MORE than 200 dancers will take to the city's streets for "an excellent spectacle." Last year's Folk Dance Southampton was such a success that organisers will be bringing groups from around the country back for the second time. Organised by city Morris dancers King John's Morris Men the event will see sixteen sides - as Morris groups are called - from Northampton, Dorset and beyond bring the three main styles of English folk dance to locations around Southampton in celebration of one of England's oldest surviving rural traditions.

Morris dancing was first recorded in the fifteenth century - but now there are around 600 sides around the country.

Speaking to the Daily Echo John Connell said: "If you go to any of the countries of the United Kingdom, outside England, most people have a some knowledge of their national traditions in music and dance.

"The Irish and Scots, obviously, have their unique music and dance styles that everybody knows whilst the Welsh and their eistedfodds keep the old traditions alive.

"England has a great store of traditional music and dance that most people are totally unaware of.

"For instance, there are three distinct styles of morris dance that hail from the Cotswolds, the North West of England and the counties on the Wales England border.

"The costumes for each of the dance styles is very distinct and the dance styles are amazingly different. There are many different traditional dance styles other than Morris, too.

"In 2017 King John’s Morris Men of Southampton had the idea of presenting a day of English traditional dancing in the centre of Southampton to show the people the rich culture that they are largely unaware of.

"So last September they put on the first Folk Dance Southampton event right through the Above Bar area of the city centre.

"There was dancing taking place at the five sites simultaneously throughout the day, a really great spectacle.

"The Above Bar area of Southampton is ideal for dancing with many flat areas that can be used as performance areas.

"Folk Dance Southampton 2017 was such a success, with very large Boat Show weekend crowds watching the dancing at the five dance venues, that it was decided to hold the event again this year.

"It should provide an excellent spectacle on the day."

This year there will be five performance areas from The Bargate up to Palmerston’s Corner plus an additional site in the new West Quay arena area.

Dancing will take place all day from 11am through to around 5pm with a final display outside the West Quay Centre from 4pm when all participating teams will be performing.

There will also be a ceilidh or barn dance St Barnabas Church Hall, Lodge Road with music from Jigfoot and caller Owain Boorman from 7.30pm.

The event takes place on September 15 and is funded with "a small grant" from Southern Counties Folk Federation.

Already confirmed are:

King John's Morris Men

Mr Baker's Dozen

Basing Clog

Devizes Jubilee Morris

Dorset Buttons Rapper

Knights of King Ida

Knock Hundred Shuttle

Mary Rose and Royal George

Moulton Morris Men, Northampton

Moonshine Morris

Oyster Girls

Quayside Cloggies

Red Stags Morris

Rigel Junior Morris

Sarum Morris

Tatters and Tails