, Festival Daze, which was won by none other than sign-maker extraordinaire, Rodger Wilfert. The ticket was drawn by the wonderful Martha, borrowed from the Love Zimabwe stall opposite.Thank you Martha 🙂 (www.lovezimbabwe.co.uk)

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We’d like to give a special thank you to Glennie Kindred for her support and assistance, without which we probably wouldn’t have got there in the first place or managed to cope with running the exhibition once we were there…

Thanks Glennie  🙂

Hopefully we’ll return to Glastonbury next year with an expanded version of the exhibition for this unique and wonderful festival.

Next stop Harlequin..

Big love to you all, from the archive crew.


A few words… About Glastonbury

June 20, 2015

That little shiny bubble of the archive, the exhibition, is finally venturing outside the area of the East Angles, to travel West in the footsteps of many who were involved in, or who were affected by, the phenomena of the fairs.

The yurt is going to the Green Fields of Glastonbury at last. A site has been reserved in the Green Futures field (which sounds like a bit of an anomaly considering we deal primarily with the past) and we will see if the circle will be completed. It certainly feels like it might be, but then that could just be a romantic notion.

On the subject of romantic notions, it’s apparently been said that we are rather starry-eyed about the whole phenomena. However, those who come into the yurt mostly want to talk about, and remember, the fantastic times they had and it’s not unusual to hear people say that the fairs changed their lives. So, we tend to focus on the positive effects the best fairs had on the people that experienced them, rather than the internal politics that entangled some of the organisers.

Anyway, back to Glastonbury… The encouragement we’ve received so far to visit the Green Fields seems to show an interest is waiting to be satisfied, otherwise we wouldn’t have been drawn towards it as a practical venue. We have already met quite a few who worked or attended various fairs and who now work in the Green Fields so a web of connections is maybe there to be uncovered. Hopefully, this visit will establish a few facts to show what part the fairs actually played in the wider subculture of the time and how they fit into the context of the present day. Green Futures may be an appropriately titled venue after all..

Come and find us if you’re going…:)


The Yurt Goes to Town…

June 8, 2015

             THE FAIRS ARCHIVE at the UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA

When Prof George McKay, Leadership Fellow for Connected Communities, had the idea of holding a one-day conference to fit in with Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Norwich, his next thought was to invite the Fairs Archive. As a long-time fair-goer and supporter, he knew that we would add that special-something to the keynote speeches and presentations as part of “Festival Cultures: Media, Place, Music” in the Thomas Paine Study Centre on the UEA campus.

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Thomas Paine Study Centre

I must say that we were skeptical at first but intrigued to think that we would be putting the yurt up in a very different context to our usual sites.

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Strange bedfellows?

 Some of the delegates had decided to attend the conference so that they could spend the breaks reminiscing in the yurt, so we made new friends (among them, Robert Gower, Chris Anderton, Tim Wall and Roxy Robinson) and saw some “old” friends from the Harlequin Fayre too.

There were quite a few motorists who thought they were dreaming as they passed us, failed to see the speed-control humps and hit their heads as they left their seats. Some LsOL  were had!

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What the ….?

Thanks go to George for organising a very successful day.


The Weird and Wonderful Wood Fair 2015

June 5, 2015
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“Roll up, Roll up ….”

When we first thought of a travelling exhibition, the main idea was to use it to gather memorabilia, like casting a net. Now that the flow of incoming memorabilia seems to have slowed down quite a bit and after a winter of exhibition inactivity with funds at an all time low, there was a general feeling of “why are we doing this, what’s the point?” 

Within the first hour of opening the yurt at this year’s Weird and Wonderful Wood Fair, the answer came embedded in the reaction of our first visitor: “Please don’t stop. What you are doing is so important to us, it means such a lot.. And so we were plainly reminded of the main thing that now keeps us attending these events, so easy to forget in the winter months.

It’s difficult to pin down exactly what it is that makes people react in such a way. It’s not just simple nostalgia, a remembrance of lost youth or suchlike. It seems to go deeper than that. It’s more like a  re-connection or a validation that those times actually happened. A period where people, given the opportunity, just simply worked together for a common good, or a commonly good time, whichever you choose…

Somehow we have become a sort of mobile collective memory bank, reassuring and reminding us that humans are capable of collectively producing something without thought for gain and a touchstone for something real. Something that’s not so possible in these proscribed days of health and safety and draconian licensing laws.

Anyway enough of that, back to the Weird and Wonderful.The weather was kind, as it always seems to be, attendance was high and the atmosphere relaxed and genial..what more could you ask for?

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SUNNY DAY AT WWW 2015

The exhibitors were, as always, diverse and interesting with the beautiful Haughley Park location dotted with artworks and theatre performers.

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So thanks to Tarby and her crew for inviting us once more to share at such a lovely event.