Folk Weekend: Oxford

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Folk Weekend Oxford 2022 Summary

The weekend of the 22nd-24th April saw the streets of Oxford taken over once again by all manner of folk-related mayhem as Folk Weekend: Oxford returned as a live, in-person event. There was the usual mix of ticketed and free music events, social dances, morris, workshops and sessions, plus not one but two choirs performing specially for the festival.
Ticketed music events happened at the Quaker Meeting House (Belshazzar's Feast), the Jacqueline du Pre Music Building (Fay Hield Trio, Melrose Quartet), the Holywell Music Room (Charm of Finches, presented by Oxford Music & Folk), and the Blue Room above the St Aldate's Tavern (the Boot Band, Granny's Attic, Angeline Morrison, Moonaroon, Patrick Griffin, Anna Renae, Craig Joiner, the Kirals, Folkatron Sessions, Steph West & Paul Rademeyer), whilst social dances presented by Oxfolk took place in St Barnabas Church. Musicians played on the back of a narrow boat in Jericho, in the Ashmolean atrium, in the Westgate Library, in the cafe of the Old Fire Station, and in the Covered Market. There were sessions at the Isis Farmhouse, the Crown, the Half Moon, the Port Mahon, the Royal Blenheim, the White House, and the Jolly Farmers. There were morris spots at the Ashmolean, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Bonn Square, Cornmarket, Broad Street, Oxford Castle and the Radcliffe Camera. The workshops took place in the Pitt Rivers Museum.
The opening ceremony of the festival took place on Saturday morning with performances from Rising Voices (community choir from Risinghurst) led by Rose Martin, and the Folk Weekend festival Choir led by Paul Sartin, a morris display from Brackley Morris, and (in a Folk Weekend first), a medal ceremony that saw our very own Cat McGill presented with her BEM for services to folk music. Rising Voices performed two songs specially commissioned by Folk Weekend: Oxford by Steph West and Jim Driscoll, the commissions supported by a grant from the Sarah Morgan Foundation.
The weekend was busy, and it was clear that attendees were very happy to be back out in the real world after two years of on-line festivals. The Folk Weekend team was similarly happy to be able to put on all these in-person events, although a small number of local acts had to pull out at short notice because of Covid, and Martin Carthy cancelled his Old Fire Station show due to (non-Covid-related) ill-health. All in all, however, the weekend progressed very smoothly, and it was an absolute delight to be able to take over the streets of Oxford in typical Folk Weekend fashion.
Anyone who has had any contact with the folk scene in Oxford will know what delightful venues the Quaker Meeting House and the Holywell Music Rooms are, but the Jacqueline du Pre Music Building and the Blue Room were new venues for us. Both worked very well in different ways, with the JdP providing elegant surroundings for the Fay Hield Trio and Melrose Quartet, and the Blue Room an intimate setting for some intense and often entirely acoustic performances. The Pitt Rivers Museum and the Covered Market were also new venues for us. We hope to be able to use them all again in the future (and develop still more new partnerships too). 
We were delighted to partner with Live To Your Living Room to livestream Granny's Attic from the Blue Room, and both concerts at the JdP, these hybrid live and on-line concerts likely to become an increasingly common element of Folk Weekend in particular and the folk scene in general, enabling us to reach new audiences and accommodate those who, for whatever reason, find attending live concerts difficult.
The whole Folk Weekend: Oxford team reached end of the festivities tired but happy, and looking forward to doing it all again next year. We hope to see you all in 2023!
Jim Driscoll, creative producer, Folk Weekend: Oxford

Folk Weekend made it's glorious debut as a properly organised festival in 2012 and each year since has been even bigger and better! We aim to celebrate and showcase the fantastic local folk scene, scheduling the best local musicians alongside well-known nationally acclaimed artists.

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