Folk flock to make festival organisers dance with joy

Oxford Mail: Kaleidoscope dance group members from left, Kay White, Louise Hilling and Philippa Watts taking a break from performing to try out the Oxford Castle stocks Buy this photo Kaleidoscope dance group members from left, Kay White, Louise Hilling and Philippa Watts taking a break from performing to try out the Oxford Castle stocks

FOLK Weekend Oxford celebrated its busiest year after thousands descended on the city to revel in traditional performances.

Morris men, ceilidh dancers, musicians and singers made Oxford their base for the weekend for a series of different shows.

Oxford Mail:

Festival organiser Cat Kelly

Main organiser Cat Kelly said the festival, now in its third year, was a great success and hoped it would now become a permanent fixture on the city’s musical calendar.

The 33-year-old said: “We had a couple of thousand people last year and it was nowhere near as busy as this year.

“I estimate that between about 4,000 and 5,000 people came along this time.

Oxford Mail:

  • Members of Datchet Morris

“There’s a huge folk scene in Oxford and our festival is very much rooted in the local community.

“We work with local community groups, local schools and local charities and although we try to bring in some big name performers, local acts can appear on the same bill. They get some very good exposure that way.

“Oxford is a real centre for folk traditions and folk music is actually quite popular right now – Bellowhead recently sold out the Albert Hall.”

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Oxford Mail:

  • Mike Stimpson of Phoenix Morris

Folk fans packed out venues across the city between Friday and Sunday, including those at the Old Fire Station in George Street and at the Randolph Hotel in Beaumont Street.

Ms Kelly, from Stanton Harcourt, West Oxfordshire, said: “We got loads of mentions on Twitter and I don’t think people would allow us to get away with not staging a festival next year, so we are in the early planning stages.

“We are aiming to run next year’s festival on April 17- 19.

Oxford Mail:

  • Musicians Rebecca Cullen and Adam Rogers

“Interest in the festival is definitely growing and we are all looking forward to next year.”

Freelance musician Ms Kelly lives with her daughter Faye Moore-McGill, and her partner Euan McGill, an electrical engineer who organised the 70 stewards for the festival.

Faye said: “I liked the maypoles and the ceilidhs, but my favourite was Megan Henwood.”

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