Liz Marfleet is already hard at work planning summer festival’s offer beyond the many music stages

This summer’s Rhythms of the World festival will proudly feature music from around the globe and around the corner – but that’s not all that’s on offer when the event spreads itself across the grounds of the historic Hitchin Priory in June.

A whole range of art and community activities are an important part of the Rhythms recipe, as Liz Marfleet knows only too well.

Liz is the head of the family area and art group for the Rhythms weekend, and it’s her job to come up with fun and creative activities for all ages which add to the reach of the successful community event.

Although it’s best known for attracting thousands of music-lovers to the town for one wonderful weekend, the Rhythms organisation has a team working all year round to provide entertainment for the smallest of attendees.

The family area has grown year on year, with many people who came to the festivals in its early days are now returning with their own families.

Liz said: “The family area has workshops, arts and crafts, face painting, music workshops and brilliant shows across the whole weekend.

“Our aim is to provide all activities for free to make sure all the children attending the festival can join in.”

The dedicated area is tucked under a canopy of trees, and offers children and parents alike the chance to enjoy music and acting workshops, demonstrations, face painting, arts and crafts, body stenciling and more – and it also provides a safe and calm environment away from the busiest parts of the festival grounds.

Liz also organises and co-ordinates the incredible decorations, backdrops and banners across the festival site, many of which are made by local charity groups like Hitchin Young Carers and the North Herts Day Service at Nightingale House as part of the Rhythms outreach programme.

Liz said: “It’s really important for us to reach all areas of the community.

“Even if someone is unable to attend the festival, because of carer requirements or ill health, the outreach programme helps to give a sense of ownership and involvement in a large, local community event.

“We are already creating the decorations and artwork for this year’s Wild West family area theme, but we’re always on the lookout for materials, supplies, and new volunteers to join our team! If you think you could help, we would love to hear from you.”

Applications to volunteer for Rhythms of the World 2015 – on Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21 – are always welcome and there are a number of roles throughout the year, as well as those on the weekend itself, when it’s all hands to the pump.

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