Folk Weekend: Oxford
Folk Weekend: Oxford was created in 2013 by Cat McGill, to replace the Oxford Folk Festival and to make sure that there was still an annual folk music event in the city. Since its inception, it has had a strong community focus, seeing its main role as supporting local musicians and community groups, and is proud of its record of producing an accessible event.
FWO took a break in 2019 in order to assess the past six years of festivals and to work out how to manage its growth compatibly with its nature as a volunteer-led event. The new partnership model was due to be put into practice in 2020, and planning was practically complete and the programme printed when Covid reared its ugly head and the entire country went into lockdown. The decision was made to move the entire festival on-line, and six very busy weeks later, Folk Weekend Oxford 2020 took place over Zoom, pioneering a model that was to be adopted by many organisations over the next eighteen months. (You can see two on-line seminars on our approach to on-line events here.)
Cat McGill gave up her position as Festival Director of the festival at the end of 2020, to concentrate amongst other things on Live To Your Living Room, which spun off from the experience of the 2020 festival to present on-line gigs throughout the year. Jim Driscoll took the reigns for 18 months and Rachel Williams has since taken on the roll of Creative Producer
Folk Weekend 2021 was also an on-line affair, although the restrictions in place at the time allowed us to livestream two events from an audience-less North Wall Arts Centre. Despite the success of the 2021 festival (with our Spiers & Boden livestream from the North Wall seeing our largest ever ticket sales), we were back in-person in 2022, and doing what we do best – taking over the streets and venues of Oxford for a weekend of folk music and dance.