The Halstow Wassail was the first public-facing output from HERE'S TO THEE, and first convened in January 2020. It took the conventional aspects of an "apple tree wassail" – an incantation, a song, a procession – to explore the human-microbial relations of Devonshire "farmhouse" cider-making.
On 15th January 2022, film-maker Bevis Bowden made a film documenting the proceedings, so that we have a record of the event that can stand beside others – such as those in the British Film Institute's archive (such as this one, from 1968). In 2022, the wassail had to be changed to accommodate the still-pervasive Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, so we didn't gather in any of the farm's indoor spaces; the film records participants as they head down the lane, towards a lone apple tree, and back into the farm yard. Bevis prefaces the film with scenes that take the point-of-view of the apples as they lie under the trees in the orchard; the film closes with guests being led by Bill Murray singing 'Bread an' cheese an' cider" – a local song which became something of an anthem for this project – to eat (appropriately enough) a meal of bread, cheese, and cider.
The film was first screened at The Phoenix art centre in Exeter, along with a programme of related cider-making films, on 10th May 2022. §