Folk festival champions inclusivity

Cat's Makaton performance at Folk Weekend 2015Folk Weekend: Oxford has been championing inclusivity in the arts for some time, and on Saturday 16th April will hold its first 'Special Saturday' in a bid to encourage people with Special Needs and their families to attend the festival.

Festival Director Cat Kelly says: “We know that events like ours can feel quite overwhelming if a member of your family has Special Needs or a disability, so we are trying to make it as easy as possible for anyone to attend. The folk music scene is generally very inclusive, but it's really important that we reach out to people who can feel excluded and make sure that they know that! We hope that Special Saturday will help people to feel welcome at Folk Weekend, and give them the confidence to try something new.”

This community-based volunteer-run festival has slowly but steadily been forging links with the local Special Educational Needs community, and it has fast become an annual event.  Special Saturday sits right in the centre of this year's Folk Weekend, which runs from 15th - 17th April. The organisers are keen to emphasise that everyone is welcome to any event during the festival, but with Special Saturday have highlighted three events in the programme that are particularly suited to anyone with Special Needs, and are ideal for those who might be coming to the festival for the first time.

Cat's Makaton performance at Folk Weekend 2015There will be an inclusive music-making workshop, exploring some of the different ways that technology can be used to help people with Special Needs to enjoy making music, using equipment such as Soundbeam, SKOOG, iPads, and talking tiles. If dance is more your thing, there will be a guide to some simple dances, suitable for all abilities, and easily adapted for wheelchair users and people with other mobility impairments. If you'd rather just relax and listen to some music, then you might like Cat Kelly & Pete Ord's Makaton folk songs.

Tickets are available now via the Folk Weekend Oxford website. Season tickets for Saturday 16th are £38 for adults, £30 concession, £25 12-18 years. Children under 12 are free of charge when accompanied by an adult season ticket holder. Tickets for individual events are also available.

Visit the Folk Weekend Oxford website,, for further information, including accessibility details for all festival venues, and join in on Facebook /folkweekendoxford or Twitter @FolkWeekend.

Read more about Folk Weekend Oxford and watch a video from last year's Makaton performance

22nd March 2016

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