The Feet Don’t Fail Me Now tour 2010
This tour saw John Jones and the Reluctant Ramblers walking from Lyme Regis to the Larmer Tree Festival in Tollard Royal on the Dorset / Wiltshire border, via gigs at Broadwindsor and Cerne Abbas.
John said “Some of the villages around here are where the renowned folk song collector Cecil Sharp collected his songs so there is a very strong folk song tradition. I love folk music and I love walking and doing this gig is putting something back into the community….Not long after the first Feet Don’t Fail Me Now tour last year, I was contacted by James Shepard from Larmer Tree festival. Oysterband were booked to play, and he thought I’d really enjoy walking some of the Wessex Ridgeway. So a plan was hatched! This is a part of the country I have always wanted to really explore. The ancient landscape along the ridgeway, the area around Cerne Abbas – it’s not the longest walk I’ve done, but I think it’ll be one of the most interesting.”
The band, supporters and walkers met in Lyme for a chat and a session in the Royal Red Lion Hotel (Dil proved to be quite the pub percussionist, playing all the tables and the sofa!) Next day they walked 16 miles in the mist and rain to Broadwindsor and a gig in the village hall organised by Simon Emmerson, founder of The Imagined Village. He lives in Broadwindsor and describes himself as ‘the reluctant promoter’. “John asked me to book the hall and I’ve now ended up organising it,” he says. Jackie Oates did a fantastic opening set. JJ said “The Reluctant Ramblers’ set was really special – the tiredness was mixed with a brilliant intoxication, and the Ramblers included producer Richard Evans on bass, The Imagined Village’s Simon Emmerson on guitar, and Jackie on fiddle. She also joined me on Searching for Lambs, which was just magical – it felt like ‘the moment’ of the gig.”
More rain on day 2, but JJ’s blog said “In the realms of pantheistic Reluctant Ramblers moments – and there have been a few – we were about to encounter the best of all time: as we came into the quiet village we spotted four young stoats playing in the lane. As soon as they saw us they scuttled into the hedge, but it was magical. In my years of walking I have never seen anything like it.” That night’s gig was in Cerne Abbas, at The Giant Inn.
After 60 miles in total – 26 on the last day alone – they arrived at the Larmer Tree festival and a reception committee led by Dil Davies, before playing a gig in The Social on the festival site – and next day an Oysterband gig on the main stage.