200 People Attend Burrator’s First Ever American Old Time Music Gathering



American Old Time music gatherings are commonplace in the Appalachian regions (West Virginia and North Carolina) of the USA. They are an opportunity for musicians from all over the regions to meet, exchange knowledge of music, song and dance and pass the music on to younger generations. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to bring this ethos and music to Dartmoor?
The first South West American Old Time Gathering took place at Burrator Reservoir on 10, 11 and 12 July and really brought the essence of West Virginia to this popular corner of Dartmoor National Park. 200 people came along to join in the music, dance and other activities over the weekend in what turned into a real treat for the senses. The sound of the banjo, fiddle and guitar filled the air along with the great atmosphere created by a group of musicians being re-united in what they called “the closest they’ve ever been to the real thing”.
Peter Acty from the Dousland based band the ‘Appaloosas’ said, “Old Time music has always played an important role in the Appalachian communities. Old time gatherings, such as the one that took place at Burrator, have taken place for generations. Their music is the soul of the community, which has its roots in the music brought over with the settlers from England and much of Europe. In essence, we are still keeping alive our own music and traditions.”
The ‘Appaloosas’ came up with the idea and approached South West Lakes Trust to put on the event at the Head Weir area of Burrator Reservoir. The idea fitted very well with the Trust’s objectives for the site and enabled them to engage volunteers, local people and local businesses in the promotion of the arts, whilst showcasing the fantastic location of Burrator Reservoir to people from as far afield as Sussex and Shropshire.
Neil Reeves, Countryside Manager for South West Lakes Trust said, “The gathering has given us the opportunity to work with and meet so many new people. Whilst the visitors came from all over the country, the organisation and benefits stayed very local. The attendees were so respectful of this beautiful place and by Sunday evening you wouldn’t even have known it had happened. Many thanks to all those involved – the Appaloosas, Moor Bars and Craig Grant (Bushcraft) as well as all the staff and volunteers from South West Lakes Trust.”
For more information about upcoming events at Burrator, or other South West Lakes Trust sites, please visit www.swlakestrust.org.uk.