Signs of the Times.
Bowing to the Buddha

Not Live in Stony, and few Folk on The Green

Social Distancing Project 53A few locals walk by the closed Cock Hotel. In previous years there’s barely a parking spot to be found on the High Street, but tonight the street is almost empty.

The Distance Project 7

Last week should have been the nine day annual Stony Live festival with bands and other live entertainment in Stony Stratford, Bucks; there were over a hundred acts last year. But the pubs are shut, the streets quiet. There are other venues too, but here are some pubs in the town that usually have live music during those nine days.

On Sunday 14th June, another regular event had been planned to take place in the town, on Horsefair Green. It’s called Folk on the Green. In previous years the green is filled with people, there’s a stage half way down one side, and stalls line the edge of the green and the road that goes by it.

(Edited, September 2021)
This is just one of many posts from The Distance Project. That link will take you back to the very first posts, but if you want to see them in reverse order, just click on the link in the categories list that's on every page. The project ran from April 2020 to September 2021.

Social Distancing Project 52The Plough is dark, the front patio is empty. All is quiet. In previous years during Stony Live the outside tables would be full of drinkers.


Social Distancing Project 63The Crown stands square, the door firmly shut. Established in 1664, I doubt it’s ever been shut for so long.


Social Distancing Project 54The shutters are up at The Vaults, in the Bull Hotel. Sometimes a pedestrian or a cyclist goes by. Usually you can see just what’s going on in the bar through the big end window, left in the photo.


Social Distancing Project 55In The Fox and Hounds the shutters go up at these windows when there’s a band on; the low stage is just by the window. I wouldn’t usually be able to see into the bar from outside. The bar is dimly lit by the glowing beer taps.


Social Distancing Project 56The windows in The Old George at dusk. The builder’s lights have been left on in the bars; as in many pubs the landlord has taken the opportunity to get the place refurbished.


Social Distancing Project 57At 12:30 on this Sunday afternoon, Horsefair Green was supposed to be full. with the annual Folk on the Green event. Instead, cyclists and walkers cut across between opposite corners. The stage is normally halfway along the right hand side, with stalls lined up to its left and right. Most of the grass would be covered by the audience, many on picnic rugs or camping chairs. I took this photo from the usual location of the outside bar.


Social Distancing Project 58This road on the edge of the green is normally shut for the day. There would be stalls all along the right hand side, a toilet block up this end.


Social Distancing Project 59This gap is where the stage is usually erected.


Social Distancing Project 60There’s usually a Sunday folk session at The Vaults, even while Folk on the Green is on. Spoilt for choice we are, but not today.


Social Distancing Project 61Kevin and Sarah met at Folk on the Green 19 years ago, and they’ve been together to this day. They haven’t missed a year of the annual festival since, and came to the green today to celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary. Sarah sings and plays guitar in the folk band Remedy Live.


Social Distancing Project 62Kevin and Sarah’s friend Noni turns up with an anniversary present; I think it’s gin. Life goes on.


Taking these photos has been a sad experience for me; I look forward to these two events every year, and normally I would have seen a score of bands by the end of the week.

In the project I'm photographing what people are doing differently under lockdown. And although this has been a fascinating photographic project for me, I would far rather have been in the pub, tapping my feet and bopping along to the music.

But next year, next year…

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