It was great to be back at this year’s nature, science and arts festival Between The Trees, held at the beautiful woodland setting of Merthyr Mawr in Bridgend over the August bank holiday weekend.

Now in its ninth year, Between the Trees aims to reconnect people to the natural world, featuring a blend of original indie folk music, art and spoken word within a community that embraces all and encourages thinking and creativity.

The festival welcomed Live Music Now Cymru musician, Angharad Jenkins (Calan, DnA, ANGHARAD) to share insights into the recent Lullaby project delivered in partnership with Awen and Splice Child and Family in Pyle, Bridgend and financially supported by the National Lottery Community Fund. Some of the mums and babies who had taken part in the project were also invited along to enjoy the festival.

Lullaby is an initiative of Carnegie Hall New York, which brings professional musicians and new mothers together to facilitate the creation, recording and celebration of their own original lullaby for their child, starting with writing a letter to them. The project has a profound impact on perinatal mental health and parent child attachment, and Awen are working with Live Music Now to help deliver more Lullaby projects across Wales.

Angharad commented: “Over the last couple of years I have had the privilege of working on the Lullaby project. At Between The Trees we showcased some of the lullabies we have been working on with Splice and Awen, sharing about the impact of this ground breaking project. As the heavens opened we huddled together under the shelter of a giant butterfly tent and made music together. Babies, big kids and their parents!”

Between The Trees also hosted the next stage of research and development for the ‘Radical Kindness’ project led by Welsh/Iranian craftivist Nazeem Sayed of Ziba Creative. Supported by Awen, Articulture Wales, Dirty Protest and Blackwood Miners’ Institute, hundreds of colourful pom poms were made and given out with messages of kindness across the event, as festival goers fed into the discourse around what kindness is and looks like. The magical forest setting was set alight with multi-coloured sensory pom poms, and the generous input from those in attendance has fed into the next stage of development for this beautiful project, building towards potential performance art.

Awen will continue working with Nazeem across the next 12 months as one of the two 23/24 artists who are part of Krystal Lowe’s Our Voice Network, providing mentoring, space, bursaries and support to help develop artists from the global majority.

Awen is grateful for the continued support of the Between The Trees Festival in providing a platform to share and celebrate out creative wellbeing work across Bridgend, and look forward to being part of the event again in 2024.

Photo credit: Francis Brown