creating community through celebration

The Fifth Annual Abbots Bromliad

:  Every Wakes Monday, the dancers in Abbots Bromley, England take up the traditional horns for their legendary 16 kilometer trek of dancing through countryside and pub yards. This year, Wakes Monday falls near September 1st, Labor Day in America.

The California Revels is calling for dance teams and interested individuals to come together for a day of picnicking, dancing and music, which will culminate in the Bromliad a mass dance of the Abbots Bromley antler dance featuring more people than have ever before danced it at one time (we hold the record of 144 dancers in 2010).

This is a free event, but we would love to know you're coming. Please feel free to RSVP and share the event invite on Facebook!

All Abbots Bromley and traditional English, Scottish, Contra, Morris, and other dance enthusiasts are invited to join the California Revels in a day of good food, good music, good dancing and the largest celebration ever of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.

joaquinmiller.jpg This free event will take place in a beautiful glade in Joaquin Miller Park–one of the East Bay's most picturesque park locations–on Monday, September 1st. Picnickers can arrive any time after 11:30 AM. Bring the kids, a blanket and your favorite picnic and beverages. There will be music and Morris dancing (teams cordially invited) as well as called group dancing (callers and players cordially invited, too). Then at 1:00 PM, we’ll set up for the largest Abbots Bromley serpentine ever. The fun continues until 3:00 PM as there will be English, Morris, and other dancing throughout the day as the spirit moves you. Join us and be a part of dance history!

Directions

GPS
3600 Joaquin Miller Rd
Oakland, CA 94602

Then follow the signs.

From the North (Berkeley, etc)
1) Take Highway 13 SOUTH to Joaquin Miller Rd/Lincoln Ave exit.
2) At foot of exit turn LEFT (onto Monterey), then immediate LEFT again onto Joaquin Miller Rd.
3) Go UP the hill 0.8 miles, to the intersection of Joaquin Miller Rd. and Sanborn Dr. (note: Sanborn is a loop. This is the upper of the two intersections.)
4) Find parking on Joaquin Miller Rd, then follow the Revels signs into the park. We are at the Pinewood Picnic Area.

From the South (Hayward, Fremont, etc)
1) Take Highway 13 NORTH to Joaquin Miller Rd/Lincoln Ave exit.
2) At foot of exit turn RIGHT onto Joaquin Miller Rd.
3) Go UP the hill 0.8 miles, to the intersection of Joaquin Miller Rd. and Sanborn Dr. (note: Sanborn is a loop. This is the upper of the two intersections.)
4) Find parking on Joaquin Miller Rd, then follow the Revels signs into the park. We are at the Pinewood Picnic Area.

Unfortunately, there is currently no good public transportation option for reaching the park. (AC transit lines 39 and 339 run up Lincoln, but no weekend or holiday service.)

Participation

What to Bring

  • Picnic Lunch – Revelers often elect to pool their picnics, whereby a meal becomes a feast!
  • Picnic Blanket – space at tables is limited, but the meadow is wide and inviting.
  • Musical Instruments – if you want to play for the dance (see below for sheet music). If you have the Barnes book of English Dance, that would be wonderful to bring too.
  • Antlers – plain or decorated, real or artificial, heck, even a branch will do.
  • or Parasol – to be Maid Marion, the Half-Man, Half Woman
  • or Toy Bow – to be the Boy Archer (please, no real bows and arrows, the park does not allow them)
  • or Hobby Horse – to be the … well, the Hobby Horse.

What to Wear

  • Outdoor Shoes – light hikers or cross trainers are good
  • Autumnal Accessories – for example, head wreaths
  • Supernumerary Character Costumery
    • Maid Marion: the Half-Man/Half Woman – in dress, beard if possible, and parasol
    • The Fool – in motley
    • The Boy Archer – in best Robin Hood attire
    • The Hobby Horse – carrying or wearing a hobby horse. Some wearable hobby horses can be quite elaborate.
  • Some other more or less topical costume – go wild, you Morris Dancers, Faire Folk and Green Men!

Music

If you plan to play along with the Bromliad, here's the tune we'll be using. Referred to as “The Wheelwright Robinson's Tune”, it is the one collected by Cecil Sharp at the time he first documented the dance. The date 1857 refers to the earliest specific date anyone in Sharp's time could remember it being played, but the tune is certainly older. You can hear it played (rather more briskly), along with several other songs to which the Horn dance is commonly performed, at the Folk Mag website. We will play it in E minor, as shown below.

You can print a high resolution copy in PDF format.
And you can hear the music in MIDI format.

Antlers

We will have a limited supply of horns available for you to borrow. First come first served. We will also have a toy hobby horse or two. Or bring your own antlers, bow, hobby horse or fool hat. Be creative! We've seen horns made from tree branches, coat hangers, and cardboard, paper fool hats, bows from a toy store and thrift-shop “Maid Marion” dresses and parasols.

About The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

Click on the antler sets below to learn about the history and mystery surrounding this ancient annual event.

How Is It Danced In England?

If you're familiar with the way the Horn Dance is usually danced in the US, you might find the pace, the energy and the music surprising.

Fifth Annual Abbots Bromliad

Monday September 1 2014, 11:30 AM-3 PM

The Bromliad will take place at 1 PM

Free!

Pinewood Picnic Area
Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland, CA
Street parking available, follow signs to the event.