From the Middle Ages through to the 18th Century, the Town of Colchester employed a band of musicians to entertain the populace and perform at civic occasions. These "Waits" would have walked the streets with shawms, sackbuts and other loud wind instruments, wearing blue liveries of the town. Now a group of a dozen or so local enthusiasts have got together to recreate the sounds and sights of those times.
The modern Colchester Waits play reproductions of the instruments of our forebears - shawms of various sizes, trumpet, sackbutts, cornetts, lysard, bagpipes, recorders and fiddles, and perform historical music with energy and a sense not just of history but also of fun. We wear the livery of a 16th C band but our musical tastes range from the early Middle Ages to the present day and we do our best to provide a fitting tune for any occasion. We also regularly perform alongside Colchester Historical Dance to demonstrate the dance music of the 15th - 17th Centuries.
Last year the band hosted the 5th International Festival of Town Pipers, inviting bands from across the UK and abroad to play in Colchester and at the Colchester Medieval Festival over the Jubilee bank holiday. We also made a trip to Colchester's twin town Wetzlar in Germany to play at their Hessentag festival.
This year we are booked to play at a wide range of events and venues around Essex over the summer including Hedingham Castle and Colchester's Medieval Festival. Have a look at our diary page for the latest details.
For Phil Manchester's original Colchester Town Waits revival, going strong since 1973, see the Colchester Waits on Myspace.
For more on Waits history and other existing bands see the Waits Website.
To hear modern Waits music at its best listen to the York Waits.
A White Cottage Website
picture © Antony Barton