Scarecrows appear in one form or another all over the world and have been around for thousands of years. Simple effigies made of wood and old clothes stuffed with straw, they were once known as the “guardians of the corn” and entrusted with the job of scaring away thieving crows and other birds with an eye to the newly sown crops.
Unfortunately for the scarecrow, technology has pretty much made him redundant these days, as high tech bird frighteners are much more efficient at deterring avian plunders than a bundle of flapping rags. The good news is, although he has been ousted from our fields, the scarecrow hasn’t slipped into obscurity as is evidenced by the number of scarecrow festivals popping up during the autumn.
They also figure prominently in horror films, poems and stories as there is no doubt they do have a slightly sinister reputation which many people find it difficult to quantify. Possibly this is due in some part to the scarecrow’s close connection with the agrarian cycle of birth, death and rebirth epitomised in the Greenman and John Barleycorn stories which is why you’ll find some great folk songs such as the The Scarecrow by Lal Waterson exploring this aspect of Jack Straw’s persona.
Roots Community Singers, who will be singing a brand new arrangement of this broodingly, enigmatic song at Newbold village Scarecrow Festival Harvest supper on Friday, 2nd November, were also hard at work on their contribution to the scarecrow trail as you can see!
Finally, the team fooling about after all their hard work with Jane demonstrating how NOT to sing!
More details about the Scarecrow Festival and the Scarecrow Harvest Supper where ROOTS will be appearing can be found here