Saddleworth Morris Men set to fill the streets for 45th annual Rushcart Festival

ABOUT 200 morris dancers and musicians will take to the streets of Saddleworth for the 45th Rushcart event this month.

The much-loved local tradition will take place over the August bank holiday weekend on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25.

Long-serving member Carl Taylor, who joined the side in 2010, will be this year’s Jockey sitting on top of the Cart.

Sides from across the country will pull the Cart through the villages starting on Saturday at 10am in Uppermill Square before processing to Greenfield at 10.45am and dancing to crowds on Kinders Lane.

At 11.30am they will return to Uppermill via Carr Lane and dance outside Saddleworth Museum and the Library Gardens for 12noon-1.30pm.

Delph will be the next dancing spot from 2.15pm-3.45pm followed by the Square in Dobcross from 4.15pm-5.15pm, finishing at The Navigation at 5.30pm-6pm.

The following day, the sides will depart from the Commercial in Uppermill at about 10.30am for a service at St Chad’s Church. 

Dancing will resume afterwards outside the Church Inn and Cross Keys over the course of the afternoon.

The popular wrestling (weather dependent), gurning and the worst singer competitions will also take place.

Saddleworth Morris Men begin rush cutting on moorland above Saddleworth from Saturday, August 3 and will build the Rushcart behind the Commercial in Uppermill, where it has been traditionally constructed since before the 1900s.    

David Biggs, Squire of Saddleworth Morris Men, said: “The Rushcart is a key event in the Morris dancing calendar, as well as one that brings in additional revenue for local businesses, pubs and enjoyment to the ever-supportive public.

“Although morris dancing is an enjoyable hobby, we also keenly feel the expectations that accompany the tradition in making sure it lives on and I’d like to thank the businesses and individuals who support us in doing so. 

“Carl will have the best seat in Saddleworth on top of the Cart and I look forward to welcoming him to the unique club of Rushcart Jockeys.” 

Saddleworth Morris Men are seeking support to help cover the cost of traffic management that accompanies the Cart around its route as well as volunteers to collect donations over the weekend.

If you would like to contribute to the weekend’s success then please email the side for more details: saddleworthmorris@gmail.com

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