”Oxfordshire has a thriving music scene, with Festivals like Cornbury, Wilderness and Cropedy but what’s unique about ours is that it was all for children and their families. Over 300 children performed in different music or drama activities throughout the day. We sold over a thousand tickets and all had a brilliant time. I couldn’t be more proud of the children or staff,” said Matthew Ingall, head teacher at Bloxham Primary School.
Bloxham is unusual as a primary school in having a specialist music teacher in the staff, and all pupils from the youngest in Foundation classes up to those in Year Six benefit from the energy and enthusiasm of Ms Coles, whose idea it was to hold a summer Festival.
“It’s so important to experience music at primary school. Making music develops all sorts of skills, for example you’ll learn listening, imagining, performing, coordination, maths from counting time and team work if you play in a group. All while having fun with music!” said Ms Coles.
“The idea for a festival came after we’d put on a few traditional concerts in the church. Bloxham has a huge church, but it was standing-room only as the concerts were so popular, so we decided to go for a proper festival.
“The children formed a management committee, organising competitions to design the posters and logo and thought about all sorts of details involved in running a big event such as waste collection and recycling. We even put on a fund-raising gig at Banbury Cross to raise money for our branded tee shirts,” Ms Coles added.
A highlight of the Festival was an appearance from Aitch Bembridge, drummer from The Selecter, who has worked with a host of famous names from David Bowie to Bob Geldof. Aitch gave a workshop on ska and reggae music to the children in the morning and joined them on the main stage with his band, ‘The Albatones.’
As well as performances from The Albatones, everyone at the festival was entertained by the other adult acts: Selena Evangeline, The Skalectrics (inspiration for the schools’ 2-Tone history day) and the Seven ‘O’ Clock Junkies.
Head teacher Matthew Ingall concluded:
“We’re a close-knit community and something like this only works with a great team pulling together. The Festival was a huge success and I’d like to thank everyone who took part, noting especially the parent committee ‘Friends of Bloxham Primary School’, all the staff, and also of course Aitch who was so kind and cool, a real inspiration for the children.”