About the Festival

The annual ASCDS Festival, held on the Saturday after the May Day Bank Holiday, is an opportunity for the many groups in our area to come together to celebrate a favourite pastime. Dancers, whatever their level of experience and expertise, are all very welcome to join in our Festival and experience the joy of dancing with large numbers of other dancers.

The format is simple, and little has changed since its inception. One or two groups offer to host both the Festival and the accompanying evening dance. A venue is found, large enough to hold all of us – and Retford Oaks Academy is the current preferred choice. A three or four-piece band is booked to come and play for the event.

All member groups are asked to submit their choices of dances to be included – 2 jigs, 2 reels and 4 strathspeys, with at least half being suitable for less experienced dancers. From this long list the hosts will select a programme for the massed dances, with the intention of each group having at least one dance they have chosen included. (The latest dances are frequently favourites with many groups, so this is usually accomplished!)

The Festival itself consists of a grand march into the hall, followed by 12 massed dances for participation by all teams, interspersed with demonstrations by individual groups who wish to entertain with their talent for dance and choreography. There is then a final round the room dance for anyone to join in.

This is followed by a chance to rest and collect one’s thoughts, before the evening dance.

Our 40th festival was finally held in May 2022 after having been postponed for 2 years because of the pandemic. The occasion was marked by the publication of “The Ruby Book”, a book of dances written by members of the ASCDS to celebrate 40 festivals and enter a competition to be the one celebratory dance included in the massed dances at the 40th festival. 

The competition winner was “20-20 Vision” by Andrew Morrison of Nottingham Scottish and can be viewed here.