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Let Morris dancers wear black-face make up, say Shropshire Star readers

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Morris dancers should be allowed to perform at a music festival with black-faced make up, according to Shropshire Star readers.

Nearly 90 per cent of Shropshire Star readers who responded to an online poll on a decision by organisers of Shrewsbury Folk Festival to stop using Border Morris dancers – who use the traditional form of disguise – after this year's show.

The vote found 89 per cent of readers thought dancers should be able to perform using the traditional disguise, while the remaining 11 per cent disagreed.

A total of 2,200 people took part in the online poll, which continues below.

It comes after Shrewsbury Folk Festival revealed it would be the last year organisers booked groups dancing with black face paint – a tradition dating back some 500 years.

The tradition has no connections between the paint and black culture, but instead face paint was used as a way of disguising dancers, so they couldn't be recognised.

Festival organisers received pressure from one group that said the disguise may still cause offence, and bosses said they found themselves "caught between two sides" of the argument.

A number of Morris dancing groups have decided to move away from the use of black paint, and have instead used multi-coloured paint.

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