So Many Beauties Festival

24th September 2019

Manchester’s first Dementia friendly music festival is to take place at The Bridgewater Hall on BBC Music Day. The free festival for all ages will include showcases of music co-created by people living with Dementia, performances of familiar songs and tunes, music making activities and discussions.

The So Many Beauties project works with people living with Dementia and their carers to create new pieces of music that send positive messages about Dementia. The festival has been co-curated with partners including Music in Hospitals & Care, Manchester Camerata, The Bridgewater Hall, Hallé and the Royal Northern College of Music. It will take place on BBC Music Day (Thursday 26th September); this year’s theme is ‘Music and Wellbeing’.

Music in Hospitals & Care (MiHC) provides live music sessions for people in hospitals, hospices, care homes, day centres, special schools and community settings across the UK. Professional musicians are chosen for their skills in communication and music delivery for a range of healthcare settings. The charity’s sessions in Dementia care bring joyful memories and special moments for those living with Dementia, their families and care staff too.

“At Music in Hospitals & Care live music sessions in care homes and day centres we usually perform classic favourites, encouraging audience participation to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere. After the performance, we’ll stay to chat with the audience about how the music made them feel or the memories it has sparked. I’m really looking forward to bringing this to a festival setting in a venue like this, it’s such a great concept and will hopefully lead to more similar events in the future.” – Simon Milner-Edwards, Music in Hospitals & Care musician with the Cheeky Charlies.

The festival is the second phase for the So Many Beauties project, which has received much positive feedback from participants:

“According to the project’s participants who are living with Dementia, music is ‘life’, it means ‘quite a lot my dear’, ‘it makes me dance in my chair’ and it’s ‘relaxing’, ‘sweet’, ‘bright’ and ‘free’. ‘Music is for us all’ and ‘it’s coming with bells on’. Music and creativity create a safe space for people to express their feelings and it can bring people together when they might be feeling isolated.” – Holly Marland, So Many Beauties Lead Artist.

The So Many Beauties Dementia Friendly Music Festival and its co-curators are also part of the Music for Dementia 2020 campaign, which announced Lauren Laverne as its ambassador earlier this year.

In addition to performances, workshops and panel discussions, there will also be a range of Dementia support organisations present to provide information and advice for anyone wanting to access their services or simply find out more about living well with Dementia.

The festival is free to attend but does require registration. Afternoon and full day tickets are now fully subscribed, but there is still availability for anyone wishing to attend any time between 9.45am – 1pm.

Tickets are available from bridgewater-hall.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0161 907 9000.

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