Folkily Speaking

Well, what a weekend we had: our first ever Great Big Almonry Folk weekend can be safely said to have been a complete triumph! It’s taken us a while to come back to earth after the incredible performances and audience reactions.

Lisbee 2

Saturday afternoon was completely sold out, filled with amazing performances from Noey McElwee, Road Not Taken, The Wanted Men and Green Diesel who all brought their unique, individual sounds to the Almonry. The rounds of applause were heartfelt and long!

Saturday night we moved to Evesham Arts Centre for the showcase evening of top-notch folk where Lisbee Stainton and Ange Hardy performed their solo sets full of songs that were haunting, fascinating and excellently crafted, proving why they are feted by folk enthusiasts.

Ange Hardy 1

BBC Folk Duo 2014, Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin closed the evening for us with a storming set that blew everyone away (for a surprising one-man-and-his-harmonica performance that will have you holding your breath, see here – turn it up loud) and had the audience up on their feet for a standing ovation!

Phil & Hannah 2

Back bright and early for the Sunday afternoon where Emi McDade (only 18 but with the most incredible voice), Ethemia, Mike Weaver and Patsy Reid entertained our fully booked audience. Patsy Reid and her band (just back off a USA tour where she played Carnegie Hall) closed the weekend for us with a set that mixed incredible vocal and instrumental sets. A standing ovation brought them back on for an encore and proved why she was chosen as one of the acts to close the Commonwealth Games!

Patsy Reid & band

All in all, we were completely in awe of all of the performers, their talent and generosity.

Thank you to everyone who came along, supported the Great Big Almonry Project, clapped, cheered and whooped our acts!

The last in our current series of Almonry Folk events takes place on Sunday 10th May with legendary English singer-songwriter Steve Ashley. Tickets are £10 each and doors open at 7.45pm. Please contact the office on 01386 446944 for more details.

The Great Big Almonry Folk Weekend could not have taken place without the tireless efforts of the following people and organisations: Mike & Jane Weaver, Claire and Peter Costello, Evesham Music, Chris Dobson, Evesham Arts Centre (especially Matt!), and the Evesham Hotel.


Why We Love Kids in Museums!

Recently we found this little note stuck into the corner of the board where we proudly display our copy of the Kids in Museums manifesto. Left anonymously, we had no idea which of our visitors that day had wanted to know more.

It is a valid question; why do we display the Kids in Museums manifesto? There isn’t any real need to, anyone who is interested can easily look it up on their website and there are many who don’t know what KiM stand for, or why any museum should be a part of it.

So what is KiM? Back in 2003, when a journalist took her children along to the Royal Academy in London, her two year old shouted ‘Monster!’ at the Eagle Man statue and the entire family was asked to leave. When her experience appeared in an article, she began to receive hundreds of letters from families fed up with being made to feel unwelcome in museums and galleries, and the seeds of this wonderful little charity were sown.

Eleven years on, hundreds of museums, big and small, now voluntarily sign up to the Kids in Museums manifesto every year, renewing their commitment to making families and children welcome. There are the KiM Family Friendly Museum awards that recognise the work museums do to make their spaces. The manifesto is created entirely from comments made by visitors, so this isn’t created in a sterile meeting room by a bunch of professionals, it has the immediacy of something created by people who actually know what its like to take an eight year old through to a museum.

And as for the Almonry, why is the manifesto important to us? Because it makes us rethink how we approach everything; from how we display items, to the way we greet people at the door, children and adults. From how we create our activity packs, designing them to encourage and spark conversations and discovery between the generations, to keeping our entry prices low (with free admission for under 11s) so families can visit without running into great expense. It forms and informs our thinking, and has been instrumental in the development of our Great Big Almonry Project.

And why do we display it? Because by displaying it, we reaffirm our commitment visually to visitors of all ages. By displaying it, we are reminded every day that we could do better. And so we keep trying.

For more information, please visit the Kids in Museums website; the winner of this years Family Friendly Award is the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall, their website is here. If you would like to comment on how the Almonry is shaping up to the manifesto, you can visit our website and fill in the contact form there. And if you would like to be a member of our Teens in Museums panel (aged 14-18), please contact the office direct.