Wells Blue School Priddy Rising project moves online after festival is postponed

  Posted: 30.06.20 at 10:08 by Tim Lethaby

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It is some weeks now since the organisers of Priddy Folk Festival recognised that they could not host the celebrated annual event in July, but instead have rolled the event over to 2021.

However, the organisers have not been idle and this week sees the marking of the run up to what would have been the festival weekend with an exciting project.

Since 2012, the festival also has been running the Priddy Rising project with the Blue School, in Wells.

Each year the festival pays for professional musicians to work with a group of around 20 students who give up weekends and lunchtimes to put together the Priddy Rising concert on the main stage on the Saturday of the festival.

It is an hour of music arranged and often composed by the students themselves. This project could not go ahead because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Festival chairman Dean Collier said: “Many young musicians projects have fallen foul of these events, but in true Priddy fashion, Priddy Rising swapped it up in the face of challenge and took the project online to create a virtual band, with a piece arranged by two senior students at Wells Blue School. It's really something special.”

When students realised it would be a digital project there was lots of excitement but also some trepidation.

Blue School music teacher Jenny Henderson said: “It takes a huge amount of bravery to record a performance and a massive amount of trust to place that recording in the hands of someone else. I am so proud of all our musicians.”

Priddy Rising project is led by Will Lang and, more recently, Alex Garden and Ford Collier who have put in time and effort build a relationship with Blue School pupils.

Jenny said: “Without this trust, we would simply not see the creativity or skill displayed by our pupils in this incredible project.”

Professional musician Will, who has long helped shape the project, is stepping down this year.

He said: “Priddy Rising is a great example of how a folk festival can engage with, and nurture, young performers - developing skills for a new generation of musicians.

"Since its beginnings in 2012 I've been lucky enough to work with the amazing teams of Priddy Folk Festival and Wells Blue School to produce this special project.”

He is passing on the baton to two the former Blue School students Alex and Ford, who have gone on to be full-time musicians and have performed at Glastonbury, Cambridge, and all over the country together as The Drystones and in other musical projects they are involved in.

The final video will be released on Saturday July 4, and will be available on the Priddy Festival website, Facebook page and YouTube channel. Details at www.priddyfolk.org.

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