The anthem for women at the upcoming Barking Folk Festival

Performance will be  first in borough’s history

History will be made when over 20 women who work and live in the borough take to the stage to perform Barking and Dagenham’s first ever Women’s Anthem at this weekend’s Barking Folk Festival.

Songwriter Lucy Ward has worked hard with local residents to create a special song that celebrates 100 years since women first gained the right to vote.

Thousands of people will once again descend on the Abbey Ruins for the ever-popular Barking Folk Festival that celebrates folk music and dance from around the globe.

Headline acts include Ferocious Dog and The Unthanks, but fans will also be treated to a local anthem that marks a special all-female led concert for the Sunday event on June, 10.

Ward has spent the last few months putting the song together and was determined to get input from as many local residents as possible as she wanted their voice included in the anthem. Workshops took place to brainstorm the song, while regular rehearsals have been staged, led by coral activist Kirsty Martin to ensure everything is in place for the final performance.

Spirit

Liza Vallance, Chief Executive for Studio 3 Arts, said: “The anthem is being led by an amazing woman who has run choirs all over the UK. Lucy will make everyone feel welcome and totally understands the community spirit in Barking and Dagenham.

“We are making history here and this is a great chance for us to celebrate women who have shaped the borough’s history and follow in the footsteps of the Barking Abbesses who used to run the Barking Abbey.”

Fans attending Barking Folk Festival will certainly get into the spirit of things as they enter Abbey Green and the Ruins as all the trees will be decorated in bright colours to celebrate the suffragette movement.

“It has been a privilege for me to stand on the Barking Folk stage and I know the excitement everyone gets from performing in front of the thousands of great people who attend the festival. It is always a great atmosphere, and this promises to be another great night”.

To mark this special milestone, a number of women who have grown up in the borough have spent hours knitting the tree warmers to bring the festival to light including 95-year-old Mic Curtis.

by FRAN LILLEYSTONE

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