DERT 2005: Preston Impressions

Well, if you were there then you know: weather stayed fine, 29 rapper teams came (including 3 from the USA), 6 local teams turned out in support (5 morris, one longsword), and there was an unexpected but well-deserved winner. If you weren't there, then you should have been, because it was a rapper show to remember, in a number of ways.

Organisational hitches? Nothing major. Admittedly, based on information received we budgeted for around 100 indoor campers, and by Christmas we thought we were going to make a loss, so it came as a bit of a shock when we eventually fitted in 175 and still had some floor to spare. The breakfasts worked fine – there really was no need to stand in a queue for an hour, because if you went off and did other things and came back when the queue had gone down you got fed just as well. Other than the absence of showers the washing facilities held out, despite one of the women managing to break a toilet door off its hinges. (The men were altogether better behaved). A couple of the pubs changed their minds about letting dancers in, but the teams rose faultlessly to the challenge. On the other hand, getting the morris teams to judge the outdoor spots didn't work, because most of them just wouldn't do it.

Lessons learned? Well, rapper dancers are awkward b*ggers, but we knew that already. After DERT 2004 the view was expressed that it was boring going around with the same bunch of people all day, because you never got to see most of the other teams. Well, we arranged it so that teams got to do lots of mixing, and lo and behold, we now hear that they'd rather go round with the same bunch all day.

Most teams appeared to have a good time: only one team got lost, and they admitted that they'd left their directions in the hall; one former prize winning team demonstrated the dire effects of port wine on rapper dancers; and another former prize winning team are still moaning on just because they discovered the hard way that it's not enough to be so-so during the daytime and pull a blinder in the evening – consistency does count.

So next year we're all off to York. It looks like being a very different type of affair, which is as it should be. Good luck to them.

Andrew Kennedy