Music, culture and dance celebrated at Wath Festival

Samba band at the annual Wath Festival. Picture: Allan Wilkinson
Samba band at the annual Wath Festival. Picture: Allan Wilkinson

The streets of the Dearne were filled with music, comedy, culture and local traditions over the May Bank Holiday weekend as thousands of people turned out to celebrate the annual Wath Festival.

Despite changeable weather more than 5,000 visitors lined the streets and piled into venues to watch dozens of bands, dancers and street entertainers perform.

Throwing of the bread buns from Wath Church tower.

Throwing of the bread buns from Wath Church tower.

Dave Adnitt, chair of the Wath Festival Organising Team, said: “We had a sudden downpour on the Saturday which maybe affected the number of people we had visiting compared to previous years, however everyone who did come said what a great time they had.

“We also had people coming from all over the UK, from Wales, Scotland and down south.

“This shows the wide appeal and diverse audience of the festival.”

He added: “We had some fantastic support from local school children, organisations and businesses.

Morris Men dancing at Wath Festival. Picture: Allan Wilkinson

Morris Men dancing at Wath Festival. Picture: Allan Wilkinson

“In addition, we had some really amazing musicians on across various stages throughout the whole weekend which kept the crowds entertained.”

The four day music festival featured one of folk music’s most well respected acts, Show of Hands, who have previously performed at Glastonbury, at Montgomery Hall on Sunday evening.

Other acts taking to the stage include Jez Lowe, Rob Heron and the Teapad Orchestra, Billy Mitchell, Edward II, the Tom McConville Band, Jessica Simpson and The Willows.

Probably the busiest day of the festival was Saturday, which saw a procession from the town centre to All Saints’ Parish Church for the popular throwing of the bread buns from the church tower around noon.

The tradition was started in 1810 by Thomas Tuke, who left a will demanding 40 dozen penny buns be thrown from Wath Parish Church tower every year on Christmas Day forever.

His bequest was made part of the town’s May Day celebrations and the annual Wath Festival.

Crowds also enjoyed street dancing, comedy routines and a maypole dance.

In addition, visitors enjoyed watching performances from school children, Wath Morris, Harthill Morris, Barnsley Samba Band and Karen Murillo-Norman’s maypole dancers.