Folk at the Farm

Programme Manager for Learning & Participation – Tamsin Oldham gives an insight into the Spitalfields Music Family Day that took place at Spitalfields City Farm on Saturday (18 June):

The Spitalfields Music team met at 9am ready to decant 15 tabla, 4 trestle tables, 20 storybooks, 2 boxes brimming with musical instruments, 1 very large drum, 20 gym mats, 1 canister of helium, 50 balloons and metres and metres of bunting into Spitalfields City Farm. The rain held off just long enough as we bustled around dressing the space. Our Musical Treasure Hunt composers (aka The Young Farmers) were also on hand as they carefully placed their masterpieces in hidden spaces for people to find throughout the day. You may also have spotted they were helpfully handing out drinks and testing microphones whilst preparing for a camping trip!

The rain held off for us while we set up and the musicians began to arrive, taking in the wonderful surroundings and introducing themselves to the animals who would also be their audience for the day. The first downpour came and we discovered two holes in the marquee roof… patched up and ready to go, Manjeet Singh began to test out his tabla over the PA.

As people started to arrive the sun came out and they began to explore the unexpected sounds of the Treasure Hunt, of which the favourite sounds were the bubbles of the underground fish in the potato beds! (Click here to visit Duncan Chapman’s website to hear them all). Meanwhile our pop-up musicians entertained wellied and raincoated visitors, sending their songs floating across the fields from the safety of the polytunnels and the early years marquee.

The second downpour arrived and with it an entourage from Udichi Shilpi Gosthi who were running a Bengali singing and dancing workshop in the afternoon. Taking the opportunity we ushered them to Jigjaw who entertained them through the rain with some English folk songs and step dancing! After rescuing our artists at the art table (and their already beautiful array of donkey ears) the rest of the day went by in a flash with over 250 people coming through the doors to enjoy the fun!

To round off the day we had a fantastic ceilidh and performance with The Imaginary String Band, Debs Newbold, Laurel Swift and Manjeet Singh with everyone whooping, clapping, laughing and singing… it was a wonderful way to finish a fantastically fun day!

Tamsin Oldham
Programme Manager: Learning & Participation

Photos of Spitalfields City Farm by Alys Tomlinson

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