Cheyenne ‘Turkey and Tinsel’ Country music line and partner dance festival November 10th , 11th, 12th 2017

Photos from Maureen Lincoln : Additional Photos may be found in the Gallery

November and it’s the Cheyenne ‘Turkey and Tinsel’ Country music line and partner dance festival once again, at the Grand Burstin hotel in Folkestone. Overlooking Folkestone harbour with its new walkway over the old railway bridge to the harbour wall that is undergoing much refurbishment, making for a really interesting walk and well worth a visit if time allows! We did on a sunny Friday morning.

Line Dancers
Line Dancers

The festival kicked off with a Friday afternoon workshop for those who arrive early ( or stay Thursday night) are kept busy while waiting for check-in. Line and partner dances kept everyone busy between 1 and 3 o’clock when the festival check in opens. This teaching session was well attended, and as always an excellent atmosphere to kick off the weekend.
After dinner our entertainment for Friday night began with The Twang Daddies an outfit I have heard lots about but managed to miss on circuit, so it’s always great to see artists you haven’t seen before. Excellent musicians even if, as a bit of a purist I found one or two track choices a bit questionable. But what do I know, and the dance floor was pretty busy. Alternating with The Twang Daddies was the room filling personality that is Richard Palmer, with his excellent voice and with some of the best tracks I have ever heard him sing, I thought this was a brilliant two sets of great Country music. We left at midnight leaving the talent that is “Honky Tonk Cliff” keeping the party animals well entertained right through to 1am.

Angie & Shayna
Angie & Shayna

At 10:30 we started the Saturday morning workshop, stopping at 11am as it was the 11th day of the 11th month for 2 minutes well observed and respectful silence. Once again the dancers brains and feet were challenged with line and partner dances. All too fast it was 12:30 and a quick lunch break, you could never leave here hungry! Back in the hall for 2pm to see one of the newest solo talents on the circuit ‘Shayna’ who is the daughter of Cheyenne’s Ky and Angie who seems to have managed to inherit both of their talent! This young lady is a real star in the making and if you haven’t seen her yet you have a treat to come. Ky Rivers took the second set of the afternoon. Always very popular whether it’s Ky and Shayna as Cheyenne, or Ky Rivers or Shayna solo some of the loudest applause and cheering was reserved for our popular hosts who never disappoint. Angie who is recuperating from illness came down to see us and joined Ky and Shayna on stage, this was a real treat and I thought the roof was going to be blown off the Burstin. Shayna very wisely left her parents to it for the requested “You Ain’t Dolly” track, if you wonder why? Listen to the lyrics.
Saturday night brought us Carl Shay another new act for me, I clearly don’t get out much! Carl Shay is a great showman and gave us an excellent show even though he was clearly suffering with his throat, he wandered around the room while singing as well as joining in and having a dance with the line dancers. Alternating sets with Carl was, as Honky Tonk Cliff described him, the ‘Peter Pan’ of Country, Tony Rouse, who as always was fabulous and is a really warm personality on the stage. To round the live entertainment off tonight we had a treat with Carl and Tony giving us a couple of numbers together. So, exhausted it was off to bed!
At 10:30 we started the Sunday morning recap workshop, once again stopping at 11am as it was Remembrance Sunday for the 2 minutes respectful silence. Sunday afternoon and our first act of the day was Nigel Slater, yet another new act for me. Looking forward to seeing him again as he gave a great afternoons show with 2 sets of country music, great performer.

Jonny & Lynnette
Jonny & Lynnette

Sunday night and perhaps we thought it couldn’t get any better, then it did! ‘Fools Gold’ with Paul and his daughter Melissa, as Debs was unwell, gave us a fantastic two sets, filling the floor all night. Last but by no means least the highlight of my weekend was the wonderful ‘Johnny and Lynette’. Great Country music that brought the house down, line and partner filling the floor and bringing this fabulous weekend to a rip roaring close the biggest bang.
If you add this up we saw an amazing 9 acts each of who performed (at least) 1 full set and 10 if we include Angie, and who wouldn’t as it was one of the real highlights of the weekend. I’m still aching from dancing and the variety of acts add to the strength of this festival. You can never ‘please all of the people, all of the time’ but if an act is not to your taste there will be another along shortly, so be respectful. There are very few festivals that have this number and variety of acts which is just one of the reasons we keep coming back.
I have said this many times before but as this was our last time teaching Partners down at Folkestone it’s worth re-stating. This Festival is Country music, Line and Partner tuition and dancing and it’s living proof that even on a busy dance floor with courtesy, patience and good old fashioned common sense everyone can “play nice” and have the most fabulous time together! No-one is more entitled than anyone else on a dance floor and at this festival everyone just wants to have a great time. Cheyenne, Ky, Angie and Shayna provide the environment, it’s you wonderful people who attend time after time that make this the festival it is and ensure it will continue to grow from strength to strength.
Julie and Myself are stepping down as we are retiring from teaching and hopefully going to doing a bit more dancing. Already booked for February so hope to see you then.
Dances taught over the weekend were:
Line: Be Yourself, Dumas Walkers, Imagine That
Partner: Dirt On My Boots, If You Were A Whiskey Girl For 2, A Little Mamba, Hell and High Water
Can’t close this report without mentioning Alan and Vera. While at this weekend we sadly learned that Vera had passed away. Alan and Vera handed the batten to us some years back now, they always supported us and Vera always had a smile for us, even if when we picked a dance she personally didn’t get on with. Blessings and our sincere thanks Vera, good night and God bless.
JB