Thousands are expected to attend folk music weekend

Festival director Cat Kelly on the Castle Mound last year as Dave Malkin and Charlie Pell play Pictures: OX58599 David Fleming

Eynsham Morris dance at Gloucester Green

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

THE sound of fiddles and flutes will soon fill the air in Oxford as buskers and bands gather for the third annual folk music weekend.

The event, known as Folk Weekend Oxford, has grown out of the former Oxford Folk Festival, and will take place from Friday to Sunday, April 25-27.

More than 1,000 people are expected to take part with the Old Fire Station the main venue and Gloucester Green hosting a village fete with craft stalls and Morris dancing throughout the weekend.

Folk acts from Oxfordshire will take part, including Megan Henwood and Telling the Bees, and there will be ceilidhs featuring Blackbeard’s Tea Party and The Gloworms.

Festival patron Jackie Oates will support Chris Sarjeant in a rare performance, and other venues will include the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Randolph Hotel.

Organiser Cat Kelly, director of the Rising Voices singing group, said: “I think of us as a community festival. There will be about 1,000 people taking part, including musicians, Morris dancers and school children in choirs and youth groups.

“Over the course of the weekend, there will be about 4,000 people watching and joining in. The festival is now becoming quite well established and is a good meeting place for folk musicians from Oxfordshire and beyond.

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“Folk music brings people together and it’s something that you can do as a family – from ceilidh dancing with your grandmother to enjoying local crafts, or just having a good sing.”

Mother-of-one Ms Kelly, 33, from Stanton Harcourt, near Eynsham, added that there will be 50 volunteer stewards, stage managers and venue managers to make sure the weekend runs smoothly.

She said young people would be an important focus of the festival, with the Youth of Bicester team running workshops for people to make mini-Maypoles. And Oxford Brookes University students from the sound technology course will also volunteer to help out at performances.

David Carugo, senior lecturer in media technology at the university, said: “Since last year, student sound engineers have been honing their skills with folk musicians and singers, getting valuable specialist experience, and a deeper understanding of folk music.”

Saturday artists include Megan Henwood, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, David Gibb and Elly Lucas, Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Telling the Bees, Threepenny Bit, Jenkinson’s Folly, Lester Simpson, The Gloworms, Jon Fletcher, Steph West, Sue Brown and Lorainne Irwing, Paul and Liz Davenport, Folkus Pocus and Chris Turner.

A weekend season ticket for the festival costs £45.

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