We’re now in the 6th year of Priddy Folk Festival work with Wells Blue School. What started off as the ‘Wells Blue Project’, and looked like a one-year event to celebrate 21 wonderful years of Priddy Folk Festival, has gone on to become an annual highlight of the festival and has been given a name we think reflects the ethos of the activity – ‘Priddy Rising’.
Five years of growth has seen the stalwarts of Priddy Rising go from little year 8’s to sixth formers; teenagers to university students… and they keep coming back! Last year the alumni of the Blue School took time out of their university ‘studies’ to return to the Blue School and become mentors of their younger peers. For me this has been a true sign of the success and significance of Priddy Rising for its participants.
A natural progression for Priddy Rising has been to reward students’ commitment to the project with bursary places on Halsway Manor’s ever-growing youth folk residential programme, Hothouse. Of those young people that are supported to attend Hothouse Wells Blue School has seen an increase in their engagement with the music department, wider school life and indeed some have chosen to study music and instrument making into higher education. As a result of this impact Wells Blue School and Priddy Folk Festival has committed to sending 12 students each to Halsway Manor’s Hothouse; across its Spring and Summer courses.
This year the project has attracted 30 students who we hope will have a great time learning about our traditions and making music together. Each year there is a theme to Priddy Rising and this year’s theme is about identitiy and what makes us who we are.
Priddy Rising has forged a wonderful relationship between three organisations enriching young peoples’ lives through arts education and exploring our heritage.