Priddy Rising Turns Five!

We’re now in the 5th year of 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 the motto of the Priddy Friendly Society, ‘Something attempted, something achieved’. The Friendly Society is mutual benefit society composed of a body of people who join together for a common social purpose. This feels particular poignant for both the festival and Priddy Rising. 

Twenty five years on, what started as a PTA fundraiser has become one of the best known folk festivals in the country. Five years on Priddy Rising has forged a wonderful relationship between three organisations enriching young peoples’ lives through arts education and exploring our heritage.

It’s amazing what we can do when we work together.