Swaledale Festival has been recognised with a Big Society Award thanks to the success of it’s recent Percussion Project, which was part of the NYMAZ Musical Inclusion programme for North Yorkshire. The announcement comes as the two week community arts festival celebrates the close of its 2014 programme which included music from local and international artists, guided walks, talks and theatre productions.
The festival, which is staffed by 120 volunteers, sees 8,000 attending more than sixty events in local churches, castles and pubs.
The Swaledale Festival is a charity, run by two part-time staff and an army of local volunteers, which works with communities in Richmond and the surrounding area throughout the year to develop a variety of arts projects for local people.
The Swaledale Festival Percussion project inspired 100 children in five Richmondshire schools. The children worked with local woodwork experts to make instruments while learning technical, manual and communication skills as well as learning about local heritage. The five-month project ended in March with all the children performing with professional Samba band Forro Porro to a sell-out audience at Influence Church in Richmond, playing the instruments they had helped to make.
Malcolm Creese, Artistic Director said:
“Winning a Big Society Award means an enormous amount to the team at Swaledale Festival, and to all the people who made the Percussion Project such a memorable event. I am particularly thrilled for the one hundred children who took part; I can’t wait to tell them the good news.”
Previous Big Society Award winners include The British Paraorchestra, which provides a successful platform for the country’s most talented musicians with disabilities. In 2012 they performed with Coldplay at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics.