At Shamabala our brief was to put on pop-up swing dancing shows. Our strategy was to hijack sound systems, appear from no where, bust out our routines to crowds of onlookers and then to disappear again as quickly as we arrived. We performed at sandwich stalls, coffee shops, bars and restaurants, on the bandstand and on stage for the C@t in the H@t in the Electric Swing Circus’s Swingamajig tent. We taught a fair few revellers a few dance moves along the way.
The Mudflappers began at Cloud Cuckoo Land, in August 2013. That festival didn’t run this year but the organisers invited us to its sister festival, Off Grid, to do some irreverent dancing. Off Grid has such a cool anything-goes atmosphere. We arrived, found some people who wanted to dance, and danced with them. That’s what its all about.
Lubstock is such a lovely festival with a fantastic family vibe, and we were very fortunate to be invited this year to make our contribution. We performed our routines on the main stage, taught Lindy Hop and Shag – even getting the sound tech crew up having a go – and all danced until dawn. The band members also got in a bit of wild swimming, an emerging Mudflappers summer pursuit…
We were booked by the lovely people at the Idler Academy to teach and perform swing dancing in front of the Idler Academy Tent at Port Eliot Festival. Our dance floor was a beautifully shaded glade that had a tidal estuary as a back drop. After teaching three classes a day and putting on a show, we dived into the cool waters. And when the tide was out the temptation to crawl out into the oozing tidal mud and do some real ‘mud flapping’ was just too great to resist.
After meeting the Electric Swing Circus back at Shambala in 2013 we were invited to be part of the line-up for Swingamajig, their very cool festival in Birmingham. We did two performance sets before heading over to the main stage to see the Electric Swing Circus put on a storming set to their home crowd.
We are excited to say that enquiries are coming in fast for us to perform at festivals all over the UK this summer so the chances are we’ll be coming to a festival near you. So far we can confirm we’ll be performing at:
- Swingamjig – 4th May
- Idler Academy Summer Festival – 5th July
…more are about to be confirmed, but for now, we have to keep shtum.
Shambala festival has been a firm favourite for many of the individual Mudflappers for many years, frolicking there long before some of us even met… So we were very happy to start contributing to making it the wonderful place it is…
“I was thrilled when a man called Oliver Broadbent approached me on the Sunday at Shambala and asked if we would put on a sort of tea dance… it felt good and right – it was enormously cheering” – Tom Hodgkinson, editor of the Idler.
We love performing at Cloud Cuckoo Land – so much so, we’ve been three times. In that time we’ve boogied in the barnyard, and of course, lindy hopped on straw bales, and, naturally, charlestoned in the puddles. We’re grateful to this festival for helping us form into the group we became – and of course the experience ‘flapping in wellington boots!
The Mudflappers got everyone, and I mean EVERYONE dancing at our Idle Garden party last summer. They were the absolute highlight of the day combining technical skill with a masses of positive energy. It was a whole lot of fun. – Roberta McCaughan, Idler Academy Operations Manager
We are the Mudflappers, a not-for-profit dance collective who perform for the love of dancing and making people laugh. Our stage show mixes the jazz dances of the 20s and 30s – the shag, the charleston, balboa and the lindy hop – with a few new moves of our own. We’ve been dancing at festivals together for a few years and decided it was time for a photoshoot and official announcement – so where better to do it at our favourite forest, Hazel Hill. (In our wellies, of course). Invite us to your festival and we’ll be sure to have people smiling and dancing in no time!