Over the past few weeks posters have been popping up all around Willesden Green proclaiming:
I had never heard of wassails, so of course had no idea what the event was all about. I resorted to that all-knowing font of knowledge, Wikipedia. From that and a couple of other sites I gleaned that this would be some sort of tree/shop blessing along the Willesden Green High Street.
On arriving at the start point near Willesden Green tube station just after 14:15 at first the crowd wasn’t that big. However, by 14:30 the crowd was sizeable indeed. Song sheets were handed out and an introduction to wassailing was given by the organiser, Rachel Rose Reid: as Willesden Green doesn’t have that many trees the plan was to wassail the local shop owners.
So we went down Willesden Green, stopping in front of certain shops, getting a short description of the shop by the owner, and then we sung the wassailing song for good health there. At certain points there also were some acts, from singing to poetry, and story-telling. From these acts I particularly liked Poetic Pilgrimage and a girl and a guy singing a Russian song (anyone knows who they are!?).
I must admit that we left before the end. At one point there was a guy heckling the act going on (something about bombs and what not) and we couldn’t figure out what was going on. Also, it was getting to be a drag doing the same thing over and over again, especially as at points we couldn’t hear the acts as the crowd was too big. Otherwise however it was good fun. Wouldn’t say I’ll change major plans to be there next year, but if I’m in the area, then why not?