AN ancient tradition will be revived this weekend as the Britannia Coconut Dancers are set to perform in East Lancashire.

The folk troupe will be dancing for about five hours around Bacup and will also be attending local businesses on the way.

Gavin McNulty, secretary of the group, said: “We are a traditional folk group and the last remaining team doing what we do.”

Gavin is looking forward to being back this weekend in the group's first performance since the pandemic started.

Lancashire Telegraph: Gavin McNulty (third from left) and the Britannia Coconut Dancers Gavin McNulty (third from left) and the Britannia Coconut Dancers

He explained: “This is our first outing in two years.

“We want to put something back in the community and getting folk out to support local businesses – and just getting people together basically”.

The group, which traditionally performs in the autumn and spring, will be back on October 3 and has released a full list of businesses that they will be visiting along.

The group has already been practising at Bacup Cricket Club and The Buff Club in Waterfoot.

The unique dance itself is frequently associated with English Morris dance and is performed either in a straight line or two lines of four with each of the dancers wearing wooden discs or nuts on their hands, and knees with a belly nut around the waist.

The group can also perform with garlands which are covered in red, white & blue rosettes.

The start of the first dance will kick off at 12 noon at The George and Dragon, on Rochdale Road and finish at around 5pm.

Here is a full list of Bacup venues and areas they will be dancing at:

- The George & Dragon, Rochdale Road

- The New Inn, Rochdale Road

- Irwell Terrace

- The Cornerstone, Alma Street

- The British Queens, Union Street

- The Little Queens, Yorkshire Street

- The Waterloo, Rochdale Road

- The Old Boot Café, St James Street

- 1832 Barista, St James Street

- Street Kitchen, Market Street

- St Johns the Evangelist Church, Fern Street

- Fern Hill House Care Home (Burwood House), Todmorden Rd

Mr McNulty explained: “It’s a great way for families to watch a tradition being upheld and seeing smiles on kids and people’s faces who get joy from supporting the traditions.”

Gavin added that the troupe will be dressed in their traditional costume – dark face paint included.

“We will remain completely as we are and as we should,” Gavin explained.

The group use the face paint to represent the coal dust-covered faces of the Lancashire miners who devised the dances.

In 2020, the group “amicably” split from The Morris Ring group after a conflict of interest surrounding the use of full-face black makeup.