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Wyrd Britannia Festival: Revisiting 23/26

The Wyrd Britannia festival took place in January 2014, and viewed now it seems like both something of a harbinger of the flowering of interest in “wyrd” folk and rural culture and an early gathering or focal point for such things. It was also possibly an early-ish use of the word wyrd in relation to the rise of interest in such culture.

Wyrd Britannia was described as “A festival of special events in Calderdale libraries throughout 1 week in January, exploring ideas of landscape, folklore, ritual and psychedelia”. It was held to mark the relaunch of Calderdale library’s Wyrd Britannia collection of films, books, music etc, which was said to “reflect the dark and complex underbelly of English rural tradition and beliefs”.

It included free screenings of films which have become part of an almost canonic core of of wyrd film and television, that included The Wicker Man, Robin Redbreast and Penda’s Fen, the latter of which was at the time still quite rare, as it had not yet been restored and had a home release by the BFI.

Alongside those it included readings by Andy Roberts, author of Albion Dreaming: A Popular History of LSD in Britain and Chris Lambert who wrote Tales from the Black Meadow, which is part of a project that explores the myths which surround a moorland area known as Black Meadow, where Professor R. Mullins, who was researching local folklore, is said to have gone missing in 1972.

There was also a performance by Magpahi and Folklore Tapes’ Echo of Light, which was a visual and music collaboration / performance / installation by Alison Cooper (aka Magpahi), Sam McLoughlin (Samandtheplants) and David Chatton-Barker (Folklore Tapes).

I only made it to one of the events, which was something of a magical evening…


The original post published during the first year of A Year In The Country:


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